Life Update in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic

In early January of 2020, I lost count of how many bloggers who wrote posts that said 2019 wasn’t a good year for them, how they were glad to see it go, and and how they were looking forward to 2020.  I can’t help but wonder what these same people are thinking now.

I’ve said for years now that 2013 was a year full of trials for my family and me.  Just six days into that year was when a massive sinkhole suddenly opened in our backyard on a day with torrential rainfall.  As I stood at my bedroom window watching the ground fall away, I wondered if it was going to take our house, our cars, and even our lives.  I felt a fear like I’ve never known in my life.  And in the early stages of dealing with our sinkhole, this story came out of Tampa Florida, greatly adding to our fear.

In March of that same year, we got word that our youngest son who was attending college in another state, was very sick with a severe case of mononucleosis.  He had an enlarged liver, an enlarged spleen, enlarged cervical lymph nodes, extreme fatigue, high fever, chills, bilateral ear infections, and an inability to swallow due to severe tonsillitis.  And if that wasn’t enough, he developed a rash from head to toe due to the penicillin antibiotic the university clinic doctor had put him on (thinking at first his symptoms were due to strep when in fact they were due to mono).  I learned that penicillin antibiotics given during mono will cause a rash (did you know that?  I didn’t).  I learned just how much a mother can worry and just how much a mother can pray.

My son ended up having to do a medical withdrawal from all his classes that semester  which was a bit of a financial strain, but the important thing was that he recovered – very slowly – but he recovered.  And then my best friend died on July 1st of that year in a tragic car accident.  She was buried on the Fourth of July as relentless, soaking rain beat down on a multitude of colorful umbrellas belonging to friends who had gathered at her graveside to say goodbye on the most dismal of days.  And just when I didn’t think it could get any worse, in August, my 19 1/2 year old cat developed an aggressive tumor in his lower jaw bone .  I had to make what was the most difficult decision I’ve ever had to make and that was to end his suffering.  The dreaded euthanasia decision.  I experienced a grief like no other.  There were other very personal and stressful things that happened that year that I won’t bother to mention, but you get the picture… it was a difficult year and one full of trials.  I can honestly say, for the first time in my life, I understood fully what full blown anxiety felt like. I reached a point where I no longer wanted to get out of bed in the morning.  I didn’t think I would ever again see a year as bad as the year 2013 was.

Now here we are in 2020 and I have to say, 2013 is paling in comparison!  Hubby, a nurse who does 12 hour shifts, has been down and out with hip and/or back pain and was getting to the point where he couldn’t get through a 12 hour shift.  You see, he took a bad fall at work at the end of December of 2017, that sent him to the ER for progressive knee swelling and pain.  X-rays showed a lot of joint effusion and swelling but no fractures were seen.  Over the next few days, the swelling worsened as did the pain.  Hubby knew something was amiss, could feel crepitation, and suspected a fractured patella.  When he was finally able to get in to see an orthopedist a week later, they repeated the X-rays, and found that his patella was indeed fractured.  The orthopedist drained 45 ccs of blood off his knee joint and fitted him with a hinged extension splint to wear for several weeks.  His knee healed but ever since, he’s had hip and back pain.

Hubby in the extension splint. Christmas 2017

He said it’s as if having to walk around with his right leg in full extension threw something off and his hip has never been the same.  Months later, he had more X-rays and an MRI, both of which showed arthritis and a bulging disc in his back and arthritis in both hips.  He was sent for physical therapy and was put on a prescription NSAID.  This past January, the pain got considerably worse.  February came, and he went back to his PCP and told him   he couldn’t work his 12 hour shifts anymore due to the pain.  The doctor  examined him and sent him for radiographs again which showed a considerable worsening of his right hip.  He was referred to an orthopedic surgeon who told us (and showed us) just how bad his hip was – there was NO cartilage in the right hip joint and hence no joint space, so he was walking around bone on bone.  There was a large bone cyst in the upper femur where the joint fluid was being forced down in the bone, and there were 2 large bone spurs.  The surgeon discussed conservative care but admitted we were already doing most of that (aspirin, NSAIDS, physical therapy, resting the joint) and it obviously wasn’t helping.  He said he could give him a steroid shot in the hip joint but admitted in all honestly, that it might give him maybe 10 days of pain relief and then he’d be right back to being in pain.  So it was agreed that a total hip replacement was in order.  My husband asked if they could do the surgery the following week.  He was tired of the pain and he wanted it over with!  But the surgeon was getting ready to go out of town and so the soonest the surgery scheduler could schedule his surgery was 3 1/2 weeks out on March 23rd.  And so the plan was to rest at home while awaiting surgery, then return to work 6-8 weeks after surgery.

In early February, we lost our dear next door neighbor unexpectedly after he had complications after heart surgery.  He was the best neighbor one could ever have and we are mourning his loss and miss him deeply.

And then the Nashville tornadoes hit.

AND THEN COVID-19 HIT. 

