|Walking to Grandma's house on Christmas day.|
As Minnie Pearl would often say, I’m just so proud to be here, and I hope you are, too. There’s nothing quite like a bout with a new to science, new to the human population virus to make one appreciate being able to get up and take a deep breath in the morning, and such was my gift this Christmas. Thank you, Jesus!
It started with body aches. Or maybe it was the unusual rash that appeared (and itched like crazy) on my back two days before. Or the headache that I just couldn’t shake the day before that. They say that COVID-19 is not like the flu, and now that I have experienced both for myself, I would agree. Unlike the flu, which would hit me fast and hard, the COVID-19 virus came on slowly for a couple of days before really settling in. By the time I realized I really was getting sick, I’d already gone hiking with a few friends, been to the grocery, and kissed my husband and hugged on my kids. And yes, I wore a mask to the grocery, social-distanced, all that. Thankfully, nobody I was in close contact with during that time got sick (even the employee who helped me use the self-checkout at the grocery).
I know it is starting to sound cliche’, but I have no idea how I got it. The two weeks prior, I hadn’t been within 6-feet of anyone unmasked outside of my immediate family, with three exceptions, and those three people were not ill. Perhaps one of those three was an asymptomatic carrier, but if that were the case, I would think others in their social circles would also be getting COVID-19, and that does not seem to be the case (I live in a small town so everyone knows who everyone hangs with around here, LOL!).
Anyhow, I wonder if I may have been exposed to the virus months ago and it lingered in my body until my immune system weakened. And that doesn’t take much, as my body already struggles with an auto-immune disease diagnosed in 2002 (interstitial cystitis). But really, I’m not sure any of that matters, anyway. I knew that living any kind of life beyond sequestering ourselves in our house meant accepting an element of risk, and I have no regrets about that.
Uncertain of exactly when my “Day 1” began, we quarantined for longer than the recommended 14-days, which, considering our homesteading, homeschooling, teleworking lifestyle, really wasn’t all that difficult. I spent 9 days in bed, the longest in my life, other than the period of bedrest required when I was pregnant. My body cycled between chills, fever, and body aches that would come and go over and over for about four days. I never had a cough, not even a tickle in my chest, and no issues with breathing. Nasal congestion was minimal and there was no sore throat. I never lost my appetite nor my strength, which I found quite odd and very unlike the flu. My single worse symptom was intense back pain around my kidneys, which lingered for a couple of weeks and even today, re-emerges if I over-do it and get fatigued. After the first week of symptoms, I lost all sense of taste and smell, completely, thus confirming that I definitely had COVID-19. One month later, I have regained only some of my taste and smell, making Christmas treats a bit of a downer, but giving me the perfect penance for Advent.
Other than that, life is mostly back to normal now. We had the most beautiful first day of Christmas yesterday, complete with snow, which happens only about 10% of the time here in southern Kentucky. Joah requested a snow shovel for Christmas (along with a hard hat and pruning saw…not your ordinary kid), so I guess God decided to send some snow to go along with it. I still get easily fatigued, and Christmas Eve, with all its preparations, combined with kids pulling out all their “behaviors”, almost did me in, but my heroic husband came to my rescue and sent me to take a nap while he picked up the slack. He has been my saving grace during all the days that I have been out-of-pocket, and in God’s mercy, he has stayed healthy and strong.
It is not lost on me how serious this virus is for so many. While I was ill, a friend of mine lost her mother to COVID-19 and my heart breaks for her. Others we know of are having serious lingering effects. I certainly do not want this post to appear to downplay its effects. I have very elderly parents and friends with chronic conditions, and I fear for all of them, and would not knowingly put any of them at risk nor encourage them to take unnecessary risks.
Still, I am grateful now to have had it. In some ways, it is a relief to have been through it and have it over with, much as having a root canal or giving birth feels. I often reflect on my life and think about all the times God has given me another day; times when only my guardian angels or modern medicine have saved me. I’ve been living on borrowed time for a long time now, and I am thankful once again to be able to fight another day. I guess God has more work for me to do.
I pray that you have a most blessed Christmas season, and I will see you in the coming year, Lord willin’.