COVID for Christmas: my experience

My older sister, Valerie Falk, was 24 when she suffered a cardiac arrest in May of 2019.

A pefectly healthy individual, she was in a coma for quite some time. Doctors gave her a four percent chance of living. She eventually made it out alive with no brain injury, although she did have damage to her heart.

She ended up being diagnosed with a very rare heart condition referred to as A.R.V.C, which stands for Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy. It’s quite the mouthful.

Because of this incident, my family and I got tested for any underlying heart conditions as well. It turned out my father and I both have the same genetic disease, while my mother and younger sister do not. Because of these diagnoses, I had to quit the UDM women’s lacrosse team.

Valerie and I now have defibrillators, and she has been shocked several times with ongoing heart issues.

Just a few short months later we discovered the issue, the coronavirus pandemic started to spread like wildfire. Valerie, who works as a nurse at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, mentally broke down in fear. Watching my educated sister —  a nurse —  be that fearful struck me as well.

But 2020 came and went and I never caught COVID-19. My fear subsided as I saw that the younger generation was doing OK, but I still did my best to protect myself and those around me throughout 2021 out of love and concern for others.

Just two days before Christmas, my turn came around; I contracted COVID-19. My experience for the first 24 hours was fear. I was with my 92-year-old grandma the same day I tested positive. I was also with Valerie.

I felt immediate guilt, although those around me told me I could not have known, as my symptoms did not arise until that evening.

I was extremely sick the first three days and could not move at all from my bed. But I was beyond grateful that I never ended up going to the hospital and that my relatives did not end up testing positive.

I made it through the sickness and quarantine fine, but the initial fear really played with my mental health.

Today, cases are falling around much of the country, including Michigan. The state recently dropped its masking recommendations and I feel that’s a step toward a more natural and normal reality. However, I think that if someone feels uncomfortable not wearing a mask, they should continue to wear one.

COVID-19 has certainly affected people differently, and many people’s opinions of the pandemic have varied since it hit.

Regardless of your opinion on what the public safety requirements should or should not be, as human beings, our care and concern for others should remain a priority.