by Angel Barker
Last week I talked about how one of my main fears while traveling during a pandemic is contracting the virus. Well, it happened. To get back to the United States, you have to show a negative COVID-19 test within the last 24 hours. My trip was planned from Thursday to the following Friday. I got tested on Thursday, Jan. 20, and planned to fly out on Friday, Jan. 21. The test came back negative, and I genuinely felt fine.
I get home Friday night and still feel fine, just tired from traveling. Saturday and Sunday roll around, and I am still okay. On Sunday evening, I feel a trickle in the back of my throat and think nothing of it. On Monday morning, I go to work as usual at 3:45 am, absolutely exhausted with a sore throat. I figured I was dehydrated. It was the same thing on Tuesday, except a cough had developed.
I called my doctor because it was getting to the point of being sick. Having asthma makes me immunocompromised, and I have never had a cold that was just a cold. It always turns into pneumonia or bronchitis, so I was worried. I really do not have the time to be sick as a full-time student working part-time.
The nurse comes in and talks to me about my symptoms and wants to test me since it had been five days since my last test. It comes back positive. The doctor sends me home with a quarantine flyer, which is the end.
Before I went to Mexico, I received my booster shot on Jan. 3. I tested positive 22 days after I got my booster shot. The symptoms I had weren’t mild, but they also weren’t super severe. I had a cough, sore throat, fatigue, headache, runny nose, shortness of breath, body aches, etc. I think my weirdest symptom was that my teeth hurt like it felt like I had braces again, and I had just gotten them tightened. I also had shooting pains in my back.
Three people so far have blamed it on travel or on me for traveling. It felt very judgmental and almost degrading. I could have gotten it at work, school, the grocery store, or from people I know. I am pretty sure I got it in a restaurant in Mexico, but the same thing could have happened here. Don’t blame me for living my life and having fun.
I do not think it is fair to judge the ones you love or anyone for that matter on their decisions to travel or whatever they do in their personal time, especially if they are safe. I wore a mask on the plane, the airport, around town, and in the restaurant except when eating. I did my part, and I still got COVID-19.