Natalie Walsh

Going Through The Motions

March like everyone else, I assumed that we were going to get an extra week of spring break. When I left school that day, I was just excited to get a break from homework and waking up early. I saw friends over break, binge-watched some “Criminal Minds,” made playlists, and just did spring break things. 

That one week turned into two, then a month, then almost five months, but eventually we got the news that we would actually be able to go back to school. It took some convincing to be allowed to go to in-person school, but I knew I would not be able to handle my course load from home.

Surprisingly enough, everyone wore their masks, cleaned the desks, had seating charts, contact tracing, all good prevention measures. At this point, COVID-19 still seemed like one of those things that could never actually happen to me. I didn’t know anyone personally who had been affected by COVID-19, so I didn’t take it as seriously as I probably should have. I wore a mask in public, but I complained about it. My mom would wipe down the carts at the grocery store while I rolled my eyes. When we got home, I had to sanitize the food and I skipped over a box or two. I just never saw the point in the preventative measures. I truly never thought that it could happen to me. 

Around mid-September, I started having a stuffy nose, which for me was pretty usual when the weather is so up and down. One or two days, I had a scratchy throat to accompany it, but nothing too bad. 

Then on that Saturday, impulsively, I decided I wanted to bleach my jeans. I could only find bleach concentrate in my laundry room, so I had to dilute it with water. 

When I was pouring the bleach I couldn’t smell it. At first, I didn’t even notice, but my mom who was working from home told me to go outside because it smelled so strong. I honestly thought nothing of it because I had already had a stuffy nose for the past couple of days and just thought that was why I couldn’t smell. Very quickly though, I realized that was not the case. I asked my mom if we could go get tested. By that point I had lost my sense of smell, I had a runny nose, my throat was scratchy, and my body just felt sick. is the best way to describe it. My mom had also been feeling a little sick, but again, we didn’t read into it too much; we’re a family prone to illness and allergies.

On the way to the testing center I started getting pretty nervous. My head was just filled with so many questions; Will it hurt to get tested? What happens if I actually have it? Will I be able to see any friends? How many of my grades will drop? Will the whole school be talking about it? Overall, I was just so worried about everything, eventually leading to a panic attack.

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