Mid-week maladies, or…How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Covid & Get On With Life

Last Wednesday, I begain to feel poorly–not really “sick” in the traditional sense, butrather, simply run down, weak, & overly tired. By later that afternoon, the symptoms had shifted toward chest congestion & some slight pain in my chest. By 5PM, the pain was continuous, with a little guy inside my chest wall shooting arrows outward. By 7PM, he’d gotten outside, likely increased in size & was then shooting the arrowss back at me. They arrived in sync with my breathing. Wife Marti was nervous, wondering (perhaps even convinced) whether or not I was having a heart attack. She called 911. I learned it is now standard Mecklenburg County procedure to send TWO ambulances, along with a small utility firetruck on all calls. So we had 12 folks in the yard, along with eight in the house, going over me. Their niftly little laptop EKG machine produced a strip of paper which the girl reading it did not like. “Com’n, you’re going,” she said, & basically before I had any further input, I was on a gurney & loaded into the ambulance. I was wearing a tee shirt, boxer shorts, & nothing else. University hospital is literally three miles from our home, so we were there quickly. In the parking lot, I was told I had Covid. They offered Marti a test, but told her it could only be read two days later. While that certainly seemed odd (okay, let’s just say it–pretty stupid to me), there was not room or time for much discussion. I was whisked away to the ER, where there was an extreme shortage of rooms. Indeed, the waiting room was mobbed with folks wrapped in blankets, waiting to be seen. Having been brought in by ambulance, I was seen, & seemingly under medication within minutes, receiving the same medicine we’d been hearing had been given to the President. So began an interesting week’s worth of treatment.

I spent three days in that ER room. On the fourth day, I was shuttled up to the fourth floor, almost all COVID patient cases, where I resided for three more days. I did not see anyone on a ventilator, however, for which we can all be happy. In a word, the COVID medicine worked wonders for me, there’s no other words to describe it. The stabbing chest pain went away in less than three hours, & my overall feelings seemed to surge right back to normal. Blood work, & constant monitoring of blood pressure, temperature, breathing abilities all indicated that while I was indeed “getting better” or improving, my condition was still serious. By the afternoon of that fourth day, the little oxygen tube had rubbed my nostrils raw, & I still have sore skin behind both ears from the damn mask, a constant reminder your life is seemingly more fragile than perhaps you think it is.

Now at home, Marti & I will keep our distances from each other, for a while. My contagious level is supposedly considerably weakened, & I will not pass the disease along to her. We are using the home testkits for monitoring.

The nurses took wonderful care of me. Truly merciful angels, really. And almost all of them have had the illness themselves by now. University, while a small hospital, is under-staffed. Everyone explained they have been mobbed like this for two years. And not just with COVID necessarily, but many patients who simply delayed procedures at the beginning of the pandemic, & are now coming forward. And nearly everyone mentioned the increasing crime rates. Despite all this overly serious & sobering news, I got a lot of thinking done during my week of lying there (no phone, laptop, et cetera) & not only wish to thank the people who looked after me, but ask that you say a prayer or two on their behalf. They deserve it, that’s for sure!


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