sudden illness, hospital visits, and too close to covid-19 for comfort.

Quite suddenly over the past few days, I developed a significant GI bleed. It became clear quickly that there was no way to manage with waiting on a GI appointment and I would have to go to the ER – which I have tried desperately to avoid – to get to the cause of it. So, Monday evening, off we went.

the baby yoda I sent to my family expressing my feelings related to the ER trip. Ugh.

When we parked, we noted that there was no more COVID-19 tent outside, despite the fact that COVID numbers are much higher in our area than they were before.

When we entered, our temps were checked as before and we were questioned about symptoms and given armbands.

We then saw that a “tent” had been constructed in the waiting area – with one side entirely open. We checked in and sat as far away from the opening as possible.

I was assessed and given a priority – but we still sat in the waiting area for over two hours. It was just that busy.

Once we were in a room, labs were drawn, an IV started, I was given several meds and fluids, and the doctor ordered scans.

And we waited.

Very soon, we discovered that the patient in the room next to us was suffering terribly with COVID-19, coughing, gasping, moaning – easy to hear through the paper thin walls. It was horrifying. My heart broke for them.

(More on this in a bit.)

As my concerns about COVID have been expressed frequently here, y’all can imagine that my own anxiety went through the effing roof. At that point, I took the Valor essential oil I always keep in my medicine bag out and covered my pulse points with it, inhaled deeply for several minutes from the bottle – and DRENCHED my mask in it. . .

(I no longer use Young Living – I use other products that aren’t MLM generally – but I will never give up the Valor blend for my severe anxieties. It just works for me.)

I quickly learned that theirs was the only room between mine and the restroom – and I had fluids running wide open. Yay.

So, whenever I had to go pee – the clinical term after you’ve gone 17 times on a bad hip carrying your bag of fluids because the poor staff is INSANELY busy – I had to go past their contact and droplet precaution COVID room. I cried several times in the bathroom.

Also, on the way back from my scans, I was wheeled past another COVID patient who looked like they were barely staying in this world. I was both devastated for them – and very nearly losing my shit.

This visit was just terrifying.

From my tests, we know that I have a “new” autoimmune GI issue – well, not so much new as worsened I suppose. I’ve been symptomatic for some time – but the bleed really made things alarming.

My scan showed the inflammation and some of my labs were wonky. Also, I’ve been allergic to one anti-inflammatory medication for years but now I can’t take any of them.

I’ll know more after I see the GI doctor later this week in the office. Last night, my mission in life – as long as I could do so safely – was to get the hell out of the hospital once I had fluids and meds.

Praise the Lord, we did.

Now, let’s talk COVID-19. . .

I know everyone gets tired of hearing me preach this word – but I DID work as nurse for 15 years – and I am still one, keeping up to date with the most recent news, even if I physically can’t practice anymore.

Y’all, I have NEVER heard anything as bad as the COVID breathing I heard at the hospital. It’s ungodly.

Please, please stay home when you can, wear your masks when you have to go out, wash your hands frequently, and use hand gel when you can’t.

Also, this is lengthy but I want to share a thought with you from Dr. Fauci. Please take a moment to read it. It’s important:

Chickenpox is a virus. Lots of people have had it, and probably don’t think about it much once the initial illness has passed. But it stays in your body and lives there forever, and maybe when you’re older, you have debilitatingly painful outbreaks of shingles. You don’t just get over this virus in a few weeks, never to have another health effect. We know this because it’s been around for years, and has been studied medically for years.

Herpes is also a virus. And once someone has it, it stays in your body and lives there forever, and anytime they get a little run down or stressed-out they’re going to have an outbreak. Maybe every time you have a big event coming up (school pictures, job interview, big date) you’re going to get a cold sore. For the rest of your life. You don’t just get over it in a few weeks. We know this because it’s been around for years, and been studied medically for years.

HIV is a virus. It attacks the immune system and makes the carrier far more vulnerable to other illnesses. It has a list of symptoms and negative health impacts that goes on and on. It was decades before viable treatments were developed that allowed people to live with a reasonable quality of life. Once you have it, it lives in your body forever and there is no cure. Over time, that takes a toll on the body, putting people living with HIV at greater risk for health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, diabetes, bone disease, liver disease, cognitive disorders, and some types of cancer. We know this because it has been around for years, and had been studied medically for years.

Now with COVID-19, we have a novel virus that spreads rapidly and easily. The full spectrum of symptoms and health effects is only just beginning to be cataloged, much less understood.

So far the symptoms may include:

Fever

Fatigue

Coughing

Pneumonia

Chills/Trembling

Acute respiratory distress

Lung damage (potentially permanent)

Loss of taste (a neurological symptom)

Sore throat

Headaches

Difficulty breathing

Mental confusion

Diarrhea

Nausea or vomiting

Loss of appetite

Strokes have also been reported in some people who have COVID-19 (even in the relatively young)

Swollen eyes

Blood clots

Seizures

Liver damage

Kidney damage

Rash

COVID toes (weird, right?)

People testing positive for COVID-19 have been documented to be sick even after 60 days. Many people are sick for weeks, get better, and then experience a rapid and sudden flare up and get sick all over again. A man in Seattle was hospitalized for 62 days, and while well enough to be released, still has a long road of recovery ahead of him. Not to mention a $1.1 million medical bill.

Then there is MIS-C. Multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children is a condition where different body parts can become inflamed, including the heart, lungs, kidneys, brain, skin, eyes, or gastrointestinal organs. Children with MIS-C may have a fever and various symptoms, including abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, neck pain, rash, bloodshot eyes, or feeling extra tired. While rare, it has caused deaths.

This disease has not been around for years. It has basically been 6 months. No one knows yet the long-term health effects, or how it may present itself years down the road for people who have been exposed. We literally *do not know* what we do not know.

For those in our society who suggest that people being cautious are cowards, for people who refuse to take even the simplest of precautions to protect themselves and those around them, I want to ask, without hyperbole and in all sincerity:

How dare you?

How dare you risk the lives of others so cavalierly. How dare you decide for others that they should welcome exposure as “getting it over with”, when literally no one knows who will be the lucky “mild symptoms” case, and who may fall ill and die. Because while we know that some people are more susceptible to suffering a more serious case, we also know that 20 and 30-year-olds have died, marathon runners and fitness nuts have died, children and infants have died.

How dare you behave as though you know more than medical experts, when those same experts acknowledge that there is so much we don’t yet know, but with what we DO know, are smart enough to be scared of how easily this is spread, and recommend baseline precautions such as:

Frequent hand-washing

Physical distancing

Reduced social/public contact or interaction

Mask wearing

Covering your cough or sneeze

Avoiding touching your face

Sanitizing frequently touched surfaces

The more things we can all do to mitigate our risk of exposure, the better off we all are, in my opinion. Not only does it flatten the curve and allow health care providers to maintain levels of service that aren’t immediately and catastrophically overwhelmed; it also reduces unnecessary suffering and deaths, and buys time for the scientific community to study the virus in order to come to a more full understanding of the breadth of its impacts in both the short and long term.

I reject the notion that it’s “just a virus” and we’ll all get it eventually. What a careless, lazy, heartless stance.

I also implore you to take a moment to read this article about the longterm cardiovascular consequences that we are beginning to discover, even in people who had “mild cases” of the virus initially:

https://people.com/health/three-quarters-recovered-coronavirus-patients-have-heart-damage-months-later/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=news_tab&utm_content=algorithm

This is so incredibly serious, y’all. Please be careful.

This is really a nasty scary virus.

Be well, everybody. Take care of yourselves and each other.

Grace and Blessings.

 

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