Dealing with long-COVID has forced me to re-recognize how human I am, at least as much as I can admit. Most of us can point out the frailty, failures, and humanness of others readily. Not so much in ourselves. It takes a hard-knuckled punch to knock the rose color off our glasses we peer in the mirror through. At least it does for me.
This renewed recognition for me stemmed from being laid low the past seven months with COVID-19 and post-COVID symptoms: fatigue (what the doctors call post-exertion malaise), brain fog, a cough, congestion, shortness of breath, loss of voice, dizziness, sapped strength, depression, and distraction. COVID was a Halloween treat I didn’t ask for. Since then I’ve undergone lung X-rays, an echocardiogram, a quart of blood tests, a laryngoscopy of my vocal cords, two pulmonary function tests, on-going speech therapy for my cognitive dysfunction, half a dozen general doctor visits, and more prescriptions and recommendations for pills, supplements, and remedies than I have Twitter followers.
Sadly doctors have limited explanations and answers.
If you wonder why I’ve not written in some time, there it is. Not only has the illness kept my fingers from the keyboard, but who has time between all those doctor visits? In reality, most days, I only have the energy for one thing. Unfortunately writing has seldom been that one thing. As has been being with people.
But I am finally making progress. So, where am I nearly seven months post-COVID? My lungs are completely clear and my vocal cords are fine. Also, I’ve experienced some longer periods (several days in a row) without brain fog and extreme fatigue. I felt good most of the time on our trip to Hawaii and even kayaked. I’ve been walking the green space path in our neighborhood again. Short walks. Sir Winston’s happy no matter the length.
I’ve begun seeing cognitive function therapists at National Jewish Hospital. These are the people who help stroke, PTSD, concussion, and now long-COVID victims recover brain function. And they have been so helpful. I can often control the brain fog with careful planning of my day to include significant rest and brain-breaks, eyes closed and deep breathing. This Pacing, the doctors call it, has been a huge learning curve for someone like me used to just pushing through illnesses and difficulties.
I’m learning another side of Sabbath and the strange truth of Paul’s that God is strong in our weakness (I’ll write more about that and other deep truths having long-COVID is teaching me later).
For now, I want to thank you for your patience and prayers. I have not forgotten you. And though the progress and daily come-and-go of this disease is unpredictable (I had a huge set back in March), I hope this letter to you marks the beginning of regular communication again.
Also, my brain-breaks and rest times have been wonderful times of prayer. Let me know what I can pray for you.
In the meantime stay healthy and know God is with you even in times of silence and doubt.