The month of May 2022 became my Black Hole month. On April 30, Husband came down with COVID. Then 13 days later I succumbed to it. We both developed pneumonia very early in the disease process, and we were pretty sick.
What I Felt
This virus is “inconceivable”, like no other flu or cold that we have ever had.
I had the typical fever, body aches, headache, dry cough, and congestion, along with severe fatigue, quite a bit of loss of hearing, and strange neurological symptoms like debilitating brain fog, numbness and tingling in my face, back of head, and lower arms, and balance problems. I developed double pneumonia early on and had to use supplemental oxygen at home for a couple of weeks, but thankfully was never hospitalized. It was surprising how bad I felt and how long it lasted.
“Get used to disappointment”. Another line from The Princess Bride movie that I found me saying to myself frequently. There was loss after loss, missing parties, not being able to join the trip to visit my dad and sisters, and having to opt out of get-togethers, Bible studies, church, etc.
In case you haven’t gotten COVID, or have only gotten a mild case, I thought I would provide you with…
A Glimpse into Limbo Land – Notes I wrote during Days 12-14 of COVID
(I think I named it Limbo Land at the time because I was alive, yet felt like I had to wait to have a life again. I just copied my notes how I originally penned them. And weirdly, I kept switching back and forth between first person and third person writing. Covid Brain, I guess)
~Day after day comes and goes, where you mostly feel like you’re not getting better.
~You feel like you can sit up for 10 minutes to work on a jigsaw puzzle, then break out in a sweat and cannot lay down fast enough.
~All goals and things on the To-Do List are on hold for yet another day.
~When will it feel like I don’t have to think about breathing? When will my hearing improve? When will that weird sensation in my head go away? When will my dull brain feel sharp again?
~Your world has shrunk to the confines of your home and yard for days on end, extending into weeks. First with you being quarantined because of Husband who get sick first – 13 days before you. And then your own.
~What’s that word? A hundred times a day.
~I think I can start a load of laundry. It would be good for me to get up. Halfway into it, not feeling so good. Need to lay down.
~My body says no to the things my brain thinks is a good idea.
~I watch dancing Reels on Instagram and try some simple, gentle dance moves the next time I get up. Those 5-8 seconds feel like progress.
~Monkey Mind, incessant negative thoughts looping; anxious, despondent, overwhelm at times. Or just dullness, grayness, blahness. With occasional grips of fear and dread.
~Philippians 4:6-8 repeated over and over in my mind to counter Monkey Mind.
~Decisions? Nope. Can’t make any today.
~Mental flagellation – “You’ve been sick long enough; now you’re just being lazy”.
~Some of my houseplants are dying…I will water them tomorrow.
Circa Day 21 Notes – Slowly improving, but still with a foot in Limbo Land
The I Almost Wish I Was Still Sicker Phenomenon – Weird, unexpected feeling that as my symptoms are improving along with it came feelings that I would rather feel sicker, have worse, more obvious symptoms — not for attention, but rather to be left alone and have no expectations of me.
A hermit mentality. It feels rather daunting to move forward and resume life. Maybe it’s depression or lack of brain function, or lack of energy, or nagging fatigue or a combination of all of those, and possibly more.
Thoughts Around Day 28
I am having difficulty getting over my pariah mentality, still feeling like a leper. Is it really okay to hug people again?
Recovery is so slow. I wake up feeling just okay, but deteriorate by late morning and need to lay down most of the rest of the day, even though I was careful not to overdo it.
Not that much better than last week. Persistent feelings of being woozy and weak, headachy, with heart racing, breaking out in sweats, and weird sensations.
***I stopped writing pity notes after that, changing it up to jotting down things I learned while sick.
What I Learned
Don’t Waste Your COVID-19
Husband and I borrowed this thought from Pastor John Piper who wrote the article, “Don’t Waste Your Cancer“. One thing we are certain, God allowed us to come down with COVID. We asked ourselves, therefore, what we could do to not waste it. A few things I did in attempts to make good use of having COVID were to pray for everyone who told me they were praying for us; used this time to relax and to let go of things that normally make me feel driven; to practice thankfulness; and do a lot of deep breathing.
Illness has a way of stopping you in your tracks. God had my attention.
One thing I felt that the Lord was trying to teach me was that I am too driven. Another was that I need to rest in Him more, and to take a step back and evaluate things in my life. I was at His mercy and He mercifully taught me. Another one of those things was how I can better serve others during their time of need, which I will share now.
Ideas to help and cheer others for those going through trials and sufferings – Notes from after Day 28
Now that I am back in the land of the living, mostly anyway, it seemed like a good idea to lay down some thoughts about how I could serve others in their time of need. Many times I have wanted to do something and yet lacked ideas on what to do. Many things come to mind now having so freshly been the sufferer.
Below are some suggestions that may or may not be applicable to the situation.
- Email and texts, maybe a short phone call depending on your relationship with the person, or a texted video of get well wishes.
- A funny get well card. Or a hand drawn picture.
- A short visit, if contagiousness is not an issue and if it would truly be welcome by the person who is ill.
- Offer to pick something up from the store.
- Offer to help with transportation, again if contagiousness is not an issue.
- Drop off a store bought food item like a carton of bone broth, tea, applesauce, kombucha, or Topo Chico (our favorite sparkling water). One friend dropped off a few frozen soups from a local soup shop that really hit the spot and was easy to warm up when needed.
- Make a meal. I had a couple of homemade meals delivered that had a variety of foods. This was much appreciated because one cannot be sure which will end up being the most appealing. For instance, one friend brought by roasted chicken pieces, butternut squash soup, salad with homemade dressing, and Paleo banana bread. This feast ended up providing many meals since our appetites were not that great. I appreciated the banana bread the most as it was easy to cut off a little slice and seemed very easy to digest. Another friend delivered homemade grass-fed beef chili beans and cornbread, which surprisingly hit the spot.
- Drop off a gift, small or large. Both are great to receive. Some ideas: a plant, a joke book or other kind of book, a magazine, coloring book with pencils or gel pens, hand cream, a comfy blanket or socks, or a needed supplement like liposomal vitamin C.
Loneliness and isolation can be really wearing. Any reminders of love and compassion are encouraging and can make a difference.
So…Limbo Land & Learning, that was pretty much my world for awhile. Now full recovery is my focus. Stay tuned. I hope to write more about what has seemed to be helping me the most, although I have shared a bit already in my email newsletter. Speaking of that…
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