December we had a great Christmas, brought in the New Year with annual check ups with our doctor and back to school for Tanner and Zach working and Rick looking for a new job and interviewing. By the middle of the month he had found a job and starting his new job on January 24th. There was also taking down Christmas, getting things cleaned up and all back together. Also, Tanner was scheduled for driver’s range and roading, Zach was looking for a place in hopes of moving out and Brayden’s birthday coming up. Tanner was backstage help for the school play. Rick and Tanner were holding baseball practices each week for his 10 year old team. Tanner was also on a city basketball team and had games each week.
My schedule was working 20 hours a week, an average of 2 - 3 meetings for things that I volunteer for, working on Oak Canyon Has Talent and a handful of other projects that I was involved with. Each day between work and meetings and the other things I was involved with I would spend about 6 - 7 hours a day keeping up with things. I also had counseling each week. We were in the process of adjusting medications for me and figuring out what works best for me. I also had gone into a few specialists and in the process of taking care of some other things.
Our lives were sustainable, but in a way busy and definitely we weren’t looking for additional things to add to schedule.
With the adjusting of medications I wasn’t feeling great, but knew that things would get better. I’d been through this many times and knew that within a couple of weeks I’d be in good shape.
AND THEN. . .around the 15th of January I started having lower back pains, stomach pains and knew that something wasn’t really right. I felt that I was getting an infection. I was also weighing out getting the Covid Vaccine that my doctor had encouraged me to get. I was being super cautious, but the week of the 17th I was feeling super anxious and almost a scared feeling of covid. I wore my mask more often and was overly cautious. Anytime I went anywhere or touched anything I washed my hands. I made sure to not touch my face. I found myself keeping more distance from people.
On Thursday I had about 9 hours of meetings - some in person and some via Zoom. I was feeling fine except for the back pain. This was the peak of Omicron Covid Variant and so most of my meetings had a ton of discussion of what to do in the schools and for the faculty that were burning out. Friday I spent time communicating with many of my teacher friends about how they were feeling and working on volunteer stuff. Also, on Friday I made the decision to get the Pfizer Vaccine and looked for a place I could get it on Saturday. I couldn’t find anywhere for Saturday, but had looked at the next week and scheduled to get it.
On Saturday we went to Tanner’s Basketball game and came home and did Saturday stuff like cleaning the house, grocery shopping and just getting caught up from the week. In the afternoon I started to have a sore throat and feeling great fatigue. My body was a little achy, but not bad. Saturday evening I was on the phone with a good friend and we visited for a couple of hours. I could tell my throat was getting more scratchy, but thought, well I don’t talk on the phone very often.
That night I went to bed and my body ached more through the night and I couldn’t sleep very well. When I woke up in the morning to get ready for church I got in the shower and I was so weak and thought should I go to church or stay home - I wasn’t sure if this was medication related or what was going on. As I was in the shower I had the thought stay home and get rest, watch Sacrament Meeting from home and take care of yourself. It was very clear so I got back in bed and turned on Sacrament Meeting. My boys administered the Sacrament to Rick and I at home after church.
It’s good that I stayed home. I continued to get worse that afternoon. I slept a lot. We tested me for covid on Monday - negative. Alright, that’s good news.
By Tuesday Morning I was soooo miserable I couldn’t hardly handle the pain, walk, open my eyes, etc. I was super miserable!!! That’s when I went to instacare and here we go. . .COVID!!! I had other things going on and my body was suffering. I couldn’t think about anything going on in my life, but surviving.
In a previous blog I wrote about my health journey. In this blog I want to share another part of the journey.
My sickness quickly got to a point that I couldn’t open my eyes at all, I couldn’t process anything I read or was told and honestly didn’t have any idea of what was going on around me. I didn’t know day or night and had no idea what day of the week it was. I really wasn’t responsive for a good part of the time. Rick was giving me my pills and trying to give me a little bit of food, which felt pointless, because it didn’t stay down. I wasn’t aware of the commitments I had and things I should be too or be doing. I had no concept of deadlines - really nothing. It was just a matter of me trying to stay alive.
Rick had my phone the entire time and he would try to keep up with the texts, messages coming in through messenger, calls that were coming in and my emails, but it was impossible. He had started his job on January 24th and was in training and trying to take care of all of the commitments the boys had too and take care of me which was a high stress situation, because I was so sick.
I take care of paying the bills, going through the mail, coordinating things for the boys and general household stuff. Honestly, Rick didn’t even know passwords or really the time to think about what bills needed to be paid. The boys were helping keep him on track with their things.
I finally became more aware, awake and more responsive around February 12th. I still had an awful headache and had the hardest time processing things - my brain was super slow. I asked for my phone. . .ya, as I scrolled through things for a few minutes I was realizing all of the things that I had missed, all of the things that other people had communicated with Rick and trying to take care of, because I was so sick. Rick had tried to find files to share with people, answer questions and take care of the things that were pressing. I felt super sad. I honestly didn’t know how to process all that I had dropped. This isn’t my personality and honestly throughout my whole life I don’t remember a time that I dropped the ball on something. I could only be on my phone for a short time, because I still wasn’t very strong and still felt very nauseated and on oxygen, but more awake.
All I could think was I had FAILED!!!! I let people down. I missed things that I had committed to. I missed things that I enjoy! I missed my son’s 21st birthday! I missed the opportunity to have my family over to celebrate birthdays. Other people had to step in and take care of things for me - I put things on other people and that wasn’t fair, that was wrong. The problem was I still didn’t have much strength or energy. I also missed weeks of work. That put a massive burden on our family. Rick hadn’t gotten his first paycheck from his new job and I was the only income and there was no income.
