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It kills me that I’m not here

| Friday, October 2, 2020

I’m not here. It kills me that I’m not here.

Over the past few months, I’ve had low-grade fevers, shortness of breath and no sense of smell.

I’ve also experienced chills, loss of feeling in my hands and feet, dizziness, vision problems, hearing problems, nausea, weight loss, heart rate issues, fatigue, memory loss, panic attacks, twitching and spasms, chronic insomnia, depression and anxiety about all my other symptoms.

I don’t have COVID-19. I got mold poisoning.

It’s nobody’s fault, really. My car flooded a few months back. I kept driving it without getting it checked because, though I had heard that mold can potentially make people extremely sick, my car only smelled a little musty, and I didn’t think it would affect me. Safe to say, I was wrong.

Though I expect a full recovery with treatment, I wish none of it had happened. Nobody is to blame except myself and an unfortunate string of events. However, here is the point: If, somehow — hypothetically — someone else had caused this to happen to me, I would be furious. Absolutely furious. This illness has likely derailed my only shot at graduating on time with my friends. People who know me can attest that I’m extremely easygoing, but if I found out that this fungus trainwreck was someone’s fault, I’d be daydreaming about treating them to some WWE-style smackdown.

I’m writing this not as a personal sob story but because I could not ignore the parallel. There are thousands of people at Notre Dame who desperately want to stay there. Though you may think the risk is low, and it very well may be, if you get COVID-19 and you let a bad habit of negligence drive you like a musty Honda sedan, you could potentially get someone really sick. They might have to go to the hospital, or drop out for a semester, or a year. They might suffer physical or emotional trauma. It could take months for them to get well. How would you feel if you knew someone else’s lingering disease was entirely your fault? Could you live with that?

What if they don’t have the support they need? What if they don’t have adequate healthcare coverage? I’ve been blessed to have both, and enduring an illness like this has still been hell. Have you thought about the others forced to go without?

HERE™️ is the TL;DR. You all have been doing a great job keeping cases low lately, but when it gets cold outside and everyone is stuck indoors, the potential for stupidity will go up again. The balance is fragile; if you don’t believe me, tell me what time our football team played last weekend.

Take it from me: The one-in-a-million nightmare scenario can happen to anybody. Don’t be the reason someone’s health is destroyed. Wear the mask, follow the rules. You’ve got the rest of your life to drink crappy beer in a crowded moldy basement somewhere, if you want.

While I’m on the subject, I’d skip the moldy basements, actually…

Noah Bongiovanni


Sep. 22


The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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