Monday, April 25, 2022

A Hard Blog To Write. Hello Blogger!

It's been almost a year since I posted anything. Reading back over my last post I agree that I am definitely not the person I used to be. The pandemic has given me an excuse to escape deep into my grief for Jude. I don't think I ever allowed myself time to fully engulf in what actually happened to my child until the world shutdown. It's rather amazing to me it took the entire world shutting down for me to shutdown. I guess that wouldn't surprise some people; trust me that I laughed when I typed that sentence. I know there are several of you saying, well duh. About two weeks ago I woke up and decided it was time to make a huge change in my life. I didn't feel well at all. I was tired, weak, nauseated, and overall didn't feel like myself. My work life was thriving but inside I was crumbling.

I realized I missed who I was since I was an innocent 7 year old girl. Not just before Jude's crises but the girl I was before anyone harmed me or destroyed my sense of love and hope in the world. I decided it was time to get healthy and find some sort of inner peace within myself. So I set some attainable goals. I would replace wine with a more positive coping mechanism, I would book a therapist, I would eat healthy, and I would get the hell out of this house! I have been doing all of this! My food is now for energy, any alcoholic drinks are extremely limited, and my walks started slowly but they started. Today I am proud to report I reached 2.5 miles with my previous pre-pandemic walking being 3 miles per night. Only .5 more to go and then I will add more! 

I met with the therapist today and we talked in detail about many aspects of my life. Most of what we chatted about is private but I don't mind sharing the overall picture. When I ran down my life synopsis in 3 minutes I think she was rather stunned as she sat there genuinely consumed in my emotions. Words like victim of child rape, loss of my child, loss of my mother, loss of my family, and more ran circles around the room. She eventually said, "I don't think wine is bad thing", lol! I said, "No but for now it's not for me." We talked about my new coping mechanisms and I explained I have always loved walking. I told her I have taken up diamond painting which I adore and that I love to be busy. I explained that I might become emotionally overwhelmed but I am very good at being overwhelmed in a business aspect. That I thrive at competition, sales, and entertaining others. 

Then through further conversation I discovered something that was incredibly enlightening and freeing for me. I no longer needed any acknowledgement by myself or others regarding what happened to me in my childhood or my past. It is what it is and I am moving on. I didn't need to recover any untold memories or trauma.  I recognized what happened to Jude was horrible but we did our very best to care for him and love him. I realized that because because Jude wasn't here I had been feeling like I shouldn't be here either. I also realized I have always tried to love myself big or small and embrace who I am as a whole but I was not really accepting myself for me. So I love my family enough to try to drag myself out of the very weight of an incredibly heavy burden like losing someone you are responsible for. 

So as mentioned I went on a walk tonight. I drove up to the trails in Lantana, parked my car, and began the trek down the overwhelmingly beautiful paths! I am not a huge neighborhood person but I do contribute financially to this fantastic area. We actually just put an offer on some land in Poolville and thought it was accepted until they raised their earnest money request, ugh. Hopefully that gets rectified but until that happens I am perfectly happy walking these happy trails. I think something in this dreamy universe drew me to this specific area tonight. I walked through the trails watching the birds, trees, hawks, bunnies, and more taking every second of it in. So if you live in Lantana just know I have only walked 1.25 of your trail before I had to turn back and walk the 1.25 miles back. However, your cute signs, gnome village, birdhouses, and more throughout the route made me smile. I needed this walk and I soaked in every single second. I thought to myself that this is okay; it's okay I am happy again. Jude would want me happy. Jude would want me to walk like we did together when he was here. Jude would want my guilt to go away. Jude would want me to laugh at the cute little Gnome village because he would have helped me make it if he was here. 

At one point I stopped at a scenic resting point with tears streaming down my face but they were much needed tears. I laughed because I knew the people passing me were probably thinking, what the hell is wrong with her, lol! One girl though just smiled as big as she could and nodded. That's all I needed just a nod. I packed up my stuff and headed home knowing I would be back the next day to see what gnome treasures wait for me on the other side of the path. So as I close this blog which is another much needed new coping mechanism I invite you back to my writing journey. 
I have shared these song lyrics before. They used to be sad to me but now they're inspirational. You might look up the actual song, "She Used To Be Mine" by Sarah Bareilles. 

