"You look great!"

"You look great!"

Long Covid can be deceiving. One moment you look great the next barely able to write an email. Wrapping our minds around these long-haul effects of covid is so difficult.

On Halloween our Rotary Club participated in a trick or treating tent for a community event with Imua Family Services. My kids thought up the child friendly Super Hero theme. My daughter immediately decided we would be Wonder Women, the mother and daughter duo while my son was ready to be spider man.  Several friends commented isn't that who you are every day, juggling what life throws at you. I also associated with Wonder Women during Covid when I was at work as I would change my clothes from street clothes into scrubs. Then back to street clothes to return home as a mom.

Living with long covid has challenged the wonder woman image for sure. There are some days where my bed is my refuge even after 5 months. And others where I am in fair condition, and I can manage some household tasks.

In early September, when I attempted to return to the hospital performing my chaplain duties folks noticed I had lost weight in addition to my 3-month absence. I half-jokingly shared I was on the extended Covid cleanse. In a way it was a cleanse/sabbatical from my pre covid life. One nurse in particular noticed something was different. In our greeting over lost time, she mentioned something to me. She said yes, I noticed you walking through the unit the other day and felt something different I did not want to pry to respect your privacy. But after telling me what has happened, I understand why your energy is off. I thought maybe a death or something in your family. I replied, you could say I am grieving what I was and the heaviness of covid that I carried around these past 2 years. This ICU nurse and I worked side by side in the ICU around some very critical cases. She knew exactly what I was talking about. She encouraged me to take care of myself. She said we will always be here, but you come first right now.

This example is just a snippet of what I encountered in my attempt to work. Prior to the attempt many folks assumed I was back to work because was I am out and about mostly looked normal. There have been moments where I have an appointment and I have to go out and then folks see the other side of the coin of this long covid. The flip side is the struggle to compute numbers, making decisions, talking, walking and sometimes even eating. The low appetite seems to be a constant in this journey.  When I have energy, I make sure I eat to balance out when it is low, and food does not appeal to me. More on this energy process in a future blog!

I attended a teacher conference for my daughter the other week. It was the week after the Halloween festivities. I was really struggling with the brain fog and fatigue to the point of not being able to drive due to low reflexes and weakness walking around. I was not going to let this stop me and so I threw on a Blue Ginger dress and a little make up and my husband and I went off.  My husband drove and I sat calmly in the passenger seat wondering what am I doing? We parked and I walked gingerly to the classroom. When we entered the classroom, I could see the teacher wonder what is up with this momma? As we engaged some adrenaline stopped up as I was excited for my daughter. I was grateful I was able to be present and participate. Amazing how these symptoms can move from one part of the pendulum to another.

I was sick with a cold of some sorts last week putting me down for 4 days delaying my writing and other intentions. In the short of it my body was listening and said stop and fully rest, my mind struggles but eventually said OK I surrender. With Thanksgiving here today I am grateful for that halt. It is all about redirecting just as when GPS takes us on some long round about path to get somewhere our bodies can do the same. We do eventually arrive at a destination either where we intended or a surprise location. Surrender to the travel my friends!

My advice to anyone is remember looks and the path can be deceiving. Someone could be struggling deeply with covid or anything in their heart or mind. Again listen, be present, and be kind to each other and yourself. You may be the person or with the person most needed in that moment.