Then throughout the next week Rick and I got talking about the bills. The medical bills. I found out how much it cost for Rick to get some prescriptions that I needed after going to the hospital - oh my gosh!!! Super expensive! How did Rick take care of things? Not only that, but I had missed paying all of our bills - everything was late and now had late fees. So, lack of income - zero income for a time, accruing medical bills, late fees on all of our monthly bills. It was the worst feeling! Another failure and pressure that had been put on Rick.
And then, eventually I was shown the bags of mail! Like 3 grocery bags full of mail. Not only was it just bills and things that needed to be taken care of, but the bills were coming in from my instacare visit, my emergency room visit and so much more. I honestly couldn’t face it.
Plus we were in the process of switching insurances and our bank was switching bank cards and I missed switching automatic payments from the old card to the new card. It was hard to know where we could go for things with medical, because a whole new insurance and new places, doctors, etc.
I also felt numb!!! I couldn’t cry. I didn’t know what to feel or how to process everything. There was this inner depression that was super heavy and is still there, but improving. I almost liked the feeling of being gone, not having any idea of what was going on. There was a removal of stress, finances, processing and healing my emotional things and the biggest thing, I didn’t feel the weight of missing my dad. In fact, there was a point that they weren’t sure I would make it and in a way I wanted to be with my dad. I wanted to talk with him. I miss him. There was guilt for that time for sure, immense guilt, but also a feeling of can I go back to that space so I don’t have to face reality, failure, disappointment and trying to sort through everything that fell apart while I was gone.
There was another big problem - I was realizing what I was missing out on and I wanted to get back to life. I wanted to get back to my meetings and being responsible and not falling behind anymore. I wanted to jump back in and try to recoup all that I had dropped. The problem with this was I wasn’t strong enough. I couldn’t process things. I was dizzy. I couldn’t drive. My balance was super off. I had many things coming up and I was determined to find a way to take care of things.
I’d been cleared and wasn’t contagious so I could get out and do things, but just had to be super careful to not jeopardize my health. I went to my first meeting on Tuesday, February 15th. I struggled, but it was so good to be back. I couldn’t process a lot, but I gave it a good try. I came home and slept after the meeting. I was super exhausted.
Thursday, 17th, I took on conducting a meeting and attending 2 other meetings. It was a long day and I lost words and couldn’t always remember what I was saying, but it was super nice to be out and doing things again. And yes, I had to squeeze in a nap. My headaches were pretty bad through all of this, but I was smiling and happy to be getting out.
Brayden and Tanner had gone to St. George for Brayden to umpire for the weekend of President’s Day and there was nothing more I wanted than to go down there and sit in the sun, watch baseball and watch Brayden umpire. I needed to get away and clear my mind and felt that this would be so good for me. Rick was super nervous and didn’t feel it was a good idea, but I pressed and pressed and he finally gave in. We got up early Saturday morning and drove down, spent the day in beautiful weather, sitting with Tanner, being with my boys, watching my favorite sport, went to dinner with the boys and then came home late that night. It was AWESOME!!! It was perfect for my mental health. It wasn’t good at all for my physical health. By the end of the day I was super sick and it took me a few days to recover - I was back in bed really wiped out, but I still don’t regret it.
What I found was I had to look at my whole week and I could do about 50% of what was on my calendar. Last week I was able to do more than that, but the weekend I was super wiped out.
The other challenge that I’ve faced is that I really have a hard time keeping track of what day, date and month it is. I lost a lot of time that I had no concept of the time and when I talk about haircuts or something I think it was just the other day in January. I lost a lot of time in my life. I struggle to have a concept that it was 2 months ago that I really remember what happened. I’m starting to build up a memory of more recent things, but with the covid brain its hard to remember things still.
’m now at 2 months today that my cold / covid symptoms started coming on. 2 long, short, confusing, frustrating, depressing, deathly sick, failure months. Things happened in this time that I’ve never had happen before in my life. No excuses - that’s what I’ve always believed. Now others for sure can have reasons for me to pick up the pieces for them, but not for me. I’ve had a super hard time accepting that there is an excuse that I failed, dropped the ball, put things I committed to on other people - they had to pick up pieces that I hadn’t clued them in before it happened. I’m surrounded by amazing people who were super happy to help me, who have not complained one second, in fact have been super loving and supportive and want to help me. It’s me. I’m 49 years old and this is all hard for me to digest.
And yes, I ended up paying all of the late fees and I finally got back to a full week of work last week - 7 weeks of not working, no income and honestly, though my brother has been super understanding, I feel awful that I let him down. That I didn’t keep up with my work to help him with his job and meeting his goals. Getting back to a full week of work felt great! Felt rewarding.
I’m super grateful for counseling over the last few weeks. Getting back to counseling has been a huge blessing and it’s been so good to be able to process all of these feelings and recognize what words are damaging to me. Have to, should have, could have, failure - the list goes on. I’ve been working on choosing other words and recognizing the blessings - I lived! That’s the first thing that everyone points out. I’m blessed with amazing friends and family who picked up the pieces, because they love me. I’m loved! I’m at least able to get back to some things and slowly I’ll be back to all things. It’s helped me reevaluate life and take a deeper look at the things I’m doing and how to simplify life a little more. I’ve come to recognize what’s most valuable in my life. I’ve come to understand that this isn’t a time in my life that I need to define as a failure. I’ve learned that there are things that are truly out of my control - yep, I super struggle with loss of control. I’ve come to understand that there are a lot of things that I can’t control.
This last week has been the most healing for me. Going to counseling last Monday and to see my doctor last Monday and having a good reset has helped me see how far I’ve come and a plan for going forward. I’ve got answers and direction for my health. I’ve felt greater love - even love for myself. I’ve turned to the Lord more and have felt so much more direction and spiritual promptings that have helped me heal and know what’s most important.
