On the other side of Covid
I’ve been writing about surviving this pandemic from as soon as we locked down in mid-March. I’ve been following the medical research, watching stats, trying to determine the best way to protect ourselves. But this virus has gotten in the back door. As I write this, both my uncle and mother-in-law are in the hospital with Covid. My uncle is dying. Priest gave him last rites. I just connected with him energetically to ease his transition. No one can be with him. He will die alone. Or if god willing, a compassionate nurse will hold his hand. Like my uncle, my mother-in-law was in a skilled nursing facility. The virus spread so fast that the staff used one wing for covid patients, one for those with negative test results. Since her oxygen was dropping, my mother-in-law got transferred to UCLA. I spent all day on the phone with her various doctors as I’m her conservator. Her palliative care physician speculated that residential facilities are the next wave of covid. Yes, it’s hard to maintain social distancing. Even for the staff. Who probably were the source of infection in both facilities since family has not been able to visit for over six weeks. Even if you wear a mask to go buy your essentials, if those around you aren’t wearing masks – well, you’re protecting them but they’re not protecting you. I’ve been avoiding going on essential runs but gave in a few days ago to help my husband. Costco was great – 90% of people were masked and keeping six feet apart. Lowe’s on the other hand was pathetic. I had a bad feeling as we made our way to the thermostats – too crowded, hardly anyone wearing masks, not even the staff. By then we were between a rock and a hard place. Having to get through the unconscious crowd anyhow. I wrapped us in white light and prayed for the best. Now I’m waiting for test results – on my own covid nasal swab. Man, that’s a painful procedure. Can’t wait until they perfect saliva testing. In the meantime, I’m in isolation from my family. At the beginning of this pandemic we set up our travel trailer to be the isolation room. It’s a comfortable space. And I can go outside and sit under the trees far from anyone else. But still, it’s lonely. My husband wonders what they’ll do without me. For two weeks? Or is he afraid I’ll succumb to this virus? I can hear my grandbaby laughing in the house. My daughter FaceTimes me. The baby acts surprised to see me in the phone. It’s usually her mommy at work. I miss them just 50 feet away. My firstborn calls worried. Already grieving their uncle, fearful for their grandmother, and now worried about me. I’ll be fine, I reassure him. Just four nights ago, my dead mother and grandmother visited me in a dream. Nana assured me that my immunity was strong – it’s in your DNA. Mom instructed me to take some of my business responsibilities off my plate and give them to my trusted assistant. We talked about what’s happening in our family, my businesses, the world right now. All will be well, they said. I woke up reassured. Two days later, I was achy, nauseous, had a terrible headache, and the chills. We have thermometers at the ready – looking for signs of covid. My daughter’s an ICU nurse so it’s just a matter of time. So I took my temperature. Darn. I had a fever. And it didn’t go down with meds. And I just kept feeling worse. So my assistant and my husband insisted I call my primary care doctor- who sent me to the local ER for testing. I was evaluated in a tent outside the emergency room. What a strange experience. Expedient, but strange. Like we’re at war. Perhaps we are. With a bit of crowned RNA. So now I have time to think. In between long bouts of restless sleep. Have I done everything I need to do if I become too ill? Will my family survive? Will my business be ok? Will life go on without me? And I’m just talking about two weeks of quarantine. Because I’m not done. Nana assured me. Nana also instructed me to discover the strength and wisdom in my maternal DNA. So that is where I shall start. Diving into my own DNA. This is my own mini pause amidst The Great Pause. And being a menopausal woman, I know well how to pause. How to take time to reflect on life. To find the beauty in the moment. To plant seeds of hope for the future. I’m made for this. Been preparing all my life. I literally did not see myself after 50. Nope. Not dead. But somewhere in limbo. It was the Pause I envisioned in my youth. That long dark portal between motherhood and cronehood. For me, it’s lasted nearly ten years. And the long dark portal has been a fertile place indeed. What I’ve grown in this last decade is well-rooted within me. Because all the seeds have been planted in the compost of lessons learned in my youth. Lots of tilling has been done. And a firing of sorts. Here’s where the hot flashes have been truly power surges. As I’ve transmuted the lead of my regrets, disappointments, grief into the gold of hope, beauty and joy. My dear uncle passed last night. He’s finally at peace. We will be moving my aunt into the residence with my father. There will be grieving and loving and holding space for a new way of being without him. And in this moment I finish this writing, I hear my grandbaby laugh – she’s awake. It’s morning. The birds are singing. It’s a beautiful day. I’m back in the house sitting beside my husband having coffee. My test results were negative. The covid scare is over… for now. Love and Light, Deborah Maragopoulos, FNP.