I Tested Positive :: When COVID-19 Hits Home


We can all agree that 2020 is the most bizarre year yet.

Personally, it has been a year of inconveniences. As someone who works in a middle school, it was inconvenient when the school year abruptly ended in-person learning. As a mother to a toddler, it’s been inconvenient to be stuck at home instead of taking advantage of local parks, the zoo, and playdates.

Towards the end of May, we were hoping to return to some form of normalcy. However by mid-June I had the beginnings of a cold. That annoying tickle in my throat and the need to use vapor rub in order to sleep at night.

A couple of days later, my mother texted me to let me know that she, too, was bedridden with a cold that included a fever. I lost my ability to taste and smell, but didn’t think anything of it until the following week when my mother tested positive for COVID-19.

It took nearly two weeks for me to finally get tested and receive a positive myself. I put it off for nearly a week and a half because I didn’t have the same symptoms as my mother. She had a fever, I didn’t. She had serious fatigue and shortness of breath while I simply felt a little more tired than usual. We were both extremely nauseous and couldn’t taste or smell anything, but those were the only things we had in common. 

Being COVID-19 positive flipped my world upside down.

My daughter and I were supposed to be in a wedding the weekend I got my results back. I had family traveling through who I wanted to see. My husband, who is an essential worker, had to leave work immediately to be tested and couldn’t go back until his results came in.

Suddenly the word “quarantine” took on a whole new meaning.

Yes, we had kept outings to a minimal, social distanced, and all that, but now we were faced with more than just an inconvenience. What I assumed was just a weird cold turned out to be the very thing that we saw headlines about each day. My name became a statistic, a number among many others who were sick with the same illness I had.

Even now, I struggle to wrap my brain around the fact that I had COVID-19. My heart is still sad I missed out on life while I was sick. My daughter watched far too much TV and we ate a lot of takeout since I didn’t have the stomach to cook.

However, I understand that my situation wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. I’m so thankful I could still get out of bed in the mornings, even if it was to move to the couch. 

Slowly, I gained energy and was able to play with my daughter for short periods of time. My stock of ginger ale dwindled and I was able to eat more than just buttered toast and grits. Eventually my senses returned and it was no longer a chore for me to do housework. After several weeks, I can say that I am mostly back to normal. 

It might sound silly, but getting sick really made me appreciate being well.

The day I could fully taste a cup of coffee, I savored each sip. Milkshakes, cake, and spaghetti sauce all taste incredible. Don’t even get me started on the way candles or clean clothes smell.

I have a new appreciation for waking up rested each morning and having the energy to clean up the kitchen after dinner. Taking care of my physical health was always something I would get to “later”, but since getting sick it’s become something I won’t take for granted.

Weeks later, it’s still hard to believe that I had COVID-19, but it taught me to be grateful for the little things each and every day. 

Did you test positive for COVID-19? What was your experience like?

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Kelsey Arender
Kelsey Arender is a Lexington native who fell in love with her work in libraries in 2012. Prior to her recent career change, you could find her at the public library's children department. Now, she happily works in a middle school library. On the weekends, Kelsey and her husband, William, enjoy watching reruns of their favorite TV shows, attending church, and reading with their one-year-old daughter. Kelsey's favorite things include endless mugs of coffee, cozy sweaters, rainy days, and laughing with friends. She may be an introvert but if you start a conversation about personality types, toddlers, or hygge, you'll make a fast friend. You can find her hanging on Instagram at @we_all_get_sleepy.


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