Editor’s Note: Find the collection of coronavirus coverage on BlackLove.com here.
As more cases of COVID-19 soar in the United States, especially among the Black community, it’s crucial to stay informed, enlightened, but also encouraged to do our parts in flattening the curve. Unfortunately, for Hilary Sledge-Sarnor, a wife and mom of three, she and her entire family experienced the devastating effects of COVID-19. She chronicled her experience of battling the virus by sharing intimate details and cautions each of us to take the necessary precautions of washing your hands, wearing a mask, and – most importantly – staying home.
Originally published on her lifestyle blog Hungry Hungry Mama, below is her story, a personal account of the signs, symptoms, and lessons learned on what she would have done differently. Remember, the virus does not discriminate against race, gender, age, or ethnicity. We must all lean on each other in dealing with the uncertainty of the coronavirus pandemic, and in sharing stories such as these, it helps us to become better equipped to overcome COVID-19.
My Entire Family Survived COVID-19: Here’s What I Would Do Differently
I write this now from my bed, where for the last month I spent the majority of my time. This is the fourth week I have been sick with COVID-19 – not able to play with our kids, help my husband around the house or Zoom with family and friends because I have to save my breath. I am still reeling from my husband having to rush me to the ER with our kids in the backseat because I could not breathe and the stress of the severity and length of my symptoms. My family was all sick, at the same time, and I am still not fully recovered. I still have trouble breathing. I have been wanting to write my story in the hopes that my family’s harrowing tale over the past month would help others. But, I have been too sick, weak and breathless to write. COVID-19 is now rampant in the U.S. and my story is certainly not unique. But when I look at our experience in hindsight…there is so much I would do differently and I want to share what I learned in the hopes it may help others. My entire family survived COVID-19 – here is what I would do differently.
The U.S. was a different place in early March when we became sick and, as a result, my family and I may have unknowingly exposed many people to the virus. We were hearing about quarantine measures being taken throughout the world and, in the U.S., large companies were going remote and conferences and travel were being restricted. But, the severity of this pandemic was actively being downplayed by the federal government – we weren’t yet social distancing and certainly not within our own homes – so, we had no idea what we were facing. We did not know we had COVID-19, or even considered we could have it.
Our two and three year old’s got sick first – that was five weeks ago. Bad colds, double ear infections, eye infections and fever. The sickest they’ve ever been. I took them to the pediatrician and that same day my husband fell ill. We thought he just had a sinus infection. Remember, this was before the quarantine, so we thought, like many people with young kids, that we had a regular and familiar illness. When my son was feeling better, we took him back to preschool. The very next day, quarantine measures were imposed in Los Angeles and its suburbs where we live.
The night 30 days ago that our beloved babysitter, Esmirna, called me at work to say my husband was sick and looked bad, I still met my cousin for a quick drink after leaving the office because I felt like I needed a break. This was the day before I started showing symptoms. In hindsight, because my family was sick, I shouldn’t have even gone into the office that day because I was potentially putting others at risk. Even though I wore gloves that day, in hindsight I would have stayed home. At the time, I didn’t know better.