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For young couple, a nightmarish battle with COVID-19

After a month-long battle with COVID-19, Victoria Morris and her boyfriend, Henry Rolle, who are both 25, said they feared they would die together as they toiled through an unforgettable experience with the virus.

“I just kept praying, ‘Please don’t let us die,’” Morris said.

“Before I got tested, I was thinking I might have it. Hearing the health officials say they cannot do anything for you is like that whole dark cloud just sets over everything.”

Morris and her boyfriend tested positive for COVID-19 on August 14.

“It took a while before we got tested,” she said.

“I was trying to contact people from the Ministry of Health and the COVID-19 hotline and no one would pick up any of the numbers. I contacted nurses that I knew, family members and anyone that I knew that could get me in contact with someone because at this point we felt like we [were] dying.”

Morris and Rolle do not know where they contracted the virus, but said their contacts were very limited.

“To be honest, to this day we [are] still totally unsure of how we got it,” Morris said.

“I was still doing online classes up until the end of July, so I wasn’t going anywhere except to the grocery store.

“He was going to work for a few days. Other than that we weren’t around big crowds except going to the grocery store together. My best assumption would be it was probably the grocery store.”

The couple said they felt hopeless in dealing with the virus.

“Only when we got tested, that’s the only way people from the Ministry of Health and the COVID-19 hotline started reaching back out to us,” Morris said.

“They [were] just like, ‘Go to the hospital only if you [are] having trouble breathing. If you can’t breathe, go to the hospital. Anything outside of that, just stay at home and do whatever you feel could make you feel comfortable. Take medication if you could and treat it like a flu.’ That’s all they told us. That added to the fear.”

Rolle, who experienced severe symptoms, said he did not take the virus seriously prior to his test result.

“COVID-19 became a reality for me,” he said.

“It was me saying to myself, ‘Okay, this is really real’; me coming back from school at first saying COVID-19 doesn’t really affect nobody. Then I didn’t go around anyone so I straight; but then taking the test after feeling bad, I [was] thinking it was only a cold or something because I washed my hair, but I really have COVID-19.”

The couple, who are both law students, said they were isolated at the home of one of Rolle’s deceased relatives.

“The week before I got tested, I felt like I was having symptoms so I isolated myself,” Morris said.

“Even though we both live with our parents, when I initially started to feel my symptoms, because I started to feel them first, I initially left my parents’ house because I didn’t want to give them the virus and my boyfriend did the same thing. Luckily, we did not pass it on to any of our family or close friends.”

Morris said although she only had mild symptoms, she felt health authorities handled her situation carelessly.

“It was fearful hearing [health officials]… say, ‘We can’t do nothing to help you, just treat it like a flu or cold,’” she said.

“I don’t feel like I have a flu or cold, so it’s like what do I do now. So you just feel alone and helpless. I had a terrible headache. My entire body was just aching and in a lot of pain. From there it just got progressively worse. By the third or fourth day, I lost my sense of smell and taste. I couldn’t breathe properly because there was a lot of cold on my chest.”

Rolle said his symptoms deteriorated after he tested positive.

“Before the test, I had a really bad fever and chills and that went on for two weeks,” he said.

“I was feeling weak. I had other symptoms like a cough and sore throat, but like the fever and chills, they were like the worst symptoms.”

Morris was left to nurse her boyfriend even though she was not well.

“He was feeling way worse than I was,” she said.

“His symptoms were more progressive than mine at that point. I just had to pray. I just kept telling myself I had to get better and I will get better. I have to get up and do this and I have to take care of him. At some points he was physically unable to move. He needed help. I had to push myself to do what needed to be done.”

Rolle added, “I had diarrhea and headaches. The fever had my body burning up and the chills, they would come and go. Luckily, I had my girlfriend to take care of me through it all. I had people that cared about me enough to bring me food. I didn’t feel as bad as someone else who probably was living alone and had to deal with it on their own.”

Morris said although officials advised them that they were not going to receive another COVID-19 test, they are both free of the symptoms.

“I stopped having symptoms on August 20, but I still had to be in isolation until we were cleared on August 31,” she said.

“My boyfriend had to go three days without symptoms and we got cleared after that.”

She is afraid of another COVID-19 exposure.

“I still have a fear that I might catch it again because I don’t know how I got it the first time,” Morris said.

“The other day, I had to go back to the house where we were staying while we were sick to pick up something and I could not bring myself to go there. It almost feels like a prison because I know I was sick there. I don’t want to go to the grocery store; I don’t want to be around people totally.”

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Italia Clarke

Italia Clarke joined the Nassau Guardian in August 2020. Clarke covers national, human interest and social issues. Education: University of The Bahamas, BA in Media Journalism

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