(Note: This is a modified version of a June 17 Facebook post by the author.)

Those who know me know that I enjoy posting stupid, dumb, funny memes on Facebook, always going for that laugh. I rarely post about personal agendas unless they are near and dear to my heart.

That being said, if any of you thought you didn’t know someone infected/recuperating from COVID-19, you do now: me.

It is not fun, it is scary and it hurts and you have a choice to make to avoid my experience. Please choose to wear the damn mask! Practice social distancing! Or, get ready to possibly go where I’ve been and feel this awful virus take over your being. Just hope you have a high tolerance for pain and discomfort.  

The sinus pressure is one like you have never experienced before. You can’t breathe. (Not even Vicks helps!) Your head feels like it is going to explode and your eyes feel like they are going to pop out of your head, like on an iMagitek squeeze toy.

You will feel like you have an elastic band wrapped around your chest and it is being pulled from opposite ends. It is tight, very tight, and constricts with every breath you want to take.

The fatigue is constant, limiting, persistent. It is acute. It slows your reflexes, responses and weakens your muscles. I am still struggling with feeling so tired. It is unrelenting exhaustion.

You will lose your sense of taste and smell. This has been so traumatic for me. You see, I love to cook; it is my passion, it is my therapy. Now, I cannot taste anymore, I cannot smell anymore. It is so disturbing, even depressing. Some doctors are concerned that some people will never get back to normal.

Then there’s the fevers. Your body hurts all over. Your muscles, your joints, your skin is on fire. Remember laying outside and falling asleep as the sun baked through layers of your skin? That’s what the bed sheets feel like as they rub on your skin. Your skin will be on fire. You will sweat, you will shiver and you will have the chills. Then you will cramp because you are so damn dehydrated. Yes, the fevers. They are continuous, increasing at night as part of your body’s strategy to the kill the virus that has attacked you.

If you are blessed to still have them, you will be so worried for your elderly parents, hoping and praying that you did not infect them the last time you saw them.

Your loved ones will be so worried for you and they will feel so helpless. It will break your heart to see them suffering and you won’t be able to do a damn thing. You will put all your efforts and energy into fighting this crud so that soon you can give them that hug, or elbow bump, or see them and chat with them through the garage door or open window to your backyard.

I pray that if you have to go down this road that, like me, you have family, good friends and a work squad that will be there for you. Mine checked up on me, delivered groceries, lunch and that ice cream I so craved. They tracked down all those disinfecting supplies, bought me spicy Doritos because I can’t taste the regular bland ones; delivered a steak that I couldn’t taste, but sure was juicy; and most of all, had compassion for me, didn’t blame me for having to self-isolate and needing to get tested themselves because they shared a happy hour with me, or helped me at work on my last day there.

I pray God will spare you and will also allow you to kick COVID-19 at home, not in a hospital and on a ventilator.

I plead with you. Choose the mask. #MaskUpSantaCruzCounty

(Valdez is a native of Nogales who currently resides in Rio Rico.)

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