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Story Publication logo September 25, 2020

The Lost Memories of Yumira's Life (Spanish)

People wearing protective masks while waiting for turns to enter a supermarket during the COVID-19 pandemic in Caracas. Venezuela, 2020. Image by Edgloris Marys / Shutterstock.

Venezuelans are facing a complex humanitarian crisis. According to the United Nations, the Latin...

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Yumira Pérez tells her story of battling COVID-19. Image by Roberto Mata / RMTF. United States, 2020.
Yumira Pérez tells her story of battling COVID-19. Image by Roberto Mata / RMTF. United States, 2020.

I do not know much.

I do not remember when they took me to the hospital, I do not remember getting sick, I can only remember from the moment I woke up in the intensive care unit. I did not know what had happened or how much time had passed. I only knew that I could not move.

I dreamed that I was with my family in a restaurant in El Hatillo, we could not go out, they did not see us. We were dead.

The nurses took the time to explain to me why I was there. I could not understand. It took me days to take it in, maybe eight. I lost the memories of my life before and of basic functions. I could not hold my cell phone, I was not able to make a call. I wanted to communicate and I did not know how to do it. The phone recognized my face, but I did not know how to look up a number. I also could not eat on my own.

Before, we came to Miami very often for work. In 2015, I was held in Customs and Immigration. I did not want to stay, but they put up so many obstacles, so that leaving the United States and returning to Venezuela would be worse. I am a resident now.

On Monday, March 16, 2020, at ten in the morning, my husband, Álvaro, and I were going to travel from Miami to Caracas. The reasoning behind that trip was to renew my Venezuelan passport to be able to attend our daughter's wedding in the Dominican Republic.

On Friday, March 13, we called the agency to change our reservation. I had a very bad cough and knew that it would cause issues at the Miami airport when boarding a plane. "No problem, you can travel in June," they replied. On that day, many airports around the world began to close.

We didn't travel because of my cough, although we would not have been able to travel in any case. Álvaro developed a fever that lasted for several days. On Friday, March 20, he went in to be tested for COVID-19. He had no fever at the time, but did have one the night before. They did not want to give him a COVID test. Incomplete symptoms, he didn't qualify, is what they told him, but the discomfort continued.

On Thursday, March 26, we went together to Broward Health Medical Center to get tested. They sent our tests to Tallahassee, which was the only place at the time where the tests can be processed. On Sunday, March 29, they gave us the results by phone: Álvaro tested positive for COVID-19 and I tested negative.

To continue reading in Spanish, click here.


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