A Winter to Forget

December arose, a fever and body aches,
Was this it?

The clinic colorless,
White floors, counters, and walls, seemingly sterile,
Another person waiting, sitting far away, face covered,
A dystopian science fiction movie,
The Army of 12 Monkeys, or I Am Legend?
Then my turn,
A long, thin cotton swab in my brain,

Ten days of solitude begins,
My wife and kids distant,
Waiting for my results, three days of uncertainty, three days!
Spraying everything I touch,
Everything I breath on, with Lysol,
The last, sacred bottle left on Earth,
Fighting my illness with fluids, vitamins, medicines,
Determined to wash it away quickly, confident.

Headaches I’ve never experience before,
Sharp pains shooting through my temples,
Needles stabbing the back of my skull,
Advil and Tylenol serve no purpose,
My eyes sensitive,
Wincing,
Wincing,
WINCING.

Some nausea, diarrhea,
Eating nothing but apples, oranges, blueberries, and milk,
Sometimes soup,
The only foods I have an appetite for,
The cold honeycrisps taste so good.

Three days passed: POSITIVE,
My mind racing,
The body aches and fever gone, replaced with tightness in my chest,
Faint, at first, annoying,
Like a frog stuck in my throat, bolus in my esophagus.

Tightness now constriction,
My lungs pressed down, short of breath,
I can no longer taste the blueberries, the honeycrisps,
I can’t smell the tomato soup,
What is happening to me?

My heart beating faster, struggling, fighting, skipping beats,
Trying to sleep, but I’m restless, awake, alone,
Embracing my Lord and Savior, praying:
Please fight the virus,
Please no doctors,
Please no 911,
Please no ICUs and ventilators,
Expel the devil!

Anxiety mixed with fear,
No one to hold or embrace when I need it most,
My wife, my kids, always more than six feet away,
A masked prisoner in my own house.

I’m crying,
Tears of loneliness?
Or fear?
Maybe both.

Time is the only medicine, the only known cure,
But it’s not moving fast enough,
The perpetual streaming of the TV, the mindless shows,
And the news, nothing but death and negativity,
Many people dying every minute,
What is wrong with this world?
What ever happened to good news?

Googling for answers,
How long does this disease last?
What are the normal symptoms?
But no one knows anything,
The same shit told in different ways,
No positive outcomes,
No known hope.

Day six, my baby girl tests positive,
Fever, headache, but that’s all,
Isolated together, no longer alone,
I must stay strong and take care of her!
Lord, please loosen satan’s grip!

My daughter is feeling better,
Relieved,
I can faintly smell the soup,
I can now taste the apple, I think,
Was I shedding the virus?
I must be, but no!
Why is my heart still racing?
Why can I still feel the devil squeezing my lungs?

Ten days of isolation, ended,
My daughter six more,
Washing my hands, scrubbing my hair, cleaning my clothes,
I hold my wife, I embrace my son,
So so careful not to spread my baby girls’ germs,
I missed them more than words could say,
I cry.

The air outside is fresh, cool, and wonderful,
More tears, again,
I’m grateful to be alive, grateful for air,
Grateful to God.

Then extreme fatigue, more restless, labored sleep,
My heart still fighting, my chest still tight,
Could this be myocarditis?
Will my lungs be damaged forever?
What are the long term effects for the virus?
Google doesn’t know,
I pray.

My heart beat is now normal, sort of,
Less pressure on my lungs, sort of,
But still out of breath at the top of the steps,
I rest, I lay, I feel old,
Not healing fast enough.

Four weeks turns to three months,
My lungs nearly healed, I feel better, I think,
Afraid to exercise, need to be safe,
Need to build up my strength.

I’m a changed person,
Appreciate life more than ever,
Appreciate air more than words can say,
Appreciate my kids yelling and screaming,
Appreciate the messy house, the dirty dishes, the landry,
Appreciate the rain, snow, sunlight, and storms,
Appreciate my job and working from home,
Appreciate my shitty RAV4 and its rusty wheel wells,
Appreciate the smell of coffee,
Appreciate the taste of every meal,
Appreciate my health,
Appreciate everything God has given me,
Appreciate that I’m finished writing this, so I no longer have to recall the horrid memories.

COVID-19, burn in hell.

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