 It's not simple to say

Most days I don't recognize me

These shoes and this apron
That place and its patrons
Have taken more than I gave 'em
It's not easy to know
I'm not anything like I used to be
Although it's true
I was never attention sweet center
I still remember that girl
She's imperfect but she tries
She is good but she lies
She is hard on herself
She is broken and won't ask for help
She is messy but she's kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up
And baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone but she used to be mine
It's not what I asked for
Sometimes life just slips in through a back door
And carves out a person
And makes you believe it's all true
And now I've got you
And you're not what I asked for
If I'm honest I know I would give it all back
For a chance to start over
And rewrite an ending or two
For the girl that I knew
Who be reckless just enough
Who can hurt but
Who learns how to toughen up when she's bruised
And gets used by a man who can't love
And then she'll get stuck and be scared
Of the life that's inside her
Growing stronger each day
'Til it finally reminds her
To fight just a little
To bring back the fire in her eyes
That's been gone but it used to be mine
Used to be mine
She is messy but she's kind
She is lonely most of the time
She is all of this mixed up and baked in a beautiful pie
She is gone but she used to be mine

Monday, April 26, 2021

A Year Of Enlightenment

I have decided that this past year has been a time of enlightenment for me on many levels. I think approaching 50 years old and a worldwide pandemic has opened my eyes to so many things. I have always been very opinionated especially when it came to issues I felt went against my moral values. I also have always believe in educating yourself. If someone spoke about something that was historically or statistically inaccurate I would kindly correct them. In my youngers years I was also very quick to get frustrated with situations that were stressful or difficult to deal with. If you have followed my blog for the last 13 years you also know I was always on the go with a new adventure or a new place to visit. 

I am no longer that person and I like it. Not everyone will like the new me and that's okay. I like my quiet time, being at home, being slow, and being mellow. I now literally stop myself from replying to others asking myself if my opinion on the matter they posted or spoke about is truly important. Is what I am going to say going to make a true difference in the world at hand and if not I move on. In my line of work we sometimes get very angry customers and in the service industry as a whole people can see very upset individuals. I wonder if we just took a moment to take a deep breath before we reacted if the outcome would be different. I am not saying we shouldn't ever get upset or allow someone to wrong us in our lives but I have just personally decided to try to let things go. To take in as much positive as I can. 

This past year I thought I was helping a friend by advising a companion was not faithful and wasn't extending decency when talking about my friend. Although I felt in my heart I was doing the right thing by warning her it backfired. Then recently I commented on a social media post (damn social media) and it was taken out of context. It was on a touchy subject and I was just trying to be supportive. So I decided to just stop commenting on anything that could be construed as political, religious, pandemic associated, or relationship geared. I had someone bring up a political opinion the other day and I just simply replied that politics aren't my job and I no longer discuss them.  God didn't put me here to prove my side is the right side because it may not be. I found a quote that says, "You cannot control how other people receive your energy. Anything you do or say gets filtered through the lens of whatever personal stuff they are going through at the moment. Which is not about you. Just keep doing your thing with as much integrity and love as possible." That resonated with me because it's so true!! If politics, masks, work, depression, joy, hate, fear, life, babies, whatever is on your mind will filter what you are reading and perceiving. That can affect your reaction and my reaction to any given situation at hand. My mother used to always tell me to walk away from a situation for five minutes and breathe before I spoke. Those were some words of wisdom right there folks! I should have listened. 

I guess with everything that has happened in my life since I was 7 years old I just started to wind down. Long quiet cool evenings sitting out on my patio while listening to the wind in the trees and the birds makes me very happy right now. Living at a slower pace and taking in all I can while I still can means more than I can say. I hear Jude all around me out on our land and see him in the dragonflies that flutter by my hands. I don't miss the traffic or the busy hustle but I do miss my friends and enjoy seeing them again. I am not sure I ever really grasped that when I retire I want a quiet life away from the commotion with my dogs and animals but I understand that now. In the meantime I am still extremely grateful that my business is still so successful while I work from home and it's because of all my loyal friends, family, and clientele. 

Friday, April 9, 2021

Jude's 5th year Angel day. Hello Blogger I am back!

Well hello Blogger! I know it's been a while but I have been working on healing. It's the 5th anniversary of Jude's angel day. I take this day off work every year to reflect on our lives and to refrain from being ugly to someone that may be less than kind. It's not a customers fault that my emotions on on high alert so I just personally decided to lay low on 4/9. A lot has changed in the last five years. Emily has now graduated college with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Biology. She also obtained her CNA so she can gather experience in the medical field while either training as a nurse or a PA. Emily also competed at Miss Alabama USA 2021 and made the top 10. A few months later she heard from a large modeling firm who saw her at the event and plans on signing her as a new client. Her first portfolio shoot is at the end of this month.......SURPRISE! 