I’ve always told others slow and steady wins the race - not something I’ve quite lived by. I’ve always been overload fast and no sleep and rushing around wins the race. Well, I’ve come to understand how important slow and steady wins the race for myself. I’ve come to understand self compassion for myself and how important these basic principles are to a healthy, happy and more successful recovery.
I know this will sound absolutely crazy, but throughout my life I’ve loved having people in my life that would reject me. Doesn’t that sound promising? Honestly, I didn’t even realize it until this last year. I just kept wondering why I would build these close friendships with people and I felt so super insecure and would take their garbage and beg for them to stay in my life. I was more attached to friendships that guaranteed rejection than my own husband. I know super winning with that formula. . .
So, let’s backtrack and walk through this. As a young child I was sexually abused. That sexual abuse continued on until this older person got married. I was at the wedding of this abuser and I remember feeling so abandoned and that I wasn’t enough and if I would have been better, cooperated more that he wouldn’t have needed to get married. Yes, that’s a magical answer for an 8 year old and getting older. He rejected me!
Then in my teenage years I was sexually abused my a male adult. He was married with children. It went on for awhile and then the situation that allowed him to be alone with me often was changed and so he wasn’t able to continue to sexually abuse me. Whenever he would come around he’d give me the look, he would give me a hug, rub my back and do things that didn’t seem so obvious of what things had happened between us. No one thought anything about how he treated me in public. He was gone. Abandoned. Occasionally I would see him and get a small fix, but it wasn’t the same. He rejected me! He didn’t find a way to be with me more.
I won’t go into all of the situations, but this pattern repeated itself over and over again for over 13 years with many abusers. I needed to live up to what they wanted or they would leave. They would threaten me and if I did exactly as they demanded I was enough and they would stay around, but if I slipped up they were gone and I was punished and over and over there was the REJECTION!
It was a blessing when I went on my mission and got out of these awful situation. Then I went on with my life, got married, had children and you know lived happily ever after, right? NOPE! I thought I was living this happily ever after by keeping so much inside and raising my family, having a husband who was super kind and loving to me, but I couldn’t receive that love very well. I was waiting for the rejection. I thought if I kept busy enough and we just kept going we wouldn’t have to have serious conversations and then he wouldn’t reject me. So, busy it was!
And as we know as parents there are times that our children reject us. They aren’t happy with our decisions, aren’t happy with us making them clean, the expectations, etc. So, I knew that rejection came with my boys. They are amazing boys and I’m super blessed, but honestly there was rejection going both ways. I didn’t know how to handle rejection without putting up my walls and shutting people out and pushing feelings deep down. So, unfortunately I gave my boys rejection too. I’m so grateful over the last two years that we’ve been able to heal that.
Over all of these years I had friends. Lots of people I served with. I was out in the community. Quite honestly mine and my family's lives were out in the public, very public. With all of the different leadership positions and things I was involved with I was definitely able to please many, but I was also faced with lots of rejection! LOTS!!! I was often told things wouldn’t work out, people didn’t like my direction and the list went on. Well, I have to say that due to my perfectionism and drive I was always able to make things work, but was definitely surrounded by rejection. That felt super familiar and honestly was something that felt pretty comfortable. I know, weird.
Just over two years ago I started counseling and eventually through the process most of my family was going to counseling. This is where we started recognizing the rejection that had come in my home. I didn’t know how to love, how to let people in close. I didn’t know how to work through emotions - didn’t really know how to cry. It was such a blessing to work through the rejection in our home and that has healed, but that wasn’t the end for me.
It’s AMAZING how we can attract what we are used to in our lives. I first typed what we want in our lives and you know what, that’s actually the truth. I wanted people in my life that would reject me. That was the most familiar and I didn’t get how to have close relationships that didn’t reject me. Sincerely, open hearted, close relationships. Rick and I were working on our relationship in a different way than a friendship and I was making progress and I was letting people in closer, but dang I seemed to always pick up a friend or two along the way that would guarantee rejection. WHAT? That seems ridiculous. Well, I didn’t even see it.
I thought they were just great friends and I was being blessed. I was being blessed with some amazing friends who have changed my life and I’m super grateful for them, but that one or two that I constantly had of rejection, wow! I would do the begging, I’m scared, please don’t leave me, what can I do better - just like when I was a child and a teenager. I wanted to be enough! I was sure these could be healthy relationships. That’s all I could see, was a healthy relationship. I’ve had different people come and go in my life that were in this category and each time I beat myself up. It was so painful to have them walk out of my life - why couldn’t I be enough???
About six months ago I went through this again. A friendship that I thought for sure would last. A friendship that I thought was good. A friendship that I put my heart into and never in a million years thought would fall apart. Well, I had just lost my dad and I was feeling all kinds of my younger feelings. It wasn’t my dad’s fault, I just missed him so much and couldn’t believe he left. Then within a week this friend left too. Oh my gosh! It killed me. I was so broken-hearted in so many different ways. I felt that a mudslide had covered me - in fact maybe an avalanche!
A few months ago as I was talking things through with my counselor he asked me if I saw a pattern in the people I was bringing into my life over and over again. I was like I don’t know. As we talked I realized that I was attracted to friendships, just those one or two, but I had to have someone in my life that would reject me. My boys didn’t, Rick didn’t and the list goes on. I have a strong foundation of people around me. Oh my gosh! I love REJECTION! It’s what I know. It’s what I’ve lived my whole life facing. Trying to be enough.
Gratefully I’ve been able to heal through those things. I’ve worked on recognizing rejection people - people who will be there to satisfy my rejection cravings. I’ve taken a deeper look at myself as to why I long for that. It’s safe! I know, what’s safe about that? It’s familiar to me. I know what to do with rejection. I don’t always know what to do with love, welcoming arms and being enough for people. I don’t always know what to do with safe, sincere relationships. BUT, now I do and I love it! It’s taken a ton of work and I still long for rejection at times, but that’s not what I deserve. I deserve so much better.
