By Andrew Boselli
I’m 22 years old. A healthy student-athlete playing football at one of the best programs in college football history. And I had coronavirus.
When I first heard the news of the coronavirus pandemic, I, like most, saw the studies that said it was primarily a danger to the elderly and figured it wouldn’t have much impact on me, my family or friends.
I even had plans to spend Spring Break on a cruise to the Bahamas.
The last few weeks, though, have shown just how wrong I was, and just how seriously we all need to treat this outbreak.
Since St. Patrick’s Day, when my dad first started to feel ill, the coronavirus has swept through my family – first to my dad, then to my mom, and then to my brother and to me.
I was tested for the coronavirus on March 21 and a few days later received a positive result.
But by then, the result wasn’t telling me anything I didn’t already know.
A day after my test – an unpleasant process in and of itself – I woke up feeling like I’d been hit by a bus.
I’m thankful to say that my family and I have recovered from our fight with the coronavirus, but I also want everyone to know just how hard it was. I spent days feeling miserable. And my dad, a strong, healthy 47-year-old man with no underlying health conditions, spent three days in the intensive care unit.
I promise, even if you’re young and healthy, you do not want this virus.
Although I had what doctors consider to be a “mild” case of it, my experience was anything but mild.
I woke up on a Sunday morning with a low-grade fever, thinking that would be the worst of it.
By that night, my temperature was 103 degrees. It was the highest fever of my life, but I felt like I was freezing.
I was glued to the couch with no energy, no appetite and nothing but fluids and over-the-counter medicines to help me feel better.
The hardest part was feeling slightly short of breath. That’s a bad feeling anyway, and knowing that shortness of breath is often a symptom of severe cases made it that much worse.
I had never felt so not like myself.
My symptoms mostly went away after three long days, but this virus has a way of playing games with your mind.
One day, you’ll feel like you’re getting better and that the worst is behind you. The next day, you’re down for the count.
That was true for me, but it was especially true for my dad.
Even after he tested positive, it looked like he’d get through it without much difficulty.
But a week later, he was only getting worse. From my place on the couch downstairs, I could hear him coughing all the way from across the house.
There were days when he’d be up and moving around, making jokes in the kitchen. Then an hour or two later, he would be stuck in bed.
My dad has always been tough and a source of strength in our family. But after a while, and especially when we heard that cough, we knew something wasn’t OK.
He went to the hospital, where an X-ray revealed that he had pneumonia. He was admitted straight into the ICU.
Those few days were the toughest part of our road.
The doctors and nurses took great care of him, but, due to the nature of the virus, he couldn’t have any visitors. My dad would text updates a few times a day, and my mom was able to drop off things that could be delivered to his room.
Otherwise, we couldn’t be with him, couldn’t see his face and couldn’t hear his voice.
He was given oxygen and some prescribed medications, but the doctors said that if his condition didn’t improve, then he would need to be placed on a ventilator.
In the span of a week, I went from not really taking this virus seriously to realizing that I could lose my father.
I’m so grateful that it never came to that. My dad improved after three days and was moved out of the ICU. Then, after two more days in the hospital, he was discharged and sent home.
At our first family dinner together, he wore a mask and gloves to the table. But that didn’t matter. We only cared about having him home with us.
This whole journey has been a wakeup call for me. We are all fighting against a serious illness that doesn’t care who you are or where you’re from, and one that can cause major problems no matter how old you are.
Yes, social distancing is hard.
Summer is coming and we all want to be together, enjoying each other’s company.
And, for me, I know I’m counting down the days until I can be around my coaches and teammates again, especially after the way they supported me over the last few weeks.
But the only way for that to happen is listen to the experts and follow their guidance.
Because even if this doesn’t turn into a big thing for you, it could have an impact on your parents, your grandparents, or someone else’s family.
This is something that needs to be taken seriously. And if we all do our part, we can get through it.