Emily's Smile Boxes is still going strong. During the pandemic we were not able to ship boxes so we focused on family needs. We shipped laptops to children who could not afford them for at home learning, provided funds for groceries, and so much more. We are now able to ship boxes again so we are sending out 100 at a time to be put together by volunteers while we also continue to help funding those in need during the crisis. This is one of our regular volunteers who makes the boxes we send and drops them off. I know Jude would love the smiles the boxes bring to children and their families. 

My parentals found a puppy in Arkansas on the side of the road for sale for a mere $10 and they were smitten. They brought her home and called me to see if I would take her in. Since I have an ever increasing zoo I agreed to one more little one and she has been the biggest stinker I have ever owned but I love her deeply. Sometimes when I look in her eyes I feel a little part of Jude in her smiling back at me. My aunt says that a dear relative of ours always said that dogs are heart menders. My four pups have for sure been mending my broken heart for a while now. 

Over the last year laced with the covid pandemic we endured Mike being bit by a venomous copperhead and "Snovid." Back in the summer Mike was stepping into our front door and little did he know a copperhead was sitting on our welcome mat. I heard him scream and knew immediately this was NOT good! We live in TX in an area that has many snakes and although I know how to handle them they are not easy to spot at night. Copperheads are nocturnal so that doesn't help the situation. Nothing really sums up 2020 more than a hospital discharge summary that reads "Venomous snake bite"; luckily it was a dry bite. That doesn't mean I didn't enter the ER in a full panic frenzied stern mom voice saying my child died I will NOT LOSE my husband! That poor ER felt horrible when they had to ask me to leave due to the no visitor rule. I sat by myself in the parking lot waiting to hear the outcome and God answered my prayers. 

Next we had good old Snovid the snowpocolypse that hit TX with a near 100% electrical power grid failure. Thankfully, we found out we sit near a birthing center, the police station, the fire station, and a water plant. So we never lost electricity unlike so many other poor Texans. Last I heard we lost 111 Texans to freezing temperatures. We learned we will never be without a wood burning fire place, back up food storage, backup water storage, and a cast iron stove. Our grid was not prepared for the temps we received and it was heartbreaking watching the desperate social media posts! I work in insurance and they're telling us the claims from broken pipes, etc. will surpass Katrina and that's staggering. 

I still have my same wonderful job, my eccentric crazy loveable family, and most of my adoring beautiful friends. The pandemic has caused a lot of heartache based on many political issues and honestly a lot of assumptions. I feel like we will all make it back to each other at some point if it's meant to be. A piece of your heart cannot escape unless it's meant to leave forever. If you're true friends with the best intentions meant on each side then a relationship isn't lost it just needed a timeout. 

Now let's focus on today. I still have tears streaming down my face as I write but tonight the waves of grief weren't quite as large today as they have been in prior years. It doesn't mean it's easier but I guess I am finding new ways to cope and manage Jude's profound loss. I felt like I was able to process more about the release of Jude's spirit this year. That he had been in pain for so long that it was God's mercy that took Jude somewhere peaceful. This year I also really missed his nurses who were such a part of our family for so long. Sweet Charlotte who was always so organized and always Jude's advocate opted not to return to pediatric care. I think Jude's loss was too much of a heartbreak for her. I still talk to her and get to watch her happy days on social media.  Candice is ever the fun loving sweet soul. She would stay up with me late at night letting me drink my wine and complain about everything I needed to before I would retire for the night and she took care of Jude. We only had her for the last year of his laugh but she is forever a friend. Allan and his blessed soul still texts me, "Morning Glory!!" everyday he works with his new patient. The very words he said everyday he showed up to care for Jude. Oh how I am grateful for each and every one of them and the joy they brought to Jude and our family. 

