Oracle After Hours: Don’t get too comfortable as the state opens up


Aria Jain, columnist

With much of Illinois transitioning into Phase Three of reopening, I started to feel like I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. But when my dad mysteriously woke up with a ‘broken toe,’ after not remembering hitting it in the middle of the night, it seemed like he had a rare symptom of COVID-19. 

COVID-toe is an uncommon symptom of the virus. Respected dermatologist Esther E. Freeman says that this occurs when a seemingly broken toe is a ‘small blood clot causing purple or red skin lesions’ on certain extremities. Even though he did not end up testing positive, it was a scare all the same. 

I know several people who have unfortunately caught the virus, but I never thought it was a disease that I would ever come in direct contact with. My dad is healthy, youngish, and didn’t show any symptoms other than a blistering red toe. It is almost surreal.  The feeling you endure because your brain is overcome with so many conflicting emotions makes you panic. Your mind starts to race and I felt like I was transported into a world of possibilities and paranoia.

I felt myself trying to process all my emotions and eventually, 

I began to compartmentalize. 

I found it hard not to be selfish in a situation when it’s best to be selfless.

 Instead of thinking of my dad, I started to think about all the ways this would affect me. I thought about how the stay-at-home order was ending and if he tested positive, all the activities I would miss out on with summer starting. It made me feel extremely guilty for even having such a heartless mindset because I was only thinking of myself. I did not think of all the people it would affect far more than me. 

With my dad possibly catching the coronavirus, it changed my perception of this pandemic. I held so much more admiration and respect for anyone affected because I was now experiencing something similar. While I had been sympathetic towards those affected before, I was empathetic now. 

With empathy came the realization of how lucky my family and I were too. My dad only experienced mild symptoms and the rest of my family seem to be relatively unaffected. As coronavirus cases come, this one was mild and it puts in perspective how destructive it can be to a family or person who contracts a severe case. 

I almost feel like this is happening now, right before the end of the school year and the stay-at-home order is a twisted form of a blessing. Quarantine has started to take its toll and days just seem to float by. School ending marks the start of summer and after the year we’ve had, it represents the start of recovery. 

But I think that the strange case of COVID-toe is a reminder to be careful and not get too comfortable with the loosening guidelines. Especially when it’s a loved one that has the virus, it’s almost worse because you are more worried about them then you would be yourself. 

In a way, I’m almost thankful for this happening when it did. This coronavirus scare has helped me see the pandemic through a new perspective and it’s one that I’m incredibly grateful for.