Yesterday I was at counseling and we were talking about things that I’m struggling with and working through and my counselor brought up those in my life that reject me and I stopped him and looked at him and said, “You know what? I don’t have anyone in my life right now that rejects me!” OH MY GOSH!!!! I hadn’t thought about that for awhile, but it felt so good to say that and to realize it’s a big change I’ve made in my life. I’m WINNING!!! I’m believing in myself and recognize that I deserve better than that. I don’t have to be rejected. It’s no longer comfortable or what’s familiar to me or what makes me happy. I don’t long for it. I love me! I love where I’m going and all of the work I’ve put in to recognize that I don’t deserve rejection anymore! It’s the best feeling!
It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog. . .I got covid. A couple of weeks ago as I was starting to wake up and be more with it I had a strong feeling that the next blog I needed to write was about my experience of having Covid. For several reasons I’ve resisted that feeling and tried to write other blogs, but no, they weren’t flowing and it has become very clear that I need to listen to the feelings I’m having and write about covid. I’m going to be very honest, vulnerable with this topic - more so than I’ve wanted to in the public eye.
Just under a year ago the covid vaccine became available. With me being diabetic I was one of those people that could get it earlier than others. I had very mixed feelings. I was just starting to feel healthier from working through medications and balancing things for my thyroid, hashimotos, diabetes, fibromyalgia and then throw in there anxiety, depression and PTSD. I decided I wanted to watch and observe and see how things went for others and then I would get the vaccine.
I scheduled to get the vaccine many times, but as I would schedule I would get a pit in my stomach and honestly, everytime I scheduled, someone close to me would get the vaccine and get really sick. I had a friend that got the vaccine that had diabetes and they ended up in the hospital. I couldn’t overcome the fear that I was feeling. And then in July I decided alright, it’s time, I’m getting the vaccine. Then my mom, who was vaccinated, got covid and my dad, who was vaccinated, got covid. My dad ended up in the hospital and passed away from covid, but he had been vaccinated. In fact, there were some things shared with us that the vaccine that my dad got could cause internal bleeding and that’s one of the things my dad was struggling with when he died. That terrified me - I had been dealing with internal bleeding for awhile. At that point I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t get vaccinated. Then I had other family members who got vaccinated and ended up super sick - I couldn’t get over the very confused feelings.
We then had Brayden getting married and though I reconsidered it again, I thought, I can’t get super sick before Brayden’s wedding so I’ll consider it after the wedding. Then the holidays came and I thought alright in January. I will start the new year off with the vaccine and move forward.
I met with my doctor the end of December and I looked at him and said talk me into getting the vaccine. I sincerely wanted to do the right thing - I was just scared to death due to so many close family experiences. I asked him to share with me what he knew and I shared with him that I couldn’t get over the feelings that the vaccine killed my dad. We had a great conversation and I felt alright, I could do this.
There were only a few things that I wanted to work through before getting the vaccine. I was retaining a lot of fluids and so much swelling and so I started on medications for that. Then I was still dealing with some internal bleeding and scheduled to go in and see a specialist to deal with that. I also was struggling with my heart rate. I would wake up with my heart rate in the 130’s - 140’s. My doctor adjusted some meds to help with my heart. In addition we adjusted a few of my other meds and overall I wasn’t feeling well as we were making all of these changes and working through the internal bleeding. I thought, as soon as I get these things balanced I will get the vaccine. I had made up my mind.
Through all of this time I decided I would just be super careful. I didn’t go to stores, I would wear a mask a lot, if I touched anything I would wash my hands - I washed my hands constantly. If I went to events for my boys I would keep distance from others. I knew that I was at risk and wanted to be careful since I couldn’t bring myself to get the vaccine. I was in so much turmoil.
Throughout January I started getting really scared of getting covid - like more scared than I had ever felt. My body was weak from all of the changes and working through meds and the things my body was fighting and I found myself not really wanting to be around people with the fear of getting covid. It was becoming a consuming fear. I was turning down going to lunch and even being with friends and going out to things, because I felt I needed to be super careful - more careful than ever before.
On Friday, January 21st I was talking with a friend and from that conversation I found some great peace that it was time to get the vaccine. I even went online and was looking for places that could do the vaccine for me on Saturday - I wanted to do it while I was feeling peace and not back out. I couldn’t find any place that could do the vaccine on Saturday so I decided alright I’ll go the next week. I thought, I will go on Monday so I don’t back out.
Saturday, January 22nd I went to my son’s basketball game in the morning and had a great time. I got home and found myself feeling very tired, but that wasn’t abnormal due to all that my body was fighting. I took a long nap and then we played games that evening and I talked with a good friend of mine for a couple of hours on the phone. I noticed my throat was feeling a little scratchy and sore, but thought I don’t talk on the phone often so maybe that’s what happened.
Sunday, January 23rd I woke up with a sore throat. I have a fan that blows on my face at night and I like to open my window at night, even in the cold so I thought it’s just a dry throat. I got up to get ready for church and I had a very clear thought come to mind, you need the rest, you need to stay home and watch church via zoom. It was clear that I needed to rest and that it was alright to miss church. I’m not one that gives myself permission to miss church often - I find such a comfort and direction and renewal by going to church each week.
I also was dealing with some very severe pain in my lower back. So severe that I couldn’t sit back or put any pressure on my back. Throughout Sunday my stomach started to hurt so bad, started getting a headache, dizzy, super thirsty and an exhaustion that I had never experienced before. Between the different medications of releasing the fluids my body was retaining and other medications that were hurting my stomach I was using the restroom alot for several weeks, plus I was losing blood frequently, that I shouldn’t, because I had a hysterectomy over 10 years ago. With all of that I had a feeling that I had a UTI.