We are still living at the home I believe Jude brought us to. The land is full of dragonflies, butterflies, flowers, grapes, honeysuckle, Wisteria, and so much more. It also has snakes and wasps too but we try to ignore them. The amount of Cardinals that land in my back yard with other birds is truly staggering. Our little happy zoo makes me always think of Jude and Home. Jude would have loved to pet the goats. I can picture taking his hand and rubbing his fingers across their fur as he laughed. He would have loved the chickens and the rooster crowing. I am not sure the nurses would have liked Jude laughing at "Gregory Peck" crowing at 5am but Jude would have loved it. As big as the pig is Jude would have loved his snorting and the dogs with their ever licking tongues would have sent him into a thousand giggles. 

Right before the pandemic hit the continuous rain made our outside stairwell collapse. Ironically this stairwell led to the very room I keep most of Jude's memento's except those around the inside of our home. At first I felt a little panicked I couldn't get to them but I realized we would indeed get it fixed. Then the pandemic hit and out contractor had to quit. We went more than a year and finally it's being fixed. The stairs will be on the East side of our home. I have been oddly excited about this but I guess it's because I worked to be able to afford this and it's a stairwell back to Jude. 

So that's a quick update of the many months that have passed between my last blog. In the end my heart just very much aches to hold this adorable boy again, see his smile, and smell his fragrant hair. He is forever my little penguin. I am so grateful for my gorgeous daughter, my loving husband, and all those around me. Thank you for you ever enduring patience with my many anxiety issues, my grief, and my lack of patience. Thank you to everyone who sent all they did today for #ididitforjude. To sweet little newborn Jackie, who made her entrance to the world today, I hope you are as bright of a beacon for your parents as Jude was for us. I have no doubt that you will be and thank you for spreading some light on this day that was always so sad. You and your parents are a true blessing. 

Hey Jude..........We Miss You. 

Monday, September 21, 2020

Why Don't We Talk More About Mental Health Issues? My confession.

Hello Blogland! 

Since my battle with Coronavirus I have not ventured out of my house on a regular basis. I am actually quite blessed that I have been able to work from home and I have found that I really like it. I was in an office setting for so many years that when we were sent home to isolate I went into panic mode. Seriously, like I drove my family nuts, lol.  I wasn't sure how working from home would impact my business and when you work in sales with commission the thought of losing business can be very stressful. This week is actually the first week I have had a significant drop in quotes to do. So if you need insurance please let me know. Overall I am not scared to go back out into the public but I don't want to fight Coronavirus again. Twice is enough for me and I have educated myself enough on the subject to know that historically other coronaviruses have a history of infecting the same people. I am assuming because they are more susceptible. However I am attempting to get out a bit more and test the waters. I take precautions and so does my family because they watched me suffer. 

Emily and I ventured out this weekend and after having a good discussion with my cousin I thought I would share my Saturday experience. I think we talk a lot in America about the need to acknowledge mental illness but we are afraid to share our own challenges. So despite what you may think about me after you read this I am going to share mine. Maybe it will help someone else open up and let people know that it's okay to not always be okay. I have blogged before that in 2001 Emily and I were in a horrific car crash. We were traveling down Grapevine Hwy and I slowed to allow a car to turn in front of me. A young man driving 65 mph hit me with such force it sent my SUV spinning and then flipping. We flipped into a large commercial light pole and took the entire pole over. We were hanging upside down in the vehicle until rescuers got us out. I was injured but thankfully Emily was fine snuggled in her car seat. Less then three weeks later 9/11 hit and BOOM this month leaves Jenn with the worst PTSD! I had a terrible fear of driving and riding in a car after that accident. I saw a therapist and luckily he did finally help me begin to drive normally again but after Jude died the issue came back. The therapist said the trauma of losing him just agitated old issues. I was beginning to get a bit better but then Covid hit and I found that not having to drive relieved a mountain of stress I didn't realize I was carrying. The problem is now that I haven't driven in so long I have the tendency to have terrible panic attacks in the car. I was driving Emily to Grapevine to my office and then on to Southlake Saturday and I had to pull over just to catch my breath. Things that make me panic are two lane roads (377), congested areas, and highways. So for me if I have to pick going out somewhere that may end in a huge panic attack I would rather just stay home. It's just not fun for me to go through that to get to some place to try to have fun. So if you think I am ignoring you, I am not. So back to therapy I go again soon. 

Overall the rest of life is going pretty well. We have a rather surprising situation that we are working with right now that I will write more about when we learn more about what will be happening. In closing we celebrated Jude's 12th birthday on 9/2. Mike took balloons and flowers by the cemetery and left them for a week. We still feel him with us everyday making an impact and we thank him for preparing us for isolation. This was the life we led with Jude on a daily basis. 

