Debi is married, a mother, grandparent, neighbor, active volunteer, and works as an office manager in St. Louis. At the beginning of the pandemic she was just trying to make pandemic life work for everyone around her. She hosted her first Zoom call early in the pandemic, and after some difficulty was able to connect with others, but found that technology was a huge barrier to overcome for some people.
Like many families, Debi’s loved ones have had tough conversations about COVID precautions and how to spend time together. They were able to gather outdoors in the summer, but it has become more difficult during the winter season. She doesn’t get to see her grandchildren as often as she would like and hasn’t seen one of her sons in almost a year.
In August, Debi attended a wedding shower where almost all attendees were mask-less. A good number of the attendees ended up contracting COVID, along with Debi. She received her positive test results the same day she was tested and started her quarantine at home. Debi and her husband stayed on separate floors of the house, but he also tested positive for COVID.
For Debi, the isolation was the hardest part. She had virtual medical appointments but found it hard to communicate because she couldn’t make it through a minute without coughing. She also experienced severe headaches, body aches, and fever. The cough lingered for most of the month, and she has still not fully recovered her sense of smell. She feels very lucky to have sick time from work during her quarantine. She knows of others who have had to stay home without pay.
When she sees people not wearing masks, it breaks her heart for the people whose lives will drastically change because people refuse to do this simple thing. She wishes that our leaders would look beyond their political interests and put together a comprehensive statewide plan to prevent more people from suffering.
Two weeks after Debi initially shared her story, she lost her brother to COVID. He had been diagnosed less than four days prior.