I have been wanting to write out my story of how I got Covid-19 and how my hospital stay and recovery happened.
Having said that, I also want to write about anything else. It’s quite a painful memory, literally resulting in some PTSD flashbacks. But I promised myself I’d soldier through and I do want to share this particular part of the story because it completely applies to the celebratory mood I’m in.
First of all, I am in the midst of celebrating 15 Years in the Blogosphere – it’s my Quinceañera! Well, I would be anyway, if I hadn’t been hit by yet another health curb ball.
On the 1st of October, I had collected videos from friends and filmed myself with my crown and Barbie cake in full celebratory mode when what should happen? The cartilage that attaches and connects my meniscus to my knee blew out, leaving me lame and feeling oh so sorry for myself. Of all the luck!
So, I’ve spent the last two weeks – the ones where I was going to be sharing celebration stories – mostly shlepping from orthopedists to geting MRIs to having multiple visits from the local paramedics to help move me from upstairs to downstairs, but that’s not important right now.
But let me take you back to the night of January 29th, 2021. I had a fever and was struggling to breathe and was being treated at home. It was the pneumonia that seemed the most likely to take me down, but I went to the ICU on Thursday, January 28th where they began aggressively treating the covid infection and the pneumonia. I was getting all the best preventitive drugs. I got plasma and Remdesevir and every breathing aid they could think to help me take deep breaths. It soon became apparent that I would not be breathing well on my own anytime soon.
So they worked on me feverishly – no pun intended – for 48 hours. And I wasnt responding like they’d like. I knew what was coming next and I can’t say I blame them.
The doctors all filed in somberly and the bravest one, said, “Well, Mrs. Darby… the best course for us now is to intubate. We’ll sedate you and put you on a rotisserie bed so we can easily turn you. You won’t completely be in a coma and you’ll be able to recognize sights and sounds.”
This, of course, was my worst fear coming to life. I checked my emotions and my heart and decided that I was really not afraid. It’s moments like this when the rubber meets the road. Did I really know and believe God, or was I afraid to die?
The answer surprised me the most: I was not afraid. To die anyway. I was afraid to suffer. At this point I had been separated from my family for a few days and now it was time to “say my goodbyes.”
As you can imagine that scene was pretty dramatic and I was completely unprepared for what was to come. I was surrounded by a team in hazmat suits wearing helmets with headlights which reminded me of the Doozers from Fraggle Rock, but that’s not important right now. (My sense of humor obviously remained intact.)
“Call your family and talk to them.”
So I did. Adam was impossible to talk to because he couldn’t speak he was weeping so copiously. He was also the one we suspect brought the virus to my door. I do not blame nor have any bad feelings about this. It’s a virus, after all. Next, I talked with Amy who had been praying and praying and was convinced I would survive this ordeal. She wasn’t worried.
“I love you, mom. You’re going to be great!”
I really wasn’t prepared for saying something intensely meaningful to each one. Besides this was NOT going to be my deathbed scene.
Eric reminded me that I had been a wonderful wife. “I’ll be wonderful again very soon! Just watch me!”
Maybe it was the intensity of the scene that made me crack uncomfortable jokes. Well, that was my entire arsenal so that’s what I had to work with. I think it made me a much more sympathetic patient and the team felt more connected to me.
But I still had to do the dreaded “Goodbye Scene.”
When I talked with Jon, who was also crying big fat tears, I pointed out that my nurse, Lena, was very beautiful and I introduced them over FaceTime.
Jon went on to tell me later that that was such a typical mom move and that had I died, he would have remembered me and my sense of humor fondly. (Shut up . I know.)
Then it was Lucy’s turn. Right before our conversation, they asked, “Do you have a DO NOT RESUSCITATE ORDER?”
ME: “No. No. No. No. NO. Let’s clear a few things up: YOUR JOB IS TO RESUSCITATE ME AT ALL COST. YOU MOVE HEAVEN AND EARTH TO KEEP ME ALIVE. ARE WE CLEAR?”
Hazmat Team: “Yes, Mrs. Darby.”
Me: “Now each one of you take a moment to introduce yourself. I want to know my hazmat team.”
And so they did. One after the other, I had a moment of looking into their eyes and humanizing myself to them.
Then I got my Lucy on the phone.
“Mom.” There was a strange urgency in her voice. “You can’t die. I’m pregnant. I just found out. Nobody knows.”
Well, you can imagine my shock and surprise! “Guys! My daughter is pregnant and I MUST MEET THIS GRANDCHILD!”
“That’s why you’re keeping me alive.” and then I shouted – SHOUTED!! – to The God Who Is There: “I CAN’T DIE RIGHT NOW! I HAVE TO LIVE. KEEP ME ALIVE TO MEET THE PROMISED CHILD.”
My hazmat team gave me space to pray LOUDLY and now that we knew each other, they were more connected to my desire to live.
They strapped me into a rotisserie bed and put me into a deep twilight sleep. I didn’t feel the intubation at all.
And miraculously, I was in perfect peace.
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~Philipians 4:7
That verse came alive at that very moment.
‘Lucy, I promise I will live.” And I meant it. I knew in my knower that I was going to be ok.
The head hazmat guy promised to hold my hand when they turned me. And he did.
The hospital staff was patient and kind and in the windowless/timeless halls of the covid ward they played salsa music for me. Eric would talk to me every day, even though he himself was suffering not just with Covid, but with worry for his wife with the low oxygen.
I’m going to stop this portion of the narrative here. Mostly because once I went under I was having cartoon dreams and was “traveling” lots of places. That is really another story for another day.
Today, I want to focus on The Child.
I have a form of long covid. It has taken me a while to learn to walk and use my arms. But the moment Lucy went into labor, I stayed awake too. THIS was the Child of the Promise. I couldn’t wait to meet this kid.
Maxwell David-John Jackson came into the world on September 26th and was placed in my arms just a few days later.
The Child of the Promise.
I have so much to live for and am fighting back tooth and nail.
Also, DO NOT RESSUSCITATE IS SOOO NOT MY STYLE.
Friends, meet the promised child, my newest grandboy, Max.
All things are new and God is good.
I’m still struggling to walk, but I can see light at the end of the tunnel.
I wonder if Max is also the name of my guardian angel? (Makes you think…)
Let the celebrations commence!