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Social Media Fights And Jude's Visit

Times are tough right now for so many people but rather than extending grace so many people seem to be critical of others. There is a huge war right now between those that think we should mask and those that think we shouldn't mask. So much anger is being generated from both sides. We know the masks are not full proof because I caught Covid leaving my house only twice with a PPE mask. However, if it can slow the spread and make others feel safe I have no issue wearing one. I have realized that if someone is dead set on not wearing one they seem to be resistant in believing someone around them has had Covid. 

So let me set the record straight. I had Covid a very serious form of the cornavirus. I was being sent to Baylor ER to be admitted but I chose to stay home and recover and I made it through. That doesn't mean the virus wasn't serious. I was labeled a constant contractor in my pregnancy with Jude and had level 10 contractions from 31 weeks to I know pain. Think about yourself or your wife giving birth with level 10 contractions. Think of that for seven weeks straight and there is nothing anyone can do. By the time I had Jude I was talking through my contractions and wasn't phased until he actually decided to be born. Covid was worse. 

Despite which spectrum you fall into I just wish everyone would be kind to each other. We need kindness so much right now in our lives. We need empathy, compassion, and love. We are not incapable of it. I understand you may think not wearing a mask is selfish and I understand you may think wearing a mask is a violation of your rights. However, a a wise man said to me recently "I keep my thoughts behind closed doors but behind those doors I speak very loudly." I understand we have freedom of speech to speak up for our beliefs but sometimes it's okay to just support each other despite out differences. You can never win an argument on social media. 

Feeling like you're a punching bag on social media is difficult. It's our natural instinct to reply to links or posts that we find personally offensive or full of incorrect information.  However if we slow down and step back prior to posting and ask ourselves if the post is truly worth it I believe most of us would decide it's not. When we fight with people on Facebook it's a bit like inviting everyone you know to watch an argument in a public place. I think healthy discussions on social media can be insightful but once it's turns nasty it's time to exit stage right pronto! This is just my humble opinion tonight so take it for what it's worth or brush it off. 

Also, during these trying times and times of still not feeling 100% Jude always finds a way to stop by and say hello. Like with a little dragonfly landing in my hand. 

Monday, May 18, 2020

My Fight Against Covid 19

I wrote this blog over several weeks as I dealt with the illness so forgive the original date shown for publishing.

So by now you have probably heard I had Coronavirus Sars 2 - Covid 19, I shit you not. After everything we have been through I don't know why I didn't just assume it would strike my house. Sometimes I know my family feels I put our life on display but now that I am recovered I felt the need to share my story to help others. 

On or around 3/11/20 my work placed all employees on a work at home basis to avoid physical contact and to keep our workers and clients safe. Prior to leaving our office I had a dry cough for about 2 weeks and I chalked it up to allergies. This dry cough continued and my co-workers even poked fun at me on our zoom meetings that I had the virus (it was truly all in fun). On 4/18/20 I started feeling very tired and I had a sore throat in the base of my throat. The next day I remember watching my husband plant some flowers and I could barely move. I wanted to help him plant but I just sat there and watched him. By Monday things were bad and my symptoms were increasing rapidly. On Tuesday 4/21 I decided to put a call into my doctor and I found out I needed to do a telemedicine visit. I didn't get my personal doctor but did reach a doctor within Baylor. I went through my symptoms, 

*Dry Cough
*Body Aches
*Sore Throat
*Shortness of breath
*Pretty sure I was hit by a train. Like an express train going 190mph that didn't stop. 

I thought I had an upper respiratory infection and that I would just be placed on some antibiotics.  I was surprised when I heard the doctor state she suspected I had Covid. It did all make sense though because the virus was unlike anything I had felt before. So she sent me to downtown Dallas to have a nasal swab which I am pretty sure pierced my brain cavity. You pull up to a private location and nurses come to you dressed head to toe in zombie fighting gear. They have you sit on your hands while they shove this long swab up your nose. It only lasted a few seconds with mine (hence the future issue you will read) and then it was over. I went home feeling like death and waiting on my results and at this point I was still nursing myself without medication. On Friday my results were in and the nasal swab said negative. My family was free to go back to work and I was left feeling like death and left in limbo without any definitive answers as to why I felt so horrible. 

