A Timeline of COVID-19: From A Skeptic to Catching It


Disappearing Toilet Paper:

“This is so ridiculous,” my dad starts, “Why the hell is your mom such a freak sometimes?” he questions as we stand side by side in the CVS aisle.

“More importantly, why is this shit all sold out?” I reply. My eyes are switching between scanning the shelves for hand sanitizer and looking down at my phone to the text message my mom sent: “Bring home as much hand sanitizer as you can find. This virus is about to hit us.”

“Eh, what can we do…she’s a nurse…of course she’s going to be paranoid,” my dad remarks. After a long weekend of ski racing at Easterns, my dad and I stroll through CVS, looking for anything that might resemble a disinfectant. We have been disconnected from civilization for five days and this happens? A virus? We were just at a ski race with thirteen states. There’s no virus?!

“Would you look at that, all the toilet paper is gone!” my dad exclaims.

The Longest Half-Hour:

My vision blurs as a tear slowly falls down my cheek. I am supposed to go home in two days, but it doesn’t look that way anymore. Home to my boyfriend who paid extra money to fly home from college early to see me…I haven’t seen him in 100 days. Home to my mom’s cooking and my dad’s piano playing. Home to my sisters coming in my room to tell me the latest high school gossip or to steal my lipstick.

My palms are now moist with the anxiety that my body is releasing, and my heartbeat is louder than the commotion around me in the test results waiting area. I already know what the result is. A dull yet persistent pain surges through my body…starting at my toes and pulsing its way to the top of my head. I have heard from my friends that getting sick like this is not that bad, but maybe I won the gene lottery…in a bad way… I gasp each time a nurse walks by, as they said my results would only take 30 minutes; it has been 45.

The nurse taking care of me approaches my cubicle with the doctor behind her.

“I’m sorry, Samantha…” she starts.

Wishing I Could Smell Home:

As I stand in the shower, I shove my nose deeper and deeper into the extra-large sweet pea body wash from Bath and Body Works. Expecting to instantly get a rush of serotonin paired with a sweet symphony dancing in my nose, I am met with anosmia.

I turn off the shower and run down the hallway to my room, where I pull out every possible liquid, tear off the caps, and sniff into the bottles.

Hot sauce? No, but my nose tingles.

Perfume? No, nothing at all.

I don’t believe this is happening, so I spray my perfume onto my pillow and bury my face more and more. Still, I smell absolutely nothing.

“Hand sanitizer has got to work,” I think. I take a deep inhale inside the bottle, and the ethanol immediately begins to sting. It pricks the sides of my nose, like thumb tacks being pressed into the walls.

I lie back, feeling defeated. I twitch my nose like a bunny rabbit. It still hurts. I pull out my phone, send a selfie to my family group chat with the caption: “I’m officially nose blind.” I don’t forget to add the thumbs-up emoji at the end, though. On the outside, I don’t want to worry my mom or scare my dad. They had already sent out a care package for me the previous day to remind me of home. On the inside, I feel diseased. Guilty. I’m longing for home.