How COVID- 19 has made me a prisoner in my own home

When listening to various news outlets, you’re inundated with rising statistics and personal stories that illustrate just how scary the coronavirus truly is. However, nothing is scarier than when you find out that you may have been infected with the virus yourself. Unfortunately, this became my reality after learning that I may have come in contact with the coronavirus.

Coronavirus“Coronavirus” by EpicTop10.com is licensed under CC BY 2.0

With this information, I was forced to reevaluate and adjust every little detail of my life to ensure that I wasn’t placing any of my family members in harm’s way. My entire family and I were at risk of becoming one of those very same statistics or stories that you hear on the evening news.

I received the news that I may have been infected Thursday night, the week after Halloween weekend. I was living on campus at the time, so I decided to quarantine in my dorm room all day, not leaving even to eat at Cav’s Corner. I left campus Friday morning and have been isolated ever since.

Tasks as mundane as using the bathroom and eating dinner became areas of concern for my family while attempting to keep me isolated. I was forced to stay in my room all day, with nothing but schoolwork and Tik Tok videos to keep me company. 

The loneliness that came as a result of this proved to be the hardest part of isolating. I come from a big family, and I am one of five other people living in the house. Typically, my mornings and evenings consist of loud gatherings around the dining room table, talking about dreams had the night before or adventures faced during the day.

All of this was subject to change because, during isolation, the only way I could communicate with my family was on my phone. Facetimes with different family members replaced the normal interactions and conversations that I would generally have. While these Facetimes helped us feel connected, it still left a void in my life that I never knew was even there.    

No longer could I just walk into my sister’s room and annoy her to my heart’s content. No longer could I walk into my nephew’s room and challenge him to a game of NBA 2K on Xbox. Whenever I smelled the food being made, I could no longer simply walk into the kitchen and taste it.

These interactions, while seeming so small and insignificant, meant a lot more to me than I could have originally guessed. Not having the freedom to be able to step outside of the same four walls transformed my bedroom into a prison cell.

Apparently, I’m not the only person who feels this way. According to a survey listed within Health Affairs, “virtual social gatherings failed to reduce loneliness among 48 percent, and actually increased loneliness among 10 percent of respondents.” 

My mother, Wykita Robinson, has taken care of me my entire life. Every bruise, bump, scrape and cut that I’ve ever gotten has been screened by her eyes. However, my mother is also a type 2 diabetic, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this increases her risk of severe illness from the virus. As a result, contact with my mother is extremely limited, something that’s been hard on not just me but her as well.

My mother, Wykita Robinson, and I on a Google Duo call. Photo by Naiser Robinson

“When I found out you may have the coronavirus I was terrified,” Wykita Robinson said. “I’ve never been put in a position where I couldn’t care for one of my children when they were sick, so it has really put me on the edge.”

Nov. 17, 2020, I had been isolated from my family for a total of 12 days. While it doesn’t get any easier, what helps me continue to get through each day is knowing that I am keeping my family safe from a virus that’s claimed the lives of so many already.