How I caught and recovered from coronavirus

Kylie Piotte, ’21, shares her story


The novel coronavirus. Photo illustration courtesy of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kylie Piotte

My study abroad experience was not too different than hundreds of thousands of students’ from around the world, recently. It was cut short by a global pandemic.

I’m incredibly grateful for having had the opportunity to visit Italy at all, as well as Paris and London. I had never been before, and the little time I spent there was still incredible. However, in my last week overseas, I flew to London to visit a close friend from high school. It would be a last hoorah; we all knew we would be flying home in a matter of days. We tried tons of restaurants and visited as much of the city as we could. As I packed up my bags to leave on a Thursday night (my flight was Friday afternoon), President Trump announced his vague travel ban. We were under the impression we had under 24 hours to get back to the U.S., and all of my belongings were in Paris.

I stayed up extremely late with the other girls in the flat, calling our parents, looking at flights and just feeling so overwhelmed. The only flight I could get home from London was out of my budget, and I still would not have any of my belongings. I decided to return to Paris and fly home the following week anyway, hoping to get a flight to Boston soon.

The next day I began to feel “off” but I attributed it to my horrific night’s sleep. The day progressed, my sinuses hurt, my throat felt a little funny and I needed a nap. I started to get a little worried but didn’t think I had been exposed to anything. I took a Sudafed and went to bed. I slept for more than 12 hours, which was out of character, but also easily attributed to my prior lack of sleep.

The day went on and I realized I couldn’t taste or smell anything, and I had a painful stinging sensation in the top of my nose. I had a slight cough, but it felt more wet than dry. I took a nap and just continued to pack. Saturday night was my worst night – I had aches, felt hot and then cold and just exhausted overall.

For hours, I felt like I was about to sneeze, but nothing happened. I went to bed and slept another 15 hours, which was bizarre for me. I figured I must have a nasty sinus infection, because I didn’t fit the symptoms for coronavirus that commonly attributed at that time.

Sunday was less uncomfortable, and Monday was even better. Medication wasn’t working, so I gave up on that and just slept as much as I could. By Tuesday, I felt like myself again, minus the fact that I couldn’t smell or taste anything and I was sleeping 15 hours a night.

My friend I stayed with in London called me Tuesday: one of the girls from the flat had just tested positive and had the same symptoms I did. I called my doctor immediately. A few days afterward, my friend who had shared a bed with me in London also tested positive. At this point, all of us felt fine, but no one could smell or taste anything.

We all isolated at home, and our families quarantined. I’m so fortunate to be able to say that all of us recovered quickly and fairly easily, and I know it has not been the case for many. No matter if you think you’ll be fine or asymptomatic, take this seriously. You never know, and it’s certainly not enjoyable, even if it’s only a mild case. Wash your hands, people!