Right before spring break started, I left for a faculty-led study abroad trip in London.
The trip was amazing. I loved every single moment I was there and able to spend time with my friends, my professor Andrew Smith and his wonderful family. He took really good care of us and made sure we were all having the time of our lives despite what was going on in the world.
When I returned to Manhattan, I put myself in the recommended 14-day quarantine, and was starting to feel sick.
I felt like my body was shutting down and I was extremely tired. I thought maybe it was jetlag. For the first couple of days, I was dealing with headaches and fatigue, vomiting and extreme nausea.
I contacted Lafene Health Center and they suggested I remain at home and continue to monitor my symptoms.
Before long, my professor tested positive for COVID-19. Everything changed after that — it felt real.
During the first week, I wasn’t able to get tested because my symptoms weren’t severe enough and I was able to deal with them at home. The feeling of not knowing what I was up against was frustrating for me and my parents because I was just getting sicker by the day.
I was in close contact with health officials. They were calling me each day to monitor me and see if my symptoms were improving.
Towards the end of my 14-day quarantine period, just when my health had started to improve, my symptoms relapsed. Suddenly, I felt 10 times worse than I had before.
Culture shock and COVID-19: My experience studying abroad in Italy during the outbreak
I decided then that I needed to go to the emergency room. I had a bad cough, shortness of breath, fever, chills, sore throat and terrible body aches. The doctors made the decision to test me, and after two days my results came back positive for the novel coronavirus.
I was discharged from the hospital and went back to my apartment for a second round of quarantine. I was finally relieved to know what I was up against, but it was dispiriting to know that I was now just another case in the growing pandemic. When I told my parents that my results had come back positive, they were very encouraging and reassured me I was strong enough to get through the fight.
I’ve been back in the U.S. for about four weeks now, and I’ve been trying to gain my strength back. My family is home in Chicago on a stay at home order and most of my friends have left Manhattan. Fighting the virus this long has been exhausting, and doing it on my own has been extremely stressful. I know a lot of people are on lockdown and dealing with similar problems, but when you’re by yourself it just hits you mentally differently.
Additionally, I’ve developed a sinus infection because of the virus since my visit to the hospital, which has been another weight on top of my COVID-19 symptoms.
I’m extremely thankful for all the prayers, encouragement and support I’ve received from my family, friends, my pastor, the Kansas State community and those who I don’t even know. I feel truly blessed for all that everyone has done for me as I go through this challenging time.
My symptoms haven’t gotten the best of me and I will keep fighting for my health during this second round of quarantine until I’m back feeling 100 percent. It saddens me to not be sure when I’ll be able to see my family again as I don’t want to risk being re-infected or infecting them while all this is still going on.
I do not have regrets about going to study abroad in London. I enjoyed every single moment of the experience. It is because of Andrew Smith that I went on this trip. He was able to give me and everyone else an unforgettable opportunity while studying abroad in the UK and for that I’m extremely grateful.
No matter how young, old or healthy you may think you are, this virus will still be able to attack your body. So many people have been impacted, died and even recovered from it, but this still needs to be taken seriously. Please stay safe and stay home.
Miriam Chamberlain is a senior in Mass Communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and the persons interviewed and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.