By: Benjaminah Palmer
I’ve been living with COVID19 since the first lockdown in the UK.
I had gotten used to wearing masks almost every single day of my life. On the bus, in stores, at school, and even in the church. But being forced to wear them in my own home, to protect my family in a place where I felt safe from all the craziness of the world, my place of comfort, and peace, delivered reality right at my door.
I had also gotten used to the change in attitude towards natural things like sneezing and coughing in public spaces but being looked at as the virus itself in my own home was emotionally suffocating and exhausting,
The other thing I had also gotten used to was the one-way system. Now implemented in schools, train stations, restaurants, stores, and other public places, even if it took me longer than usual to reach my destination, I was OK with it, as it meant that I was doing what I could to prevent the virus from spreading.
But when you become deadly ‘contagious’, you start to view things differently, and you suddenly become sensitive to things like little labels, which later become self-fulfilling prophecies.
To understand the significance of anything, I have learnt that you must have a basic understanding of its background. For that reason, allow me to take you to the start of my COVID-19 journey.
On the 30th of July 2021, at quarter past one, I was awakened by the difficulty to swallow with a newfound pain in my throat, followed by an extreme rise in temperature, almost immediately, I noticed my feet slowly turning stone-cold, causing me to jump off the bed to find my long-lost socks.
Luckily for me, I was able to find it but when I returned to continue from where I had left off, I unconsciously couldn’t close my eyes for a second as my mind race across a thousand thoughts in my head and so I lay down there going back and forth till morning.
And before the sun rose, I was up, ready to take my lateral flow test which turned out to be negative. Nonetheless, this good news couldn’t take away the doubtfulness in my dads’ voice when I told him of what had occurred the night before, nor the worries in mums’ eyes as she reminds me where to find the paracetamols for my headache and the lemsip for my pneumonia.
The next day was much better until I took my second test, or should I say tests, all four of which turned out to be positive. I will never be able to compare the feeling of fear, mixed with anxiety and confusion stirring up in my lungs, causing me to feel nauseous and light-headed.
I went to bed that night, knowing that my life will change overnight, and it sure did, as, by the next day, new methods were now being implemented to prevent the further spread of the virus in my home.
Two days after my PCR test results arrived, alongside a call from the track and trace committee, I was formally sentenced to 10 days of imprisonment, with no right to visitors; no right to watching Netflix on the big screen in the living room; nor an opportunity to share with mum my new favourite song, or the ideas that just crossed my mind during the day whilst cooking dinner.
But most importantly, no right to sit down and have family dinners. Instead, I was locked away in my room, with my personalised cutleries, and other essentials.
Those gruesome and disheartening moments that I was afraid to touch anything without gloves made me more appreciative of those around me and the everyday things we often take for granted.
I mean, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would need a pair of gloves and a mask to use the toilet or enter the kitchen, in fear of disseminating my loved ones.
I accept the fact that this wasn’t the best of many experiences, but I refuse to play the victim. Instead, I’m grateful that I haven’t lost a family member or a friend of mine to it and for that I am grateful.
Plus, I have used this time to enhance my relationship with Almighty God, appreciate little things, and love myself more.
In conclusion, I would like to use this opportunity to say that COVID19 is real and to encourage you to play your part in protecting others.