Covid Struggle

The Covid pandemic has been a really weird dream like concept for me. I haven’t known what to believe or how likely I am to get it, how long it lives on different surfaces, etc because we just don’t know enough facts yet.

I have friends who have only left their house twice a month to have groceries deposited into their trunk and I’ve had friends who went from Cedar Point to New York to Disney and back home with no quarantine in between.

I personally have been going to the grocery store once a week, wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, cart wipes, not touching stuff I don’t intend to buy. And going to the fitness boutique gym that props open doors, has you sanitize as soon as you come in, wear a mask to your treadmill which is 6 feet from the next, and wipe it all down and carry your weights back to the rack while wearing your mask.

Point being, I don’t know what precautions make sense these days.

Last week I thought my heart stopped when I received an email saying I had possibly been exposed to COVID-19 from a person I had run with. It seems like everything is a symptom so Nate and I started playing the Russian roulette of is it Covid or allergies?

I learned about the possible exposure 72 hours after the fact, and started looking up testing times. Another 2 days to schedule an appointment and 3-5 days for results that may or may not be accurate? (Fun fact, if you have diarrhea like I did, you’re more likely to have a false negative from the nasal swab. It would require a stool sample which we do not do here in the US.)

It has been a week. I have not had the energy to work out, and am quarantining until I feel better (plus a couple days) I don’t want to chance infecting someone.

I can not begin to tell you how depressed I am from sitting at home, not working out. I’m barely functioning.

Drowning

I hesitate to start this post because it seems so melodramatic even to myself.

I’ve been having stomach problems again. Poor food choices and stress have combined to give me what seems like chronic diarrhea. Is a week long enough to say chronic? It’s gotten to look like cornflakes and I’ve seen enough blood that I can’t deny it’s there. Even to myself.

In any case, I’m eating imodium like it’s my job. Gas-x too. The gas cramps and pressure keep me up at night and make it hard to sit or stand. I don’t want to wear pants because of the pressure but I’m scared to wear a dress in case I can’t make it in time.

Running is pretty much out of the question, but I’m forcing myself to continue with strength training. Made it 3 times this past week, and am pushing myself with (slightly) heavier weights. As much as I enjoy strength training, it doesn’t help my anxiety.

Everyone around me seems to be going into full meltdown mode. Some of it is from my need to be fairly close to a toilet. Some of it is entirely independent of me – mom flipped out on me about a prescription for heart pills. She hasn’t had it for over 2 weeks. Her prescription ran out, the visiting home health aide insists she goes back to her specialist for a refill, but was willing to call in one months worth. Mom said the pharmacy won’t fill it because of Medicare laws even though she’s on Medicaid.

She’s mad at me for not taking the day off work to drive 3 hours to pick her up and take her to a specialist. Stop being so selfish you might be thinking. Then you throw in the fact my brother and his son could barely get her up the stairs into her house, and she hasn’t left since then. And the bedbugs. It’s hard for me to reconcile. I picture having to call the rescue squad to get her into the door, if I could even get her out. Never mind the 6+ hour round trip when I have 3 brothers who either live with or less than 15 minutes away.

There’s other minor things. There always are. But I feel like I’m drowning.

Columbus Marathon

I started out this year with the goal of running my first marathon ever. I was turning 40 in the first bit of October, and the Columbus Marathon was turning 40 in the second bit. It was serendipitous, totally meant to be.

And then life happened. Mom was in and out of the hospital, spending 8 weeks getting around the clock antibiotics for a spinal infection. She was home for a short bit and ended up back in the hospital under a medically induced coma because she was in so much pain from her congestive heart failure.

Nate was looking forward to the holidays for the first time in ages (his father passed away 3 years ago immediately after Thanksgiving and we lost his mom in November of 2017.) I didn’t expect my mom would make it through the the holidays. (These days I’m hopeful, but not taking it for granted.)

The stress of this plus the trips up North made me realize there was no way I could dedicate 6+ hours running on the weekends. I switched to the half, and continued to half ass train for it. It wasn’t pretty, but I was going to make it happen.