On Monday I got worse and I was super weak and didn’t even want to open my eyes. My head was spinning so much that if I opened my eyes I would vomit. I had no appetite and now my ears were hurting. The symptoms were coming super fast. We had covid tests so Monday afternoon Rick had me do a covid test and it came back negative. I was like, well that’s a relief, but dang I’m super miserable. I messaged my doctor’s nurse and shared with her all that was going on and asked if it was meds, that I thought it was a UTI and what could I do. She talked to my doctor and he asked me to come into Instacare on Tuesday morning. I was nervous, because I was so super sick, but I had a negative covid test.
I was so sad, on Monday we were going to celebrate Brayden’s birthday together as a family and we had to cancel it. It was heartbreaking for me.
Tuesday, January 25th Brayden’s 21st birthday and I was so excited for him to be 21 and had hoped to see him, but with how sick I was it just wasn’t going to work out and that was hard for me. That morning we went into the instacare and saw my doctor. They decided to test me for the flu and for covid and of course, the UTI. While we were with my doctor his nurse stuck her head in and said positive covid test and I was like, “Who? What?” Of course, we all knew that was for me. So here I’m sitting there with a UTI and Covid and more miserable than I had ever felt, plus dealing with the bleeding and all of the other things I had been dealing with through January.
My doctor gave me medications and sent me home and told me to sleep and be super careful. We talked about how I was high risk with all of my medical things. I’m so grateful for a loving and understanding doctor, even though I hadn’t been vaccinated.
I just continued to get worse over that week. I’ve never experienced body aches like I did that week. I slept all of the time and if I ate or drank fluids I would lose it all so I just couldn’t eat and drink much. My doctor had told me I needed electrolytes so I was trying to drink gatorade, but yuck, drinking it and then having it come up. 24/7 I couldn’t get any relief from the extreme pain my body was feeling. NONE!!!! I couldn’t lay on my back due to the extreme pain in my lower back. Then, on my lower back I had some weird things showing up - like something deep in my back was manifesting in a purple color in my lower back up my spine.
I honestly don’t have much recollection from that week. I got a priesthood blessing and was told that I would recover, but what did that mean? I took peace at the time that alright, this will all get better and I’ll live, but as the week went on I was thinking well, this might be that I recover by dying and being made whole by dying.
It had gotten to the point that the only relief I could get was getting in a warm bath and honestly I would sleep for hours in the warm water - there was some relief, but then it was making my lower back hurt so much worse. Then through the night Rick wasn’t sleeping well because my oxygen was dropping and I wasn’t breathing very well. He was constantly checking on me. I didn’t have any comprehension of things going on around me. Even when there were conversations if my eyes were open I would just stare and I couldn’t process things being said to me.
On top of me being sick, super sick, Rick started a new job on Monday, January 24th - the day that I was getting really bad, the day before going into instacare. Gratefully his job is work from home, but he had trainings, meetings and all kinds of things getting started with his job. Then with me being so sick I wasn’t working. In January our only income had been mine so now I’m not working and no income and Rick is just starting his job and won’t have a paycheck for a few weeks and we’re in the process of meeting deductible under Cobra Insurance, because his new work insurance doesn’t start until March 1st. So, our finances were a total mess - disaster!
Then you throw in the boys. Tanner was involved with the school play, but due to being exposed, he stayed home from school and then decided to not be involved with the school play, because he didn’t want to risk getting anyone sick. He had been so excited to be a part of this play - I was feeling so much guilt messing things up for him. Then his learners permit was going to expire the end of February and before I had gotten sick I had asked the teacher working with him if they could do all they could to help him get range and road and whatever else needed to be done before his learners expired. The week I got sick was his range and he didn’t know what to do. Gratefully things worked out and he was able to get his license on time, but there was a lot of stress with that.
Zach was looking for a new job or an additional jobs and was looking at places, because he had decided after Christmas that he would move out. That was great and I was supportive of his decisions, but I wasn’t able to talk through things and support him at all. I couldn’t be a mom at all to my boys and that’s one of the biggest things I live for. I could hear conversations going on around me and I just ached, I couldn’t process words or add to anything that was going on around me.
And then you throw in all of the things that I had committed to and that I’m involved with. I was missing meetings, coordinating and organizing events and things I had committed to. I honestly had no comprehension of what day it was and what I had going on so I didn’t know what all I was missing and not taking care of, which was probably good through the 3 weeks I was so sick.
And to think that Rick was carrying EVERYTHING!!! Starting a new job, taking care of me, working through things with his boys, worrying about finances and trying to take care of things with no income, communicating with my doctor every single day and the list goes on. My doctor was AMAZING!!! Rick and the nurse emailed several times a day and my doctor would give Rick guidance on what to do to keep me going and alive.
I had major chest pains and was so winded just to walk to the restroom. It would take me 10 minutes to climb our stairs - one step and winded. It was such an awful feeling. Rick would stand me up and hold onto me and try to get me outside, but to get to the door was sooooo far away. Plus I would get super agitated.
By Monday, January 31st I could hardly breathe. We had talked about me going to the hospital emergency room several times, but I couldn’t do it. I kept saying I’d rather die at home than go to the hospital. My dad went to the hospital in August with covid and he died. I never saw him again conscious and I just couldn’t do it. It’s not that I didn’t trust the doctors and nurses, I believe they are working super hard, but I feel that Covid is a super unknown and hard to treat and know what to do with so many patients and just the trauma with losing my dad and almost daily I see friends posting that they have lost a family member being in the hospital with covid.
The other thing is my boys were scared for me to go to the hospital and every time it came up they would cry. I couldn’t do this to my boys either.
