Life, Friendship, Writing, and Long-COVID

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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.

Yours, Eugene  

20 thoughts on “Life, Friendship, Writing, and Long-COVID”

  1. Harvey Guikema

    Long Covid is nothing we would wish for. I will add you to my prayer list. Thank you for letting us know. I am involved in a youth group! Pray that I will be sensitive to God’s leading and purpose, so the kids will know and follow Christ with their lives. Stay in God’s Grace.
    Love you brother,

    1. Thanks, Harvey. Your prayers are needed and appreciated. You all are often in my prayers and on my mind. I hope all is well. Having been a youth minister, I will pray for you and I know you will serve well.

  2. Georgie Ann Kettig

    Dear Eugene,… it’s wonderful to hear from you again!,… covid didn’t particularly “mess with me”, but years ago, I ended up with something that left me with “chronic fatigue”, and I’ve been “coping with it”, at some level, ever since,… “intentional resting” has always been a necessary part of that protocol, and as you say, God does manage to weave a lot of prayer-opportunity into that,… I’m sorry for the more intense suffering that you’ve been going through, but very glad that you’re emerging from what was, hopefully, the worst of it,… we’ll probably meet up “in prayers”, as time goes by!,… I often remember a saying that was applied to “ailing” Christians ~ “it’s not laid aside by illness, but called aside for stillness”,… I’ve been living that one for a long time,… and I’m used to it, and now even grateful for it, tbh,… take it easy,… & don’t be in a hurry,… the Spirit is willing and able, even though the flesh appears to be weak,… God has a way to make it “all good”,… so, we trust “in Him”,… (-:

    1. I love that: “it’s not laid aside by illness, but called aside for stillness.” That has been my journey so far. I’m sorry about your chronic illness. They say that this mimics that or is a similar cause. I now feel much more empathy for you and others who have experienced this for long periods. May God’s strength and grace support you.

  3. Jean Sunn

    So good to hear from you, Eugene. I can’t imagine the extent of your struggle, but I’ve had glimpses of knowing and admitting my humanness and frailty and marvel at the rest I find when I give up thinking I’m something more. We really are fragile aren’t we? And God knows it. There’s relief in that for me.
    Love and prayers for you and Dee Dee. ❤️

    1. Thanks, Jean. Your words and prayers mean so much. I like that phrase: the rest I find when I give up thinking I’m something more. That’s what I’m learning. God bless you and your family.

  4. IreneEgg

    I’m so glad to see you’re getting back to normal! And so sorry you’ve had to go thru this. I’m praying you will continue to get stronger every day.

  5. pat kings

    glad your improving slowly, i had a leg sprain 7 weeks ago and a stroke a year ago. everything seems to take so long. your doing well

    1. Thanks, Pat. It does. And even with small improvements I declare I’m healed and then realize–not yet. I pray God continues to heal you. I have far more empathy for those with chronic or long-term health issues. May God’s grace be sufficient.

  6. Thanks Huge for keeping us posted and I’m praying for continued growth in your health. It is a hard thing to feel like crap! Effects everything… so I also pray for your spirit and the emotional side of this. Love you! Serra is here for a bit… vacation and helping her mom with some junk. She really is remarkable! Just got the copy editing internship of her dreams literally 20 minutes ago. She’s here till Saturday so I’m a happy pappy!

    1. Thanks for the prayers. I’ve had several good days and have even done some writing! If Serra is still around say hello and congratulations for me. I’m glad you get to see her.

  7. Connie Hoffer

    Having some experience with long term illnesses in my past, I do empathize with the eagerness to “have this behind me.” God’s timing rarely seems to be our timing. May you continue to heal and enjoy writing and reading poetry.

    1. Yes, I’ve prayed for you. I am continuing to trust the great physician and my doctors as we move forward. Miss seeing you.

  8. Camille Redding

    Dear Eugene: I’m so sorry you’ve endured the after effects of this disastrous disease. We’ve had the virus two or three times and I understand how some of the long COVID symptoms linger, but I can’t complain at all now that I know your struggles. Take care, keep going on walks and “light” adventures to begin the summer, and I look forward to reading your prose and poetry when you’re up to writing it. Saying prayers for you and Dee Dee.

    1. Thanks, Camille. I have had several good days in a row. I’m celebrating small victories. Thanks for your kind words.

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