Coronavirus Turned Me into a Caregiver

Photo credit: Samir Dominguez

CITY COLLEGE — In the middle of March, my mother, Chaitali Patel, tested positive for COVID-19. At the time, testing for the virus was very limited, and she was only allowed to be tested because she had Non-Hodgkin’s Follicular Lymphoma and a weak immune system. “I was in shock, a little scared, to find out the terrifying news. I was not sure if it would get worse and I would have to stay inside of a hospital or if I had the benefit to be home with my sons. I prayed to God and figured, if I got through cancer, I can get through this,” my mom said.

It took five days to find out she had the virus. During the waiting period, my brother Jai Dominguez got a fever of 103 degrees, and he had constant headaches. The doctors would not let him test for the virus because he did not have a weakened immune system. My mom’s results had not come in yet, and that meant there was no proof that he had been in contact with someone who had the virus. “I tried to convince myself it wasn’t the coronavirus, but once Mom tested positive, it was the biggest ‘Oh shit’ moment for her and me,” Jai said.