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Vaishali Andukuri, 10
Oakland, NJ

A Life Change

Vaishali Andukuri, 10

I had a normal life. A slow life, sure...But it was good. I was just a regular 12 year-old who had a standard schedule. I woke up, went to school, came home, played a bit, helped cook dinner, ate it, went to bed and my day was done. Until one day when my life changed. I was going to school, and on the way, I stopped by a small corner shop, to buy water. When I came back from school, I heard the news that there was a virus going around. Something COVID? I didn’t care. Not much comes to our town. I went to watch TV. Apparently some big cities were on something called “quarantine”? Also there were some huge numbers. “The Death Toll” they said it was. I just assumed that it was a bunch of people crying because they got a cold. The next day, I was coughing more than usual. Two days after that, I felt weirdly warm. My mom checked, and said it was a fever. I was sick for a while. It wasn’t too bad. I got “get well” gifts, and my parents took care of me and gave me food in bed. Then one day while I was playing, I got tired. I took a huge breath, and it hurt. Slowly and steadily, my breathing worsened. Then it got so bad that my parents took me to the hospital, where they ran some tests. A doctor came, and took a nose swab. He then took it to the lab. He came back with the results. He looked scared and sad. He said that I was going to be okay, and that my parents would be right there. I was confused. Why would I be worried? Why was my family in a rush to come? I asked him what was going on, and he looked surprised and confused at the same time. “You didn’t figure it out? You have the coronavirus, or SARS- CoV-2.” he explained. I was mortified. “I have a fancy cough?!” I yelled. “Oh trust me, it’s not just for the fancy people. Tons of normal people are contracting the virus.” the doctor replied casually. I did not like this doctor. “What happened to them?” I asked warily. “Oh…. Some died, some got lifelong breathing problems, and some are absolutely fine.” he responded unhappily. Now I was scared. I had probably got it in that shop! I didn’t want to die, so I asked what I could do. He said all I could was wait it out and try to stay alive. I was unhappy, sad, in pain, and exhausted. I couldn't sleep, and it was horrible staying in the hospital. I wished I had taken the safety precautions. I would have been safe. I was not the first to learn the hard way. Tons of people have ignored the precautions and gotten sick. Some had even died. I got out of the hospital alive, but I had breathing problems. I wish for everyone else to stay safe and not make my mistake again. Before, I had lived an ignorant life. Now I have changed for the better.

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