DURANGO, New Mexico – It was February.
The cold, wind-swept sky outside the dorms of St. Mary’s College was chilly and the only sound was the rustling of leaves and the occasional rattling of the wind.
This was not an ideal place for a student to be.
The college had just started a new academic year, and students would be getting paid to work in the winter months.
So, what was the plan?
A few days earlier, I had left the college to work for a local news outlet and would be on the road for three weeks to cover the coronavirus pandemic.
After all, I wanted to get my feet wet.
As it turned out, I ended up being on a bus with several other journalists and we were taking turns taking photos of the road.
By the end of the bus, it was nearly 2am and we had to return to our dorms in Murfreesboro.
The bus driver was an old friend of mine, and we spent an hour walking the roads of Murfree.
“If you do that much work, you don’t need a lot of help,” he told me.
The only reason I stayed on was because of a couple of people I trusted, and I told them I was leaving my job as a college news anchor to pursue my journalism career.
But even then, there was nothing in the plan for me to get back on the bus and to my dorms.
I had already missed a day of classes and was not in the mood to do so again.
After a couple more hours of walking, the bus stopped, and the bus driver called out to me.
“I have something to show you,” he said.
“We’re going to be going to a doctor’s appointment tomorrow.
We’re going back to work tomorrow.”
“Oh, okay,” I said, and after a brief conversation, I boarded the bus.
I was nervous and scared.
My friends and I had been waiting for three days for this appointment.
I knew I had to get off the bus at the clinic and make sure I was okay before heading back to my school.
It was about 9am when I arrived at the ER.
The doctor called me in.
He was a nurse and told me that I needed to be in bed for a few minutes to check my pulse.
“Okay,” I told him.
I put my phone down and went to the front of the room.
A few minutes later, the nurse called again.
“Do you need to come in?
It’s urgent,” she said.
I opened my eyes and looked around the room at everyone.
I saw that most of the other patients were asleep and they had no pulse.
I could feel the air moving through my lungs.
It seemed like I was breathing through my nose.
My stomach began to churn.
The nurse took my pulse and told us that the heart rate had gone up to over 100 beats per minute.
It wasn’t normal.
“The doctor said the patient is in a coma and is on life support,” I heard the nurse say.
“This is a real emergency,” I thought to myself.
I began to panic.
My body was starting to tell me that my life was in danger and I couldn’t even think straight.
I felt the need to do something, but I didn’t know what.
I did not want to go to the emergency room. I didn