On Monday around 1:30 p.m. Rick woke me up and said Cheri open your eyes. I opened them and Rick said that my doctor told him to get me to the hospital today. My oxygen was getting in the 80’s and I was getting much worse. I was adamant that I couldn’t go - I just couldn’t. Finally after much conversation and Rick calling the hospital and them telling him that he can go back with me to the room I agreed to go.
Tanner let the boys know and Brayden and Sarah rushed over so my boys could give me a blessing before going to the hospital. We had a family prayer and then it was time for me to go to the hospital. I could barely make it to the car to go and I closed my eyes the whole way over. I couldn’t focus on anything and I was so weak. We got to the hospital doors and they could see I was so weak they brought a wheelchair to take me into the emergency room. We got checked in and the nurse came out to get me.
Something about me that not many know, but I have a blankie. I’m very attached to this blankie and it brings me lots of comfort. It’s a great strength to me. We took it with us to the hospital. When the nurse came out to get me Rick stood up to go in with me and the nurse told him he couldn’t come with me. We were both shocked and honestly I started to sob! I could hardly talk, sit up and didn’t know what to do - I didn’t want to go back without Rick with me.
I had to make a decision - do I go back by myself or just go back home? I looked at Rick and the nurse told me I had to hurry and make a decision so I said alright I’ll go back. Rick handed me my blanket and my phone and she picked up the blanket and gave it back to Rick and said I couldn’t have it. I was terrified. I was having all of these thoughts of my dad going to the hospital and never seeing him alive again - well conscious. I knew I didn’t have much more fight in me to keep going.
I’m not going to go into too many details at the hospital. It was traumatizing in many ways and I was so sick and unable to communicate much that it’s best I leave that part of the story unshared for now. What I will share is that because I was so dehydrated they had an extremely hard time getting an IV in me. I’ve never wanted an IV so badly in my life - I wanted some fluids in my body that hopefully I could keep down. They tried and tried and then sent in someone else to try. They brought in the ultrasound machine and it still wasn’t working. After being poked 28 times they finally got an IV in me. I was covered in bruises. I was super nauseated and I couldn’t lean back on the hard bed, because my back was sooooo angry at me with the UTI. I wasn’t given a blanket or anything of comfort. I had to answer many times if I had been vaccinated and it was so hard to catch my breath to even answer. Each time I was asked if I was vaccinated I was asked to explain why I wasn’t vaccinated and told that because I wasn’t vaccinated that this is the consequence. I understood. I honestly felt like a child being punished over and over and over again. I was all alone. I had told Rick that I would try to message him and keep him updated, but I couldn’t see my phone. I finally figured out that I could send him voice messages - very short and short of breath, but I was able to communicate enough to let him know a little bit.
After a couple of hours of a bunch of tests the doctor came in and let me know that I had covid pneumonia with tests coming back with high results of possible clots in my lungs. He said they needed to admit me and keep me overnight - that things didn’t look good. I just started to cry and I told the doctor that I couldn’t stay. I just couldn’t. The doctor said that it wasn’t really safe for me to go home, but if that’s what I chose then he wanted me going home on oxygen and with an oximeter program on my phone that I would test my oxygen and it would report to the hospital how I was doing. I told him that’s what I chose. The PTSD of losing my dad under 6 months from that time was too much for me.
He left the room and said the nurses would be in to give me the information and then I could leave. One of the people that came in to remove stuff asked me why I would go home when everything was showing that it wasn’t safe for me to go home. Basically said you’re on deaths door, why would you go home. I shared that I lost my dad this way and I would rather go home and die than be in the hospital alone and die. This had nothing to do with the capability of the doctors or nurses - NOTHING - it was a deep fear, sadness of the loss of my dad and I didn’t want to be alone. I wasn’t strong enough to make my own decisions.
After they gave me my stuff they said I was free to go. So I changed, gathered up my stuff, got the handle of the oxygen tank and walked myself out. They didn’t offer me a wheelchair or any direction how to get out. I could barely see the signs, but I made it to the front and looked at Rick and he came and got the stuff out of my hands and we sat down so I could catch my breath and then we left the hospital.
I was so grateful to get home and with the fluids, zofran and oxygen I was a little bit more awake to talk to my kids when I got home. I was super grateful for that little boost of strength. That only lasted a short time. They wanted me sitting up more while I slept due to the lack of oxygen so I slept in the recliner downstairs - which was good, because climbing the stairs was way too hard. Rick slept on the couch next to me.
The challenge was I was having nightmares and feeling like I was drowning and choking and couldn’t breathe and then with the nausea about every 10 - 20 minutes throughout the night I would scream for Rick to sit me up. I was sure I was dying. He would sit me up, I’d take a breath and then I just wanted to go back to sleep. He would lay me back and then in about 10 - 20 minutes I would do it again. The challenge was at times I was vomiting when he would sit me up. This went all night for several days. I would also get restless and wouldn’t want the oxygen on subconsciously and would pull it off and without it my oxygen had gotten into the 70’s. It was scary for all of my family! For me, I wasn’t really conscious of what was going on anymore.
There were times I’d open my eyes and just stare off and from where I sat and slept I could see my dad’s picture. I would find myself thinking that I would be with him shortly. I just felt that I had no more fight in me. I found myself thinking, “Dad, I understand. I understand that there comes a point where the body is failing and it’s time to go.” Honestly there were times that I wanted to be with my dad - I had no more fight in me. But Rick and my boys did and boy did they fight for me every single minute of every day and I could feel of their love and pain as they watched me so sick.