Friday night I began experiencing what I labeled as oxygen attacks.  I would begin to feel winded if I was walking around and when I used my pulse oximeter my oxygen was floating around 89-90, whoa. That's no bueno! However, when I sat down the oxygen would rise so I waited a bit but the night grew worse so I went to a local Urgent care/ER. The facility listened to my story, checked my vitals, tested for strep - negative, tested for flu - negative, and mentioned doing a rapid Covid test but they decided against it. They sent me home with antibiotics and a diagnosis of Acute Respiratory Illness. Days later I was back on with the regular doctor and at this point I cannot even describe how ill I was. She prescribed a whole host of medications and advised me to rest and if it got worse go to the ER. I then had a follow up care date and I began to feel like I was getting better. My voice began to switch from a sultry Darth Vader to a more normal scratchy and a bit shaky voice. The headaches, upset stomach, and low oxygen would come and go. Then I began to notice that the symptoms would seem to start all over again which is unlike any virus I have ever dealt with. Also, I would feel terrible in the mornings, okay in the afternoon, and horrible at night. Finally at a follow up I had a blood test and on day 20 I tested positive for active Covid.

The doctors said they believe I already had a virus which weakened my immune system and I then caught Covid, sorry but we will agree to disagree here. It was Covid from the start.  The symptoms never varied and although I am not a doctor I do believe my levels for testing were just not functional at the beginning. When you test positive things switch into high gear. My personal doctor called later in the day to do a follow up based on the testing information and were truly so kind and understanding. They were concerned about my lungs and wanted a chest X-ray but they didn't have a machine at their office and their urgent care was closed. So it was suggested I go back to the facility I was at prior that diagnosed me with an acute respiratory illness. They had full machines and a prior X ray on file. So I called ahead to let them know what had been requested and explained I had active Covid.  When I arrived I found that the door was locked or at least the sliding feature was turned off and no one was in the lobby to be seen.  So after knocking a bit they answered the door and asked if I was the one that called and I advised I was. I realized at that point the door was a deterrent for me as they panicked. An initial nurse came out asking me what I wanted and I explained the situation. Then another nurse came out asking me the same thing and then pointing out she had negative cases in the back. The attendant in the front asked me to wait outside around the corner while they checked in other patients. So I quietly made my way outside and shed a few tears.  I understand but it was like walking into a clinic in 1980 and telling them you may have HIV. Finally, a nurse came out in full zombie gear and led me down the walk of shame towards the back of the building where everyone stared as I was escorted into a zippered room. They did a chest X-Ray from outside the room........interesting. Thankfully it was clear and then the doctor came and spoke to me. He was very nice and explained I 100% had Covid and he was prescribing some additional medications to ease my symptoms. The nurse in the room with me apologized for everything that happened at their clinic and while listening to her words I made a realization. I look at her curiously and asked, "Wait am I your first case of Covid?" She looked down and then back at me and said, "Yes our first positive case." I replied, "Well no wonder I bet you guys were like oh shit!" She said, "Pretty much!" I mean in all honesty they should have been better prepared but I guess these are unprecedented times. So I went home with another sheet of paper to add to my growing stack.

Later that day my doctor's office called again after communicating with the facility I went to. The PA was concerned about my inflammation and how long I had been sick. She was really recommending and pushing me to go to Baylor Hospital. When you are sick with Covid it is hard to know exactly what you should do because everyone around you is affected. My family was placed on quarantine and then let go when my swab was negative. We now know the swab was probably not performed right and that is why you got a false negative. I felt my family was embarrassed that I had the virus and worried that people would treat us differently, I can't say that I blame them but at this point they were well beyond their window for illness. So since I had been stable at home I decided to nix the hospital. I am well trained on respiratory illnesses due to Jude and I know when things turn worse. I also know it can be quickly turn for the worse but I felt comfortable enough staying home.

Skip to Monday 5/11 now 24 days into misery and I was dealing with burning pain in my legs and my bones felt like they were breaking. It had lasted about 4-5 days and this was a symptom I had at the second urgent care/ER visit. Ironically my phone rang and it was an RN case manager in Dallas that has been assigned to my case. I guess she gets updates twice daily on how I am doing and was reaching out. I told her about the leg issue and they were checking into possible rhabdomyolysis. Don't google it. So they got that information to my doctor who was again okay with me monitoring for signs and symptoms at home. The primary goal is to keep you out of the hospital so you don't spread the virus and you don't catch anything else to further complicate your healing. 

