Facing my fear of COVID...2 years in (straight talk)
Updated: Jun 15, 2022
THIS POST IS WORTH THE READ AND IS NOT POLITICAL OR POLARIZED.
I've had enough of COVID; have you? COVID with asthma (and/or other lung condition) is no joke! I'm being vulnerable to share a photo of what hourly life is like for me washing respiratory equipment. I come to you from a space of total honesty that I hope will bless someone who has or is struggling. Coming to you LIVE with COVID and a germ free hug.
February 2020 San Diego, California on a work trip for my husband, he woke up very sick on his last day as we flew home, and so did his ENTIRE work team! Early reports of COVID began circulating, and I was thankful to not catch it from him. We've always hoped that he contracted it back then, perhaps why he's been blessed to not get COVID for over two years. I'M GOING TO MAKE A BRUTALLY HONEST LIST OF CONFESSIONS THAT I HOPE WILL HELP SOMEONE. Sometimes there are things that are too embarrassing to admit, so please breathe in some freedom that YOU ARE GOING TO FEEL WAY MORE NORMAL AFTER READING THIS!
CONFESSION #1: I'M A GERMAPHOBE. There, I said it. While apparently 42% of people now identify as germaphobes post-pandemic, I'll admit to having an addiction to hand sanitizer as far back as the late 1990's. Perhaps I was just ahead of my time...not really. There were legitimate reasons. I was unfortunately a sick kiddo a for a large portion of my childhood, at least until the tonsils came out in high school. Unfortunately my first little baby became persistently ill, developed asthma and gave us countless scares until she began to grow out of it by middle school. Phew! Chronic illness can change a person, and I'm not too proud to admit that it changed how I view the world when it comes to illness, disease, and public health. I come by it honestly, always planning to go to medical school then nursing school, with a love of microbiology and the like. These patterns were deeply embedded in my brain and behaviors. I did not have a personal faith when these patterns formed. It was always just me and my well-defined bootstrap muscles, intense SELF RELIANCE and a high need for CONTROL. Bandaid of secrecy #1 ripped off - yikes!
CONFESSION #2. I CHOSE WESTERN MEDICINE AND MY DOCTOR'S VOICE OVER GOD AGAIN AND AGAIN.
I'm not confessing this secret to convert or evangelize, but I'm holding my own feet to the fire and maybe you can relate. Our country has dominated the world of Western medicine, and we've all grown up at least taking Flintstone vitamins, castor oil, cough medicine, or had to go to the doctor for a childhood ear infection or some malady. Medical care works! It's helpful and life-saving for a countless list of simple and serious illnesses. We are a nation of pill poppers though, am I right? I'll go first...I am. I don't like to slow down, I don't like to feel badly. I don't like pain. So I reach first to my extensive home pharmacy 9 times out of 10 BEFORE I talk to God. I'm working on this, but it is SO hard as a Christian with chronic illness! A benefit of the pandemic is the personal growth I'm finally seeing in this area of my life. I talk to God about medications before considering them, and before I swallow my daily pills and potions, I thank Him for His provision, and ask that if it be His will that He might bless the medication to the strength and healing of my body.
CONFESSION #3: MY HUSBAND AND I DID NOT AGREE ABOUT COVID (why are so few people talking about this?)
I love and respect my husband. There is nothing he honestly can't do. We agree on the vital things: our faith, how we raise our children, how we live with integrity, our belief in service to others, and keeping Christ in our marriage through prayer and study of the Bible. This should have made COVID easy, right? Ha! I will not publicly overshare here, but while my husband and I have endured a LONG list of fiery trials together, Coronavirus took me to the edge of myself where I saw my marriage nearly go down like a house of cards. I have never been so confused, infuriated, or felt my trust meter sink more each day while we were at a standstill. I WANTED to move closer to my husband's beliefs about COVID and masks and vaccines, but I TRULY believed in my position which was in favor of masks and vaccines (ONLY for those who wanted them; no mandates). The issue of personal protection and social distancing, especially in the early months was deeply personal for me because of autoimmune disease and pulmonary problems, prior cancer, and other risk factors. If I had a nickel for every "heated discussion" we had about the topics surrounding COVID, we could replace every dollar lost from our private sector 401(k)s! How we manage things like a pandemic are deeply personal, and we should have our FREEDOM to chose how to care for our individual bodies and health histories. Please be kind. I'm sharing this so someone out there feels LESS ALONE. The division we've all seen between political parties, public opinion, families, and EVEN MARRIAGES has caused serious damage to the ideas of faith over fear, trust, and the true meaning of freedom. WHAT DO I WANT YOU TO HEAR FROM ME? Just my love and respect to anyone reading this, and an offer of unconditional love and the gift of keeping my nose out of your choices.
SECRET #4: WHEN COVID FINALLY CAME FOR ME (facing the fear of possible death)
Setting unnecessary drama aside, myself and others with certain medical risk factors have been told by multiple doctors and specialists on our care teams that COVID could very well be a death sentence. I was certain I would end up in the hospital and on a vent (one of my greatest fears). For two years I fought the good fight until succumbing to COVID in June 2022 after a trip to San Antonio. Within 24 hours of a positive home test, the virus did what they all do to me...it immediately crawled down in to my lungs, scarred from twenty years of asthma and atelectasis. I stayed surprisingly calm, but having pneumonia less than two months prior was NOT comforting. I went FIRST to prayer, followed by an immediate text to my primary care doctor who knows my health history and called in the latest COVID antiviral medication. She and I agreed to a complex respiratory and care protocol which meant setting an alarm on my phone every 30 minutes to administer one of dozens of medications and breathing treatments. Enough about me. My heart is one for compassion, and honesty, and I want to reflect after watching our world for over two years, that for some people COVID was a sniffle and a streaming TV day, for others it was a terrifying and long recovery, and for millions of dear people and their families it resulted in death. As God and I have talked out every pill this week, He's given me personal grace to STOP FEELING GUILTY about needing to take medication because it somehow means my faith is weaker than someone else. I've heard this message of condemnation over and over since 2020, and I'm walking away from it. God knows we live in a fallen world with disease, and He has given us insight and knowledge into many of the intricacies of His creation of the human body. Thank you to every front line medical worker and first responder, every scientist and researcher who works tirelessly to pursue what they believe is to help people. God looks upon their hearts and our hearts, and as I seek Him in each breathing treatment, I hear only consistent compassion from His still small voice to me—compassion that washes over every disagreement between spouses and friends and my fellow humanity. Life is too short for us to remain terrified or angry. I'm laying it down.
PLEASE BE KIND TO YOURSELF. THESE ARE TRYING TIMES.