The rest of that week I wasn’t really responsive. I have no recollection of that week, besides how awful I felt, sometimes getting frustrated with the oxygen and ending up pulling it off subconsciously, waking up enough to throw up - didn’t open my eyes and the nightmares. The emergency room had told me that one of the ways they have found for relief of the body aches was to rotate tylenol and ibuprofen every 4 hours. I was willing to do anything to get any kind of relief from the pain in my body, but I can’t take pain meds without additional internal bleeding and that causes other problems. I was willing to take on that other problem - I was so super miserable.
On Saturday, February 5th Rick posted on my Facebook Wall asking for anyone that would be willing to join a fast for me. He was at a loss of how to get me to be more responsive. My oxygen was in the 70’s without oxygen and now we were at 2 weeks of me not really being responsive or eating.
My family had been amazing! My mom and sister had gone through having Covid Pneumonia in August when my dad was in the hospital and passed away. My family was contacting Rick and giving him many suggestions and bringing things and dropping things off on our door. Rick was willing to try everything and each little thing was very helpful. I don’t know exactly what worked to get me through, but what I do know is it was a bunch of little things that eventually led to me getting better.
On Sunday, February 6th all of my family was getting together to exchange Valentines at my mom’s home. I had slept pretty much all day, but woke up around 6:00 p.m. Rick was getting on a Zoom call and I was like who are you getting on with? He said that my family was doing a Zoom call while exchanging valentines and just to all say hi. It had been a month since we had all been together. I looked a complete mess, didn’t know if I could open my eyes without throwing up and wasn’t sure I was ready to see anyone. I didn’t know how much I could communicate. As Rick got everyone on the Zoom call people were asking how I was doing and I told Rick I would say hi to everyone with my undone hair, oxygen, no makeup and looking like death had warmed over. As I started to say hi and answer questions and my family expressed their love for me and prayers and concern I found myself being more responsive and able to talk and laughed and it really lifted my spirits. We were on the zoom call for over an hour and I really enjoyed it. I was super exhausted and worn out, but super good for my spirits.
I fell back to sleep and didn’t have any additional strength. That next week as I would open my eyes I’d get headaches and just felt super dizzy. I could tell the symptoms were starting to improve - they were all there, but less. As Rick gave an update to my family my sister reached out and let Rick know that when my mom was on oxygen that they found that as her oxygen improved she would get dizzy and have headaches, because of too much oxygen and they would adjust and turn down the oxygen. Rick gave that a try and it worked. My dizziness and headaches started to improve and I was each day getting a little bit better.
Through the night on Tuesday night I ended up pulling off my oxygen accidentally and when Rick checked my oxygen level in the morning it was holding alright - high 80’s and honestly my nose had gotten so sore. I begged him to let me keep it off and see how I do. They checked me all day and eventually my oxygen got into the 90’s and was up and down a little bit, but looking better. I was starting to eat a little more. Things were showing some small improvements, but wasn’t quite sitting well for Rick. He still had lots of concerns.
On Thursday, February 10th he reached out to the boys and asked if they could come and help him give me a blessing and they had coordinated a time on Friday afternoon. He felt that I needed to be eating more, being more responsive after 3 weeks and I was still super weak. He had made up his mind that he was going to take me back to the hospital on Friday morning if I wasn’t doing better. Through Thursday night and as I woke up Friday morning I had this overwhelming feeling that I needed to fight, I needed to do everything I possibly could. I didn’t tell Rick that - it was just something I felt and decided to do. I was awake a little more throughout that day, drank a protein shake and held it down, walked outside for a short time for some fresh air - Rick was very excited that I was showing some improvement. He informed me throughout the day that he had decided he was going to take me back to the hospital if I didn’t show improvement and all of a sudden I was showing some improvement without knowing his plans. Rick told me the boys were coming over to assist in giving me a priesthood blessing.
That blessing was the turning point of really healing. I was told that my dad was helping me heal from the other side and I could feel my dad with me. I knew he wanted me to fight and stay here. That I was needed here. Between the feelings I had to fight, the priesthood blessing and being surrounded by love and so much support from my mom, family, ward members, friends - it was amazing. So many fasted for me and prayed for me. I know that all of these things brought me through the worst experience of my life.
That was a turning point. . .a point that I was waking up more, interacting with people slowly and starting to gain strength. I still slept a lot, but when I was awake I was able to have more conversations and interact. The symptoms had subsided overall. The doctor had said I was clear to get out, but to be extremely careful. I went to church on Sunday and it felt good to be there, but it wiped me out so much I slept most of the day after church. I couldn’t believe how much that wiped me out.
After losing 3 weeks of my life I was super ready to get back to my life. I was finally able to look at my phone after 3 weeks. Holy smokes - talk about messages. I was super grateful for the love and prayers and all of the support. I was also reminded of all of the meetings and things I had missed. My brain was super duper slow still so I wasn’t able to process everything and I could only read a few things at a time.
Taking it slow and giving myself self compassion has been extremely difficult for me - that’s not my nature, but I’m learning. I’m gaining my strength and I’m healing. The three things that I struggle with the most now is I’m extremely exhausted and have fatigue, my balance isn’t good and I have what I’ve called Covid Brain. It’s really slow and it’s hard for me to process things, especially if there’s more than one thing going on around me. I’m not remembering things very well. I’ll be going in for a few tests to see where I’m at in healing, but I am grateful to be alive! I’m grateful for all of the love and support I received through a very difficult time in my life and in my family's lives. I’m so grateful that my dad, from the other side, was able to help me heal and stay here.
The next few blog posts will be tied to the recent experience I had with Covid Pneumonia. Love is a word that I’ve not really understood most of my life. Due to the abuse that I went through for many years in my younger and teenage years had really distorted my understanding of love and honestly, I hadn’t learned to love myself over all of these years so I wasn’t able to receive and feel real love. Over the last couple of years this is something that I’ve been working on - learning to love myself and opening my heart. I’ve been very blessed with a lot of healing: understanding love, showing love and receiving love.