Thankfully, I was directed to a Covid support group on Facebook and they were such a lifeline or hope and support for me. I felt so incredibly alone during this fight and after 20 plus days of illness everyone has pretty much reached their max with me. So let me put some rumors to rest for you. 

1. If you catch the serious version of Covid (Cornavirus) then you are not generally better in a ten day time period. My doctor was very upfront that this could be a lengthy recovery. Thankfully I was never in the critical category.  Some with the mild to moderate cases luckily recover much quicker. Within my support group it doesn't seem to matter if you have underlying symptoms for the expected duration. I healed (mostly) in 26 days when there are others much healthier than I am that are on day 90+. I find those in New York seem to post more often that they or a loved one are seriously ill. It makes me wonder about strains but I am not a scientist, I just simply lived this.

2. This virus doesn't just attack the elderly or those with underlying issues. My group is full of young and healthy people that are truly suffering. Luckily most conquer the illness. 

3. Covid is a menagerie of symptoms that are not standard and the virus is ever mutating with more symptoms. 

4. It's not the flu! It's not anywhere near the flu. If you say flu to me you will get punched (not really but I will say, Oh bless your heart). Telling someone it's just a flu or not a death sentence is not helpful 
what-so-ever when they're dealing with it and you are healthy. I understand any illness can have complications but when someone is trying to relay to you a lengthy list of symptoms that do no fall in line with seasonal flu it's worth listening. I will say that some people who have mild symptoms won't agree with this so again I am only referencing severe cases. There are many many mild cases so don't be afraid if you get a positive test. 

5. Swab tests can be wrong. If you have symptoms I believe treat the symptoms and that seems to be the route the doctors are now turning to. I did feel a bit scared but relieved when the blood test showed positive, only because I couldn't understand why I was so sick. However, as stated many many people in my group are being treated for symptoms and not being required to test. 

6. The symptoms can drag out lasting days, weeks, or even months even after positive antibodies show and you are no longer contagious. 

7. You don't always run a fever with Covid. I laugh a bit at the facilities installing temperature monitors.  My temp is generally 97.4 and my temp was ranging 98.1 - 99. The doctor said that with Covid that's a fever. So throw what you have always learned out the window. There is no longer the mentality of "rub a little dirt on it and you will be okay"  with a mild temperature increase. 

8. There is no "big brother" watching your every move in Texas but they do in some states. At this point the medical staff informs you that they have to tell you the CDC guidelines for quarantining but no one enforces it. I simply had a case manager that would call to see how I was doing.  I stayed home because I felt it was responsible and I didn't want to spread the illness. I am still indoors and will not be venturing out until this weekend. This virus is just so new and is full of so much unknown. However, there are many cases out there that are positive and people are just unaware.  People walking around you everyday. I tend to believe we are all going to be exposed at some point. 

9. Covid can rapidly change and become deadly so please get to an ER if you believe you have Covid and experience breathing issues. 

Watching people debate politics on social media and discuss whether the virus is a hoax is incredibly frustrating when you are battling it. You tend to just scroll past those posts but sometimes we as a human race should stop and think about how we can be kind versus how we can argue. Also all social media seems to be is a debate between the maskers and non maskers lately. My cousin told me that she has an opinion but she chooses not to share it because she doesn't have an ego that needs to justify being heard. That can sound a bit harsh but it makes you take a step back and realize that no matter what we think our only job is to give others grace and support. Many people in my support forum are from outside the US and they remark frequently on how odd it is that our country is so divided against each other. My husband constantly tells me that the powers that be set in place motions to divide the red ants from the black ants. It's those that participate in the division and fuel the fire on social media that let those powers that be win. I thought that was rather enlightening.

It's a slow healing process and I am not sure if there will be lasting effects or if I can catch it again. I am praying for no on both of those items and promising data suggests once you have antibodies you cannot get infected again. This scenario seems to change daily but it's still promising. However I can say I am getting better and stronger each and every day. I have what's called "Post Viral Fatigue" which is not contagious it just means the illness took a huge toll on my body. I get winded and tired easily and I take that into consideration with work and other activities. Point of this long blog is to share with the world the misconceptions, what it's like, what we need to learn, and how we need to care for those with the illness. I hope it helps someone because this virus isn't going anywhere. Patients with Covid19 are not lepers and they are still the same people you care about. It's not their fault they caught the virus and they just need your support. My favorite was when our bank couldn't fix their deposit app so Mike had to run his check to deposit. He did this from his vehicle, outside the glass, and 20 feet away. Our banker basically griped me out that he came to their facility. I explained he is outside his window and they should be using hand sanitizer, especially while handling money. Her reply was, "that gets tedious". Um how is that my fault? Insert me turning my head to the side with squinty eyes.  

