For starters, I am so tired of this coronavirus, I want to hurl it into the Pit. I have had a deep respect for it all along, because I heard what my husband kept saying and I believed him over the scoffers on the inter-webs. But it was an abstract, “I’m so sorry people are suffering” kind of distant respect. Now it has become perilously personal. I debated whether to even write anything, because what we are experiencing is what hundreds of thousands of families everywhere have already experienced this year. For some reason, I have this self-published platform and the inexplicable honor that people keep reading what I write. If our story can convince some naysayers to be more cautious about the virus, I will speak up.
For my mom, quarantine is much worse than the virus. She had a low-grade fever for about 3 days, some coughing, and fatigue. She stayed home, stayed hydrated, stayed active, recovered. My dad isn’t aware of quarantine anymore because he is sedated, on a ventilator, fighting the worst virus of his life. In classic Covid19 style, we live a roller coaster of ups and downs every day when we get updates after rounds at the hospital. Not only that, we are limited to supporting Mom from a distance, across the porch, laying her supplies on the picnic table for her to pick up, comforting her the best we can. It really, really stinks.
It’s been 2 weeks for Dad, and there has been very little improvement. We wait and hope and send out prayer requests. The first four days in the ICU he was communicating with us, telling jokes, responding well to his treatment. He kept saying, “I think I’m over the hump.” Then one evening we got one cryptic text, “I’m going to be intubated tonight. Maybe then I can rest.” What? This was not supposed to happen! Many people have asked, “Was that really necessary? What would have happened if they wouldn’t have intubated him?” The short answer is that he would have died a slow and painful death with acute respiratory distress or organ failure due to lack of oxygen.
This is four days later, and we have been jerked back and forth every day. “He’s doing well,” they say. “He is responding so well to the Remdesivir that we won’t be using the donor plasma at this point. However his blood pressure is high.” And then, “We’ve weaned his vent settings to 50%. His blood pressure has stabilized.” Then twelve hours later we get this message, “He did not do well in the night. His kidney function is deteriorating somewhat and the renal doctor is monitoring it closely. We will be giving him a paralytic and proning (turning him onto his stomach to help his lungs expand) him today.” Last night was more positive, “He handled the proning very well and the vent is now only at 40%.” In a few hours we will hear how the night went. My mom will be sitting with her phone in her hand, her heart in her throat, praying for good news.
My parents were careful; they wore masks in stores; they used sanitizer. They also travelled to another state to take my grandma home after she attended a large wedding on the family home-place. Mom and Dad didn’t go to the wedding. They didn’t hug or shake hands. Nobody was sick on the day they got to my aunt’s house. The only thing we have to be mad about is that they travelled across state lines, and that is pointless. It is what it is now, and we are here, waiting to see what God will do with this situation.
Mom’s quarantine is almost done. She is learning healthy ways to cope with this long drawn-out affair. The first week, when she was sick and worrying about Dad, watching him get worse, trying every immune booster and natural antibiotic known to the home-remedies community (plus a few), keeping him hydrated, checking his blood sugar levels, panicking when he got severe chills that shook his chair despite layers of blankets… that was a week of desperation. His doctor was on vacation that week, and the locum gave them the standard advice to treat at home and go to the ER if he got worse. So that is what they did, and here we are.
Dad is in the ICU where Gabe works. As it happens, he was admitted the day our “vacation” started. Gabe has off for 10 days and will not be going back to work until this weekend, unless he picks up some overtime. It is very helpful, though, to have connections and get the inside scoop on his condition. Gabe will rattle off a list of stats and I look at him blankly, “What does that even mean?” I don’t know what we would do without his translation.
Our hope is in God, and in His ability to give the health professionals wisdom. We wait for Him in a dependance that we haven’t experienced on this level, ever. This is not a bad thing. He is holding the whole situation, and we know it. In that there is peace.
In general we have experienced so much kindness and care. Many people have reached out and asked how to support Mom. Here are a few things:
- Messages of faith and courage, with no expectation that the person has to reply back.
- Links to songs that lift the spirit.
- Local support, in the form of a face on the porch, a bit of fresh fruit, etc.
- Phone calls only if you are a close acquaintance.
- Compassion, not pity…and there is a difference. “We are walking with you,” is much more bracing than “You poor dear! How are you surviving this horrible ordeal?”
- Pray. Pray. Pray.
This is the reality of coronavirus for some. If you think it’s about funny memes on Facebook, how somebody sneezed and now they tested positive and the whole world has to wear a mask, I’m here to tell you that you should stop. I pray it never touches you, or that you are one of the many who sail through recovery with little scarring. If you think hand sanitizer is for wimps and the CDC doesn’t know nearly as much as you do about staying well, all right. That’s up to you, but please don’t scorn those who do not see things quite the same way.
16 thoughts on “The Thing About This Coronavirus”
Heard about your dad yesterday. So, so sorry. We continue to pray. If you think of it, tell your mom I’m thinking of her and praying… I don’t have any contact info for her. God bless you all with peace and grace….
We care. In our family, we have stressed over and over, everyone who has the virus is someone’s loved one. I will mention your loved one to our family, therefore rallying more prayer for your dad, mom and family. God bless and keep you and give you peace.
I was so sorry to hear of your dad’s illness. May God carry all of you. We will keep praying. 🙏
❣❣ Thanks for sharing. I get so tired of all the conspiracy theories and “I don’t even know anyone who has it, how can it be so bad? ” Praying for you!
Also, this strikes a chord with me since from the beginning, my fear has been Dad getting the virus and becoming really, really sick from it. Not sure why him but he is a hero in my life.
By way of introduction, I’m a young mom in the trenches with 4, (almost) 3, and 1 year olds with another due in December. I have looked up your mothering posts multiple times. I too, wanted to do big things and sometimes feel so condensed here:)
Thanks for sharing this Dorcas. You all are very much in our thoughts and prayers.
We are praying for your parents through this time. Lanae has been keeping us updated! We always enjoy meeting up with your parents at Haiti events! We prayed for them at our church service yesterday as well! We pray God will bring healing to your dad and strength to your mom! God be close to you all!!
We have been praying for your Dad. We know your parents well. Thank you for the update.
Tears. Hugs. Love. Prayers.
We are with you in spirit fighting for your dad. 💔💔 Love you all so much!
Dorcas, if you think about it can you tell your Mom I am praying for her and your Dad. I am so sorry to hear that he is so sick. We lived in Guthrie same time as your parents many years ago and have such good memories of that time. May God bless you all!
We are joining you in prayer! Rachel is keeping us informed at church. Blessings to your whole family as you stand with and care for your parents in this very difficult time!
Thank you for sharing. We will certainly keep you and your parents in prayers. It’s good for us to hear personal stories up close, instead of just reading statistics from who-knows-where. There’s no need to apologize for sharing the truth.
Dorcas, So sorry to hear this , I heard he was sick but had no idea he is so sick !! I will be praying in earnest !! Thank you for sharing ! Love and healing to both your Mom and Dad !!
Praying for your dad and mom and all of your family in this difficult time. Thank you for writing your story. – Dawn
I just read this email now; I am very sorry to hear your dad is so sick. I want to pray for your parents and you too. Blessings and peace.