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

Needless to say, due to COVID-19, hubby’s surgery, and all other elective surgeries, were cancelled.  Though he totally understood WHY his surgery was being cancelled, it’s been hard.  They rescheduled his hip replacement for April 15th but warned him it may be cancelled then too.  And of course it was.  For now, it has been rescheduled for mid May, but in all honesty, we don’t see it happening then either.   He hasn’t had a paycheck since February since the short term disability people mistakenly had him going back to work after the first cancellation (even though he has told them repeatedly that he is no longer able to work due to pain).  They told him he would have to provide a letter from the doctor saying he was not able to work.  The doctor provided that letter last week but then they said that will have to be sent to a nurse for evaluation and that will take 2-3 more business days.  Then yesterday he found out his short term disability was approved but only through the day before.  So he’s having to start all over and was told the doctor, who just wrote a note last week, will need to write another one.  How people who don’t have money put away in savings survive something like this is beyond me.  The red tape and all the hoops you have to jump through is just crazy.  They keep wanting a date saying when he can go back to work but how can we give them that date when we’re not even sure when his surgery will be performed?  He was on the phone with them for hours yesterday trying to get it all straightened out to no avail.

We’re at home sheltered in place and we’re waiting.  I’ve felt the old anxiety I felt in 2013 return with a vengeance.   I had to quit reading the news and watching the news.  It was paralyzing me.  It’s bad enough out there without the media trying to scare us to death. I’ve had blog paralysis and just have not been able to focus enough to sit down and write or even read many blogs.  I consider myself an avid reader but until just this week, I haven’t even been able to concentrate or focus on reading fiction.  I have continued reading my devotionals, which in all honestly have been a saving grace and helped to calm my fears.  We’re having groceries delivered now and we are not even visiting family (and that is hard but as it should be).  I’ve been trying to do different cleaning projects, mainly cleaning out closets and drawers and was slowly working on cleaning the basement (until the dust down there gave me the worst cough I’ve ever had which forced me to take a break from that).  And as luck would have it, I somehow injured my hip or back (I really don’t know which).  With all the cleaning came a lot of bending over and squatting and I injured something.  Walking has been very painful.  Going to the doctor is not an option for me right now.  I’m resting it and using NSAIDS and ice.  It’s better.  The pain has given me a much better understanding of the pain my husband has been going through these past few months and I understand just what he means now when he said he barely could make it back to his truck after a 12 hour shift, that at one point, he thought he  might have to crawl to the parking garage.

Our oldest son came home to check on his feeble, hip disabled parents, and to help out where he can.  He’s single and was self isolating and teleworking from his home in another state and so now he’s teleworking from here for a while.  I feel better having him here and it’s sure lifted my spirits.

Life goes on and trails are still a part of this life, even during coronavirus, which may end up being the biggest trial of them all.  A dear friend of mine had an outpatient elective surgery on March 20th, had severe complications, and found herself fighting for her life in the ICU unit.  I’ve been praying about as hard as one can pray for that dear sweet friend of mine, who I love like a sister.  She’s now at home so any of you prayer warriors out there who can pray for her healing, I’d sure appreciate it.  I got word 2 weeks ago that a childhood friend of mine had passed away and that news brought such a flood of sadness, but also a flood of happy memories.  We were majorettes together in high school and we had some fun times growing up together. Yes, life is hard right now, but God is good and all His ways are good.  Of that I am convinced.

Image by Myriam Zilles from Pixabay

So that’s a not-so-short update of my life during coronavirus.  I wish good health for you all.  Stay safe.

Gail 

About Gail

I am a wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend, veterinarian, and wanna be writer. I love nature and animals of all kinds, music, cooking, and spending time with my family.
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4 Responses to Life Update in the Midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic

  1. enitsirk24 says:

    The anxiety of it all is understandable. May God wipe out this Corona Virus and may your husband be able to have the needed surgery and may your body heal naturally. Peace to you all, my Friend.

  2. Oh Gail! I’m so sorry to hear of these tribulations. If it’s any comfort at all, my b.i.l. has been going through the same problems dealing with people for his back since August. He too is in the industry as a wound care specialist. The red tape shouldn’t be as complicated as they make it. On a good note, people I know that have had hip replacement are better than ever. So best of luck to your hubby! I hope he gets his surgery as soon as possible.
    On a different topic, I was watching “The Zoo” last night. It’s a show about the Bronx zoo. They had a message spot at the end where they said one of their tigers had tested positive for Covid-19. Others were showing symptoms but they weren’t tested because they’d have to go under anesthesia. They said the tigers have gotten through it without problems.

    • Gail says:

      We have a lot of faith in the hip replacement surgeon. He did a total hip replacement on my FIL just one year ago (April of 2019). My FIL was 87 and did amazingly well. I had heard about the Bronx zoo tiger testing positive. The AVMA mentioned it in their last update also. I was glad to hear that they all seem to be recovering.

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