By Ami (Gypsie) Offenbacher-Ferris
From poetisatinta – two challenges, Fandango’s One-Word Challenge being “dogged” and Linda’s is “surviving” (or a derivative of the words) see the links below, here is my poem:-
The COVID-19 Monster attacked me early morning of January 3 this year, with a sore throat. I thought, oh, I’ve caught a cold. Bummer, but no big deal. I’m immunocompromised, so unable to receive the vax to end all vaxes, since it might kill me. Didn’t much like the odds, so self-isolated, wore masks, washed my hands and tried to eat, reasonably well. Missed Christmas with my children and grand-children but realized in the end, it would be worth it.
By two o’clock the same day, I started to hurt. Really hurt. Bone deep, whole body muscle cramping ache. Check my glucose levels, being a Type 2 Diabetic and a young sixty-three years old and they were elevated but not alarmingly.
At six o’clock I had began shivering, fever out of control at 103.9. I either had the flu again (I had it about six weeks prior) or … IT had found me despite my best efforts.
I drove myself to my local ER where they immediately administered two different COVID tests. Both came up positive. They administered IV fluids, antibiotics, steroids and Tylenol for the fever, and sent me home with the instructions everyone has either read or heard about. Self-isolate, stay hydrated, eat and rest. Follow up with your doctor, which I did. Meds prescribed, picked up, home again and in such horrendous pain I dreamed of slicing my muscles out of my body to gain relief.
I woke up several nights later drenched in sweat. Shivering again. Fever climbed back up over 102. Got into the bathtub and started coughing. Coughed so hard I lost my breath and my lungs went into spasm. I could not get a breath in, they were like tight vice grips around my chest stating, nope, not going to do that again girlie, you are on your own.
Wrapped in a towel, I yanked open the back door and let the frozen night bathe my face and nose in clean, crisp air. My lungs relented, allowing the frigid air to enter and soothe their wounded membranes.
Clothes on, unable to drive now, I called for an ambulance. Wonderful people. Talked to me, gave me oxygen, assured me I was ok and took me back to my local ER.
Several hours later I’m diagnosed with COVID-19 Pneumonia. More IV fluids, more steroids, more antibiotics and an inhaler later and I was discharged with the same instructions as before, and follow up with doctor. Twenty dollar cab ride and I’m back home alone, staring the Monster in the face.
Days and nights of literally forcing myself to breathe. My SpO2 Oxywatch from Walgreens fluctuated from 92% to 97%. I gave in, phoned for ambulance exhausted.
They came, they assessed, they left. Slight fever, O2 levels within good range. Hospitals closed due to over-fill. Rest, stay hydrated, eat and call if anything changes. Follow up with doctor. Each time I followed up with my doctor, I was told to call for ambulance if I got worse.
More days later, unsure of how many but my text lights up. It’s my Women’s Writer’s group. Where am I? I never don’t just not show up or call, text. This is my one outing I allow myself, in mask and seated over six feet away from each other.
I honestly remember having a conscious thought that I needed to let them know I was sick and wouldn’t make it this month. I thought I did. I meant to do so but, I must’ve thought I’d done so, when I had not.
Upon hearing the news, the subsequent hospital visits, etc. My lovely group took action, even though most are at least forty minutes away from me. Within two hours I had bags of groceries, H2O, snacks and a hot bowl of soup in my hand. Not only that, but I have two very furry beasts, so the floor was covered in loose molting fur and it had been vacuumed up completely.
With a full tummy, meds taken and feeling loved, I fell into a pretty restful sleep for several hours. Until the coughing started again. Coughing so violently that I covered myself, my clothes, my bedsheets, my linens in urine. Even my mattress was soaked through the memory pad mattress cover. Fever was back up. Monster had let me have a short respite and was back with a vengeance.
Short, tight breaths to take in oxygen while not disturbing the Monster overmuch. Check O2 levels, stable at 92% but I feel horrendous. Into a steaming bath to get my lungs to release and clean the stink from my body but nothing too long, can’t exacerbate the fever. So weak. Head for recliner with clothes in hand, too weak to dress in the bathroom.
Finally dressed. Not sure if I slept or passed out, probably both. I awoke with a horrendous pounding at my front door. It’s dark inside, no lights on. No lights on outside. Apparently there’s been an ice storm and my relatives, neighbors and friends have been unable to reach me by phone. I remember thinking that I might be dying, and wondering how it was going to feel.
Bang! Bang! Bang! Ma’am? Paramedics, can you answer the door?
Well, hell. Now I have to lug this tired, weak body out of this recliner to answer the blasted door and why is it so dark anyway?
So the paramedics came in, assessed me and took me back to our local hospital, again. It was dark because it was around nine pm and freezing cold because we were iced in. I had a fever yet again and found to be somewhat unresponsive and extremely weak. COVID tests come back positive even after the first diagnosis over twenty-one days ago.
IV fluids, chest X-rays, antibiotics, steroids, inhaler and another COVID-19 pneumonia diagnosis and … sent home. Except there’s no way home. Roads are iced up, neither Uber or Lyft are in service nor are taxis. Six hours later I finally hire a private service out of Wilmington and pay one hundred dollars for the ten minute ride home. Finally get into my own bed at 5:45 am, exhausted and broke.
So it’s Sunday, January 23, 2022 nearly nine o’clock pm and though it’s early, I’m still actively diagnosed, I can breathe. I’m dogged surviving and plan to keep on until I can’t anymore.