The most asked question I get it, "How in the world did you catch it?" I believe I brought it home when I was first house-bound. My doctor believes Mike had a very mild version and brought it to me from his work. Emily then got a very mild version as well but they were rapidly better. The next question or statement I always get is, I think I had it back in so and so. So far every person that has told me that that follows through on the antibody test has been negative. I am sure that will change but if you get the serious version of this there is zero doubt what you have! However, if you do have the antibodies then maybe you're a candidate to donate plasma.

In closing I want to say how grateful I am for the people in my life. Thank you for all the business referrals for insurance as I battled this illness from home. Thank you to my aunts both checked on me every single day, my friends would listen to me complain to NO END, my work was so attentive and patient, and Emily/Mike who were extremely helpful. I am very thankful to all those that prayed and helped. Without you I don't think I would have kept pushing through this. I was so tired of life tribulations and health issues that I was just ready to give up. You turned my thinking around. People say 2020 is a year we won't want to remember. I say it's the year I beat the odds, Emily will graduate, she will achieve her goals (more to come later), and our family yet again become stronger!! We still miss our little Jude every single day but at my most sick point I could feel him holding my hand. He is always there.

I hope that everyone I know stays healthy and safe but if you do get it have hope it will clear up and there is support out there for you. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

The Cemetery And The Weekend

So last week wasn't an easy week and neither was the weekend. That's okay because things happen and if we don't learn how to pick ourselves up an wipe the dirt off we just continue to drown. Basically, the primary issue centered around a visit to Jude's grave at the cemetery. Mike went by and noticed that all of the items we have left for Jude had been removed from his site. Now, let me explain that we chose a rural cemetery for two reasons. We felt it was peaceful and serine like Jude but they were also more lenient regarding wreaths, plants, rocks, etc left at sites. Parts of my family are Catholic, parts are Methodist, parts are Jewish, etc. So we combine a menagerie of customs when it comes to Jude, one of which is leaving a rock on the headstone to symbolize a prayer. We had a small wire bird basket that held prayer rocks in it and rocks friends had decorated. We also had a Saint medallion that had hung on  Jude's bed for 7 years hanging on his headstone, we felt it was fitting. When Mike called me I was calm at first and then something just triggered my grief and I had the ugly cry. You know the one where you cannot catch your breath? 

Mike showed up at my office and assured me everything would be fine, they're just material items. He has a way of calming me down when it's most needed. I called the cemetery and found they had Jude's items in a box and had completed a "clean up" of the cemetery. We were grateful to have the items back but I was crushed that his medallion was missing. The facility explained they no longer allow rocks on headstones but I pointed out even the national cemetery allows rock in the symbol of prayer. We will see what happens but at least we have his items back and I understand that sometimes they have to clean up the areas. So we got everything in a box with the rules in a folder. Lovely. 

Skip to this weekend when I had to tackle four stores for items I needed. I actually walked out of two stores and forgot the same thing twice, sigh! Anyway, it's hard at the holidays to be in a store if you have lost a child. There is a multitude of feelings that become overwhelming as you walk through the aisle's laced with Christmas cheer. Seeing the little children with their families is both glorious or torturous all at the same time. You smile as the kids bump into you as you wipe small tears away at the same time. So I decided to buy myself a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of wine, and head home to put up Christmas. I figured I would tackle the negative with positive. 

I then encountered a situation where I tried to do the right thing but it just didn't work out in my favor and that's okay. Sometimes that's the way life goes. So I found an interesting meme today that made my thought processes fire in all different directions. 

True that sometimes in some situations we just need someone to just listen to us without judgement or opinions. However, let's spin this saying another direction. Sometimes to help a friend all they need to do is listen. Sometimes your true friends are not trying to be your parent, not trying to know it all, but they're just trying to protect you because they know the ultimate outcome. Sometimes your friends who love you dearly can sniff out crazy and unfit people before you may see them. Sometimes we don't want to see the, "he will learn or she will learn the hard way" happen to a good friend. A good friend wants to see you avoid the pain all together. Just my thought for today.