There were many days throughout my sickness that I wondered if I could hold on. It was super difficult. The hardest thing I’ve been through in my life. There were so many emotions tied to this experience due to losing my dad from the same things in August. I’ve told Rick many times that I can’t get that sick again, I know I don’t have the strength to beat it a second time. Even the recovery over the last few weeks and processing everything has been extremely difficult - more than I could have imagined.
The other night Rick was sitting on the couch and I was sitting in the recliner right next to the couch. This is how things were a lot throughout my sickness. Rick would sleep on the couch and me in the recliner. He would come and sit next to me and hold my hand and squeeze it and I would squeeze back - it was honestly at times all I could do to communicate with him. This was where he would wake up every 20 minutes to me screaming out and needing to be sat up and he would be so patient and help me. There were times he would sit on the floor next to the recliner and tickle my back for comfort. The other night I told Rick that him holding my hand and tickling my back were such a comfort through such an awful time. He also tolerated my super grumpiness. I didn’t want to take the bites of food that he offered me. I didn’t want to drink what he tried to get me to drink. I didn’t want to have my oxygen tested at times. He held the bags for me as I threw up, because I didn’t have strength to get to the restroom and things were happening so quickly. Rick’s acts of love were endless to keep me alive. I couldn’t list everything that he did. He kept me alive!
Then for Rick he is super grateful for my doctor and his nurse that stayed in constant communication with Rick every single day. They answered all of Rick’s questions and then they would check in daily to see how I was doing. It’s my doctor that advised him to take me to the hospital, which I know was a part of my healing process - allowed us to find out exactly what I had. They helped Rick adjust my medications and what to do each day to care for me. There was great love shown from my doctor and his nurse.
My boys. . .wow! I can’t even describe how much love they showed me. Though they couldn’t be by me or around me they would make sure to tell me that they loved me every day, many times, even when I wasn’t very coherent. They were very loving and patient and didn’t complain about the life changes they had to make through all of this time. The night I came home from the hospital Tanner was so worried about my oxygen that he got up, came downstairs and checked my oxygen about every 30 minute throughout the night. He wanted to make sure I was still breathing. I heard from my married kids and they would let me know that they loved me and would communicate frequently. They participated in giving me Priesthood Blessings with great precautions. The day I went to the hospital, the tears, the fear, the family prayer - the list goes on. I’m so grateful for the love of my family.
Then there’s all of my siblings and my mom. Since they had been through all of this with my dad, mom and my sister they had suggestions and tips for Rick. They brought so much over and left things on the door and supported Rick in so many ways. My brother, who is the coupon king, let me know that he paid full price for stuff for me - that’s ultimate love. My mom was in constant communication with Rick and doing all she could to help, love and support. My family sent messages of love and support.
Then my family in Washington. They sent me beautiful flowers that were yellow, bright and happy. Everytime I opened my eyes I would see them and they would brighten my day - I’d smile. Then a package arrived with a bunch of Dollar Store items to cheer me up. They were super supportive and showed so much love daily.
The acts of love and kindness are so far reaching. A friend sent me a couple of books - one that she knew I would want and one that she knew I would love. Sometime throughout the time I was sick my door was heart attacked with so many sweet and kind messages on hearts. Then on my window there were hearts taped so that I could see the messages from inside. Yes, I wasn’t able to read the hearts until I got better, but Rick shared the messages with me. A very cute balloon that was brought in my home was left on our door too. The sisters in our ward - oh my gosh - they brought in meals for 2 weeks to our family. That was such a huge blessing for our family. It was a huge relief for Rick where he was trying to hold down the home and a brand new job and save me. Rick’s mom brought in a dinner for us too. His family touched base with him often to see how I was doing. A good friend, who had covid in December, thought a smoothie would help and she and her husband came over and brought a smoothie. I received cards in the mail and the list goes on.
As Rick would post and asked for friends and family to join in a fast for me there was amazing support and love. There was so much power and strength in the fast and the prayers that were offered in my behalf. All of the messages that were posted and sent - as I started to wake up and read the messages of love it was such a strength to me. Rick would also read me messages and share with me the love that was being sent to me.
I had so many commitments over the weeks that I was sick and where I wasn’t alert at all I wasn’t even aware of what days were passing by and what my commitments were. I’m super grateful for all of the friends that I serve with, picked up the pieces and kept things going. For some things it was difficult, because I’ve done some of these things for over 10 years and all of the files were on my computer. They would reach out to Rick and have him try to find the information and sometimes he had luck and sometimes he didn’t and they moved forward and kept things going. It was such a relief to me as I was healing to know that I’m surrounded by so many who love me and picked up the pieces and kept things going.
Then the love that I felt from my dad on the other side. So many times through this experience I felt I would be with him shortly. At times I wanted to be with him. Then through a priesthood blessing I knew and felt my dad with me. I knew that he was helping me heal. I knew that the real plan was for me to stay here. I’m so grateful for my dad’s love for me throughout this experience.
I’m sure that I’ve missed things and I’m sorry - I would never want to leave out anyone who showed so much love and support to me and my family. The reason I wanted to share these things was because the love that I felt, even though at times I couldn’t comprehend or read the messages, was healing. It gave me the strength everyday to keep going and to fight. As conversations come up about why I didn’t stay in the hospital Rick will comment that my emotional, mental health is so closely tied to my physical health and he agreed that if I was in the hospital alone, without my family and friends I might not have made it. Nothing to do with the doctors or nurses, but with me personally. I need my loved ones, my foundation, my safe people around me. I needed the love that surrounded me by being at home. That love is what kept me here. Love is super powerful! It is healing in all ways - emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. Love is what got me through!
A wife and mother of 4 boys and 2 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity