COVID-19 takes toll on senior’s family


Richard Rivera

Richard Rivera, along with his grandma, mom, dad and little brother, dealt with COVID-19 in November. Rivera has been a virtual student this year.

Richard Rivera, Staff Writer

Senior Richard Rivera’s family spent much of November dealing with the coronavirus in their home. He kept a daily journal recording the experience.

Nov. 7, Saturday

Today started off like a regular Saturday morning. I worked last night and expected to be up early in the morning to work on our land in New Caney. I woke up around 8 a.m. and realized everyone was gone. I messaged my family and found out they were at the doctor’s office. I didn’t think much of it since I knew my grandma was having issues with her throat.

My grandma has been living with us for almost a year now. She came when COVID first hit and didn’t leave since the virus got bad in Mexico. She has wanted to go back home, but my dad disapproves of the idea due to her safety. We always hoped that while living with us we could make sure she stayed safe and healthy.

Two hours after waking up, my dad called and told me to get me and my brother dressed so we could get tested for COVID.

My brother and I arrived at the clinic and began to fill out paperwork. We waited outside due to regulations. Ten minutes passed by and the nurse came and led us into the room. The nurse asked us to blow our noses without wiping them off and began to put a swab into our nostrils to begin getting all the mucus for testing.  

That day, my entire family – aside from my 8-year-old brother – tested positive for COVID-19.

Everything around our house changed quickly. We began eating on paper plates and using disposable cups to minimize infected surfaces. We realized immediately that we couldn’t taste the food. After eating we began wiping the house down with bleach on any surfaces that we regularly touch and use – doors, door handles, and counters.

Nov. 8, Sunday

The day started off very sluggish and continued at the same pace. We stayed inside and wore masks so we wouldn’t contaminate each other anymore than we already had. We all slept at different times and didn’t see much of each other since we mostly stayed in our rooms.

Nov. 9, Monday

Once again we stayed apart and continued to wear our masks. We kept taking our medication that was prescribed to us from the doctors. The food was still very bland, but we would get bits of flavor here and there. 

Personally, I didn’t feel any symptoms besides my nose being cold, while my grandma and mom had headaches and were very tired throughout the day. Today marked day three of running on the treadmill in the backyard. While breathing, I could feel the congestion and it didn’t feel too good but it didn’t affect my running.

Nov. 10, Tuesday

My family seemed to be more full of fatigue today; my younger brother, mom and grandma napped 2-3 times today. My dad napped once, he seems to keep wanting to go against the fatigue; but I can tell in his face that he is tired. We tend to snack more throughout the day, not because we are hungry, but because we want to see if we can taste any food.

Nov. 11, Wednesday

Today was my last day of my prescribed medication, both bottles of pills lasted me for five days. I ate eggs for breakfast this morning and I tasted nothing while eating them. It seemed as if I was chewing air. 

Nov. 12, Thursday

Waking up at 7 a.m. today really drained me throughout the day. I drank arroz con leche and had two slices of toast with butter (it still tasted very bland do me). I stayed up for a couple of hours only to find myself napping for two hours out of boredom. When I woke up I ate soup and could pretty much taste the flavors. My family was worried because I was asleep for so long, but it was just too boring to stay awake.

Nov. 13, Friday

Today was an especially long day; and while I didn’t do much (since my current situation was to be here stuck inside), I spent most of my time in bed or outside with the dogs which helped me get some break from the inside. 

Personally I’ve started to feel more pain in my head and jaw (the head thing makes sense, the jaw thing I really don’t know). I usually just push through because it’s minor. However,  my grandma and mom are starting to worry me. They’re both very tired for most of the day and barely get out of bed. If they do get out of bed, it is only to do minimal things. While I ran my 3 miles, I got a lot more tired than usual and got sore faster than I usually do.

Nov. 14, Saturday

Today was another long day. Seeing my mom and grandma stuck in bed is not a good sight, I can’t do much but stay away and give them space. My mom is pushing through it while my grandma decides to sleep for most of the day because it’s better than being awake. I didn’t run today because my head hurt too much; and I figured after 8 days straight, I should probably take a break.

Nov. 15, Sunday

Today wasn’t bad, I can taste more flavors now so that’s good. It used to be as if there was a layer of plastic covering my mouth. We washed all my grandma’s covers and pillows because as of right now she has it the worst, and we need to constantly disinfect everything in her room. 

My mom comes next after her. She stays in bed most of the day and tires out quickly after doing simple tasks around the house. 

My dad is the least sick as the only thing bothering him is his body aching. My brother and I are fine and feel fine.  I hope it continues to stay like this. We are pushing through it just fine so far.

Nov. 16, Monday

Seeing my grandma so sick hurts. She’s in her room all day — only my parents go and check in on her since they don’t want me and my brother getting sick. It makes sense, but it does hurt us not being able to see her. That’s all today honestly.

Nov. 17, Tuesday

Today was pretty hurtful too. My grandma was stuck in her room all day, and I heard my parents talking about the emergency room for her so that mentally drained me throughout the day. Towards the afternoon my grandma started looking and feeling better so that took a lot of stress off me. At this point in time I feel perfectly fine; but, following regulations, I will be staying at home.

Nov. 18, Wednesday

I went to work today which wasn’t bad. Whataburger’s contact center said I had cleared the protocol, which also lined up with the CDC guidelines that say a test is not required to be around others as long as you wait at least 10 days and have no fever for at least 24 hours.

My grandma has been looking and feeling better. She’s been going outside to get fresh air, and it makes me happy that she has the energy to go outside.

Nov. 19, Thursday

Today my dad and I went and got retested for COVID. We both haven’t been feeling any symptoms for the past 10 days so we decided to get tested because he wants to go back and help at work, and I want to go to school to see my track team.

We waited an hour and a half to get our rapid test which only took around 15-20 minutes. When the doctor came back, he told us we were still positive with COVID. It made no sense to either of us, but my dad remained at home and I stayed away from school.

On a bright note, my grandma was outside for a while today. She was with my dad while he was grilling. Seeing her being able to move around makes me happy and takes a lot of stress off of me.

Nov. 24, Tuesday

Third time’s a charm, I finally got a negative test!!!