I felt like I was starting to come down with something but got the flu shot anyways. And then I ran a ten mile race. I wasn’t sure about it, but I’d convinced a few of my friends to do it because it’s my favorite race. I got super light headed and considered turning around at mile 1.5 for the 5k course, but decided to carry on. It was ugly. I struggled, but I ended up PRing the race by 20 seconds.

And I came down with a cold. Everyone jokes about the man flu or how pathetic men act with a cold, so maybe I should claim that metaphorical man card, because it destroyed my energy levels for 3 weeks.

Which happened to be how long it took to get to the Columbus Half. Even worse than a DNF, I was a DNS.

This is going to stick with me

Right before mom got out of the nursing home she called my brother M screaming and crying that he had to come pick her up, now! And I thought wow, this is terrible. I don’t think anything could be worse than this.

Oh man. I really shouldn’t give life those sorts of opportunities to prove me wrong.

As you know, my brother S told me mom was back in the hospital with congestive heart failure. I kept calling her nurse with no answer, and finally got her on the phone. Did I have her passcode? No….. well no information for me beyond she’s stable, but in critical condition.

What does that even mean?

I called S, no he didn’t have the code with him. He’s at work. M doesn’t answer his phone even though I try multiple times and am crying hysterically as I drive. The night drags on with no answer. I feel very angry and very alone.

Finally morning comes and I drive to Toledo to see her at the hospital and see if I can get some answers. I’m in a fog, this is the first solo trip I’ve made in a while so I’m left with my thoughts. I’m trying not to think. Just autopilot my way through things but I’m so anxious I can’t breathe. I stop in the bathroom to calm down.

I walk in the room, see the nurse, see my mom covered in tubes and a contraption to breathe for her and I start crying hysterically.

They have her under sedation because she can’t breathe on her own. They’re bringing her out of one kind and putting her on another. They tell me they intend to bring her to twilight tomorrow to see if she can breathe on her own with the breathing tube in, but not so awake that she has a panic attack. They have her strapped to the bed so she doesn’t pull the tubes out.

But here’s her code so I can get updates. And I’m welcome to stay.

I do. And I watch her come out from under the one anesthesia and try to climb out of bed which sets off alarms. It’s terrifying to see her so out of it. She doesn’t know where she’s at much less that I’m in the room, she’s just acting out of instinct it seems

The nurses apologize and say that the second sedative they are putting her on has to be administered slowly, that she wishes I didn’t have to see mom like this.

Yeah. Me too.

Family Stuff

I’m sort of thankful to not have a large group of followers on here because I can just get things off my chest without worrying about blowback.

Monday? Tuesday? I don’t know. Earlier this week I got a Facebook message from my mom saying she thought she needed to go to the hospital because her back hurt so bad. This has been happening off and on for a few months, and I’ve encouraged her to talk to someone about it or have it looked at. Her home visiting nurse told her it was muscle related and she needed to stretch and exercise.

My mom is 72. She’s had at least one major heart attack, a few minor strokes, has MS, diabetes, etc. She gave up smoking and made changes to her diet but she will not exercise any more than she’s forced to. Telling her to stretch is like telling me to run a 9 minute mile. Sure it may be in the realm of possible, but it’s unlikely.

They did an xray, a Ct scan, and said it was likely an infection. One of the nurses fed her breakfast on Thursday, so they weren’t able to do testing until Friday. They scraped her spine and took a needle of spinal fluid to test. My mom has two kinds of curvature of the spine so it’s incredibly painful for her to lay on her back on a flat surface or on her stomach, and it’s hard for them to get the anesthesia correct. She was in a lot of pain from the test and couldn’t roll over or stand up without assistance.

They think it’s discitus which affects 1 of 100,000 people. Current plan is IV antibiotics 5 times a day for 39 days and blood tests every 3 days to make sure she’s responding okay. So she’s not going home any time soon and it breaks my heart.