By Emily Branson / photo editor

In the world we’re living in, we shouldn’t be shocked anymore when something doesn’t go our way. Usually, our plans are canceled last minute anyway due to COVID-19. However, when I was placed under quarantine more than two weeks ago, it was not at all what I was expecting.

I started showing some symptoms of the coronavirus on Oct. 25. I woke up late and exhausted, with a pounding headache. I took the necessary precautions and called my boss to ask for advice. She told me that I needed to call in before my next shift and that she would test me for COVID-19 the next day.

Luckily for me, my sister and I both work in healthcare and can get tested whenever it’s needed. I went in the next day and my test was negative. I thought I was in the clear. I stayed home, felt crummy, and slept a lot. The next day, my sister, whom I live with, called me to tell me she had tested positive at work. We both went under quarantine immediately.

For the first couple of days, our parents were kind enough to bring us groceries, as we hadn’t intended on being home and isolated for so long. We mostly slept for the first few days and didn’t do much besides that. After three or four days, I felt fine and my sister had symptoms for about a week. I got tested again on Oct. 25 and the results were still negative.

Four days into my quarantine, the health department told us that I had to restart my quarantine because I had been in contact with my sister in the last four days. As frustrating and annoying as this was, I started the 14 days over again.

Since I still had no symptoms at this point, I started to become anxious to get out of my house. I was desperate for literally anything to do that involved going anywhere. Usually, I’m never home. I’ve never really been homebody, and I love a busy lifestyle. Most of the time, I’m out of the house by 7 a.m. and don’t get home from work until 11 p.m. I love having things to do to keep busy, so needless to say, I hate quarantine

I will admit, I initially thought that having some time off from life would be nice, but now I think that two days would have sufficed.

Once I truly realized that I was going to have to live with my incredibly boring fate for the next two weeks, I tried to find fun things to do. I ordered groceries through Walmart and Dillons’ curbside pickup, and spent a lot of time baking muffins, cookies, and brownies. I convinced my sister to help me set up the Christmas tree on Halloween, the same day that my lovely boyfriend and some amazing friends brought me a pumpkin to carve and candy to cheer me up. I watched at least three seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy”, even though I typically never watch TV. My boyfriend volunteered to drive to my house to have a socially-distanced date in my backyard.

My sister’s quarantine ended 10 days before mine, which made my time at home even more awful. I convinced her to come to Walmart with me, while I sat in the car, so that she could buy me another Christmas tree for my room. I then decorated the tree and my entire room, which took three days.

While I was searching for anything to do, I did find one thing to do that seemed productive and helpful. The facility that I work in has been incredibly short-staffed lately, and we have had a dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases throughout residents and employees in the last month. I called my boss and asked if there was any way I could come work in our special unit for coronavirus residents. Because I had been exposed in such a direct way, there was no way I could work with the “healthy” residents. However, after several phone calls with many health department officials, they agreed to let me work in our Covid Unit. The shifts were 12 hours long, but I honestly didn’t mind a bit. By being able to work a few shifts, I was giving some of the other employees a much-needed break, and caring for people that so desperately needed it.

My quarantine was a ridiculously-long 18 days, and I am grateful that it’s over. I can spend time with my friends and family that I haven’t been within 6 feet of in far too long. I’m thankful for the opportunities I had to work from home as a journalist, but I am more than ready to get back to the normal way of life. We live in a world that is ever so accommodating to being isolated and there are so many resources out there to help folks that are struggling during this very difficult time.

I will say this, while I was asymptomatic and received five negative test results during my quarantine, it is still incredibly important to follow quarantine guidelines. As much as I wanted to hug my family or my friends, I would absolutely not want to be the one to give them the virus. I encourage everyone to please wear your mask, social distance, wash your hands, quarantine when necessary, and treat everyone with kindness.

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