I’m now one of those numbers. Another data point. Another story. Faced with my own mortality that COVID will kill me.
Sun Apr 25 2021
I never thought I’d become yet another data point or another case number or another COVID story. I believe in storytelling, and that's why I became a part of the MyCOVIDStory team.
I’m now one of those numbers. Another data point. Another story.
I tested positive today after developing a bad cough the last few days with a headache. I thought it was just a sinus infection, and after taking Sudafed, I felt a little better.
We’ve had two COVID scares this week. My brother had been in contact with someone who tested positive, so he went to get tested. Luckily he tested negative, he hadn’t seen her in two weeks, and we thought that was the end of it.
But then my parents tested positive the other day. Luckily they got their first vaccine shot so their symptoms are mild. But that immediately scared me to go get tested right away. I was hoping for the best. Hoping that it was just some head cold or sinus infection.
My heart sunk when I logged into the online portal and in big red letters, it said, “Positive.”
Now I’m faced with my mortality in a way that I haven’t had to since my last suicide attempt. I fall under three at-risk health conditions: asthma, diabetes, and a mental illness. I’m terrified that this virus is going to kill me. I’m checking my oxygen levels regularly with an oximeter and testing whether I have a fever with a thermometer. But I’m afraid that once I go to the hospital, it’s done. And I’ll never see any of you — my friends and my family — ever again.
All of this happening just as life was getting better. I’m about to start a Masters in Public Policy program at McMaster University in just over a week. I might have a part time job lined up while I’m studying to help pay for expenses. I recently got back together with [redacted] and we’re really trying to make things better (sorry if I haven’t told you yet…).
I did everything right. I double masked when things got bad. I triple masked when things were getting even worse – a beard mask (obviously to save the style of my beloved beard), a surgical mask, and one of my Filipino Indigenous face masks in bright orange to give myself a little style. I rarely went outside. And if I did, I limited it to curbside pickup or a quick take-out coffee (and only at my favourite places where I trusted the baristas).
We did absolutely everything right to protect ourselves. My family is even more lucky because we have a pretty comfortable house with multiple floors to quarantine. My dad, brother, and I work from home, while my mom works at a warehouse. All things considered, we’re pretty lucky.
I got through over a year of COVID-19 without any scare. I thought I was almost through this pandemic. Ontario’s Phase 2 should’ve gotten me the vaccine sooner since I check off those boxes. And I live in a “hotspot” community. I was so close to getting the vaccine. So close. But the Ford government royally screwed up the vaccine rollout.
I’m a policy guy. I’m a data guy. I’m also a storyteller.
I have my own data. I can see where COVID-19 is hitting the hardest. We know that COVID-19 is hitting racialized communities in an unequal way: 80+% of COVID-19 cases are people of colour. It’s in warehouses and industrial settings. It’s in the northwest corners of Toronto full of Black communities and essential workers. It’s in Malton and Brampton, full of South Asians who are still going to work in warehouses. The government knows what to do. The scientists, the medical professionals, the policy people, and concerned Ontarians have been screaming for paid sick leave. For closing down non-essential workplaces. For Ford and the Progressive Conservative government to stop playing political games, blaming everyone but themselves.
I hate you Doug Ford. I hate you for getting us into this mess. I hate you for not caring about people of colour. I hate you for not caring about low-income workers. Blood is on your hands while people are dying in this province.
I hate you COVID-19. You’re not getting the best of me. And I’m going to continue to fight. And once I’ve recovered, I’ll continue telling COVID stories and pushing our government to do something so others won’t have to suffer like I am now.