Storyteller: Karissa Kowalski
Madison is currently 21 years of age, living in Akron, Michigan and works in beauty care retail at a local shopping center. She first heard about COVID at the beginning of March through a phone call with her mother. At first, she presumed it to be a rumor, because she thought it was just a strain of the flu. But soon, she realized it was becoming a larger issue each day that passed, and it was something bigger than she previously had thought. However, she has a hunch that it was likely around before we recognized it as a separate virus, because it seemed to appear when flu and cold season was in full swing, and we probably didn’t think much of it initially due to this.
After the COVID-19 crisis was officially declared a pandemic, that’s when she knew it was starting to get very serious, because suddenly, on March 16, we had to go in lockdown. This meant that she needed to be isolated as much as possible from most of her immediate family due to fact that ten people live there as of today, so they have a big household. However, it wasn’t a huge problem, as her and her fiancé own a small house in nearby Tuscola anyway. It was even more frustrating because even she couldn’t see him every day, as he travels around Michigan to help with water and gas pipelines. Being in the house drove her crazy, as she was lonely and had no one to keep her company most of the time. Living during a pandemic made her recognize that the world is full of germs, especially when you are existing within that reality. “You gain a sense of how quickly infection can spread,” she adds. Madison tries her best to take precaution in order to avoid possibly giving COVID to other people, as sometimes it’s not certain how badly said person will be affected. Madison’s fiancé unfortunately experienced tragedy during the pandemic, as both his father and a coworker of his had passed amidst the already horrible predicament the whole world was going through. It was also even more scary when she had been diagnosed as carrier of coronavirus at a point in time. Luckily though, the only symptom she had was loss of taste and smell, as she did not get deathly ill, but this meant she had to quarantine for two weeks away from work. COVID has made her miss out on some family events, and that included having a milestone birthday back in March, as people would normally go to the bar to have their first restaurant alcoholic drink.
To Madison, it is a bit disappointing, working in customer service, because you are not able to see most consumers’ faces anymore, or their smile whey purchase an item, because they are wearing a mask. At her place of employment, it’s quite easy to obtain sanitizer because it’s a beauty product sales business, but that comes with cleaning up more thoroughly due to people using the hygiene products themselves and touching merchandise. The pandemic has taught her that everyone should have a voice, and that every life counts, no matter what, as someone could be happy and healthy one day, and gone the next. People everywhere are dying left and right because the case numbers are so out of control. She knows that it is necessary to improvise on special occasions when needed, if number of people should be a problem. She has learned compassion and to take better care of herself and those around her, and to have regard for the community as a whole.