EUGENE, Ore. -- Brooklyn native and retiree Hana Marino has lived in Eugene for about three years now.
She enjoys taking walks downtown, painting, improv and enjoying live music with close friends.
“I exercise faithfully for an hour every day,” Morino said. “It brings me great joy.”
Her life took a major twist back in March.
“It was my birthday, and I went out. I went out to a couple of places and talked to people, drank and ate. I think that’s where I got it.”
Five days later, she became very sick. However, she never went to the hospital because she was advised not to.
“I did call, but they didn't want me to come in because I could breathe. They wanted me to recover at home and if I had difficulty down the road then to call,” she said.
Days turned to weeks, and after three months, she still did not feel like herself.
“There was a lot of weight on my chest, a fever for a couple of weeks, nausea, headaches, loss of taste and smell and weakness, especially in my legs,” she said.
Her recovery was gradual and long, without the therapeutics many have today.
“I felt an elephant sitting on my chest," she said.
After the rest and quarantine, she finally began to improve. However for Morino, the isolation began sinking in.
“There's a real deep loneliness now for me coming from the fact that I can't go to my friends houses and have a cup of tea with them," Morino said.
While grateful for relief, she understands these past months have taken a toll on so many.
“I have no family in Eugene," Morino said. "Everybody is back in New York. All my friends are isolating. Everybody is like me and over 65. Although I'm lucky enough to not have any conditions right now, a lot of my friends have something going on.”
She chooses to not live in fear but knows that the risk is still out there.
“I don't want to get it again. I would like people to be safe. I'm being safe,” she said.
In her words, life can be enjoyed -- even during the pandemic.
“I do things that make me happy, but I’m not hugging anybody. I’m not getting close to anybody," Morino said.
Her message to the community is very clear: “Just wear a mask.”