It’s hard to write about something you don’t want to write about.
Over and over I heard this in my head when I start to write: “No one cares, Lisa. No one cares.”
And maybe no one does care about the time last year when I was in the hospital with Covid and I felt closer to God than I ever had before or since, but I’m going to write about it anyhow.
For the last couple of weeks, I have been thinking a lot about how there was a time I thought I wouldn’t be here to enjoy the smallest joys in life.
I’ve been finding myself stopping in the middle of a frustrating moment with my child or pet or husband and taking a deep breath and letting it out again, my shoulders relaxing as I remember how lucky I am to be here with them, enjoying life.
When you think you might never come home again, you find yourself noticing the simplest things and smiling. You stop on your way in to the house after Thanksgiving dinner with your parents and look in the kitchen window and watch your daughter and your cat and your husband and smile.
You tip your head back and you look up at the sky and just sit for a few minutes in the silence, grateful for your feet on the ground and the breeze on your cheek, even if it is a cold winter breeze.
I’ve been interrupted, distracted, and thwarted every time I’ve tried to write this post.
I’ve typed, deleted, typed and deleted again.
I’ve reworded, taken it apart and put it back together again and then I deleted it all again.
Apparently, this post is something someone doesn’t want me to write, which is why I’m going to write it anyhow.
When I’m done, I won’t like how I wrote it and I’ll want to rewrite it again, or maybe even delete it, but I’m not going to. I’m writing this while the chaos of my house is going on around me and it may not make sense, but I’m writing it, posting it and hoping it encourages someone, shows them that God is with us in the small and big moments, even when we feel like he’s not.
On this day last year I was admitted to the hospital with Covid after my oxygen dropped. I didn’t feel like my oxygen was low while I had Covid. I was tired and weak, but I could take deep breaths. While I had Covid I read about oxygen dropping and some people not noticing it because of something called silent hypoxia.
I had been reading too much about all the bad that can happen, quite frankly, partly because I’d had a fever for eight days and couldn’t get it to go away and partly because I was worried about the rest of my family.
My pulse ox was lower than it should be on the morning of Thanksgiving, but not super low. Just not coming up past 95, which I had read could mean that things might be getting bad. An ambulance ride and a visit to the ER confirmed my oxygen was even lower than what my home pulse ox was saying. I was hooked up to oxygen and transferred to a hospital 45 minutes north. I was relieved when I was transferred to that hospital because originally they had thought they might need to transfer me three hours south.
I knew if I was 45 minutes north my family would be able to visit me. Three hours? Yeah, that would have been a lot harder.
In the ER I was started on an anti-viral that would keep me in the hospital for five days. I didn’t want to do it or stay in the hospital, especially when it looked like my oxygen was responding well to a very small amount of supplemental oxygen.
Oddly, a sense of peace settled over me as if I knew God was going to be with me. I won’t say I was totally calm the entire time. I did wonder if I was going to die, but the nurses were very reassuring and my stats were doing well.
I started out my stay in the hospital in a private room but was later moved to a room with a roommate when they needed the room for a male patient.
I detailed a lot of this last year in a post I shared shortly after I was released from the hospital, but during my stay I found myself listening to worship music and praying not only for myself but for the woman next to me who was in much worse shape. There was more than once I thought the woman wouldn’t make it. At one point I stood and walked to her bed, laid my hand on her shoulder and prayed for her while she fitfully slept, fever and exhaustion overwhelming her.
The nurses and respiratory therapists had been trying to encourage her to use a cpap and had also been increasing her oxygen while decreasing mine.
When I laid my hand on her and prayed, the numbers on the monitor began to rise. Her oxygen level had been in the 60s at one point ,then the 80s and as I prayed it rose to 98 and the woman was able to rest some.
The night I was preparing to leave I was being given my last dose of antiviral when my blood pressure rose. The nurse in charge didn’t want to let me go home, which was a devastating thought to me. I knew that I needed to be home with my family to heal. I began to panic, which, of course, wasn’t helping my blood pressure.
I silently asked God why he was doing this to me. Why was he having this happen when my blood pressure had been doing so well while I was in the hospital?
My roommate was sitting on the edge of her bed behind the curtain, breathing hard, waiting for a nurse to come and help her to use the portable toilet next to her bed.
I felt like I needed to pray for her, tall her how she could talk to Jesus any time she needed to. I felt weird even thinking about it. I am not a bold Christian. I am not someone who walks up to someone and asks them if they know God. I had already prayed with the woman a couple of times and she had told me she appreciated it. This time I prayed over her and told her how she could talk to Jesus and ask him into her life while we waited to see if my blood pressure would come down.
It didn’t come down but the nurse finally agreed to let me go home if I would monitor it at home, call my primary care doctor the following day and return if it continued to rise. I agreed to all of this and was sent home.
Relying on Jesus to be with me when no one else could was what got me through those five days and it was what got me through the next two months while I recovered.
This Thanksgiving I couldn’t stop a giddy feeling bubbling up inside me as I remembered where I was last year. Before dinner I hugged my son several times, telling him how happy I was to be here with him, with the whole family.
I wished I could explain to them what it feels like to be handed your life back when you think you’re going to lose it. I wish I could explain it better even now. I wish I could convey to anyone who reads this what it is like to be dragged to the bottom of an ocean and just when you think you can’t hold on another moment you’re dragged up to the surface, bursting from the water, taking a deep breath and feeling the sun warm against your skin again.
I wish I could capture in a bottle that feeling of thinking you’re life will never be the same and then realizing that it never being the same isn’t actually a bad thing because it’s going to be even better now that you have been shown what it means to live again.
For the last year I have had many moments of fear. I have had many moments of questioning if I will catch Covid again and if my lungs were damaged or if my oxygen will drop again. I have questioned what is wrong with my health or what my future will mean. Each time the fear hits me, though, I try my best to remember the peace I felt those five days in the hospital. I remember a voice I’ve heard more than once saying, “I saved you then, I’ll do it again.
I can’t stop the feeling that I’ve been given a gift, that God yanked me from my comfort on Thanksgiving Day of 2021, tossed me into one my biggest nightmares, held me close while there, then ushered me home and whispered, “Never forget how I was there for you in the hospital. It’s exactly how I am there for you now.”
Thanksgiving Day is to remember what we are thankful for. How fitting that God gave me an experience that will never let a Thanksgiving go by without me remembering one of the biggest reasons I have to be thankful.