Silently, I stood, looking down at my husband strapped on the stretcher, choking back tears as I remembered us working in the yard together last fall. Cutting down trees and hauling them off is no fun for people in their seventies, but we made it fun, anyway. We’d work a little, sit a lot, and enjoyed us being together on that beautiful, sunny day. We’d talk about stuff that didn’t matter to anyone but us, crack jokes and laugh at our own silly antics. As the sun went down, we’d call it a day, pack up the tools and give each other a thumbs up for a job well done.
Now, I’m scared for his life.
He’d been sick for three weeks; sicker than I’ve ever seen him in our fifty-one years together. Prostate and colon cancer didn’t take it out of him like this invisible monster has.
He was in no condition to drive to the VA for a doctor’s appointment, but I don’t have a driver’s license, so he dragged himself behind the wheel and backed down the long, narrow driveway. Suddenly, he got the dry heaves and pulled off the side of the road. He said he was dizzy and nauseous and felt like he was going to pass out. Looking like death warmed over and barely able to hold his head up, he slowly got back in the car. Concerned that he wouldn’t be able to stay on the road, I asked if he wanted me to drive. He said no, so Jesus took the wheel.
Forty, long minutes later, we arrived at the VA to discover he didn’t have an appointment for that day.
That was a God-thing.
So, I wheeled him to the clinic across the hall, where he checked in then we waited in the sitting room; the minutes crawling by like a sloth in slow motion.
Finally, the nurse called his name, giving me a short-lived, sigh of relief.
His oxygen level was 80. His blood pressure was 63 over 30. I didn’t want to know what his creatine level was, but she told me, anyway: 3.9; a mile away from the 0.9 it’s supposed to be. On top of all that, he’s diabetic, has COPD and asthma.
He was a dead man walking.
Immediately, she called an ambulance. About ten minutes later, the paramedics arrived, strapped him to the bed and, both of us were transported to the Kernersville Hospital directly across the road where a bed was waiting for him.
When we arrived, his room was a flood of nurses, asking him questions, administering oxygen, and checking his pulse and blood pressure. They hooked him up to an IV and a heart monitor and worked up a nervous sweat trying to locate a cooperative vein to draw blood.
Then, little by little, everyone went their separate ways, leaving us both to wait forever and a day for all the test results. Buck dozed off and on while I sat in a chair about as comfortable as a rock, getting colder by the minute and wishing we were at a warm, fancy resort on a private island.
Nearly bored to tears, I looked down at the floor, and the queen of clean in me wanted to jump out and grab a mop, and broom. The bathroom was sad, too. Heck, I’d clean the entire hospital rather than sit here with nothing to do but think and worry.
The unknown was scary as the hours dragged on and on with still no word. Looking across the room at my husband, I knew he was uncomfortable in that narrow bed, too short for his long body.
Suddenly, My heart began crying for the man I have gradually lost over the years. The man who played softball for thirty years, worked hard every day, and loved me as no one ever has before. Now, between sickness and old age, I realize he will never be the strong man he was, but his love for me has grown stronger through the passing years.
Our marriage hasn’t always been sunshine and roses, but they’ve always been faithful and true, through sickness and health till death do us part. We still say, “I love you,” and neither of us can go to sleep until we kiss and make up after an argument. He is my best friend. My soul mate. And my heart will shrivel up and die without him.
Finally, the nurses are in and out again, checking this and that, taking more blood, and answering my questions. The fluids trickling through the tiny tube into his shriveled, dehydrated body are slowly bringing him back to life. And his blood pressure and oxygen levels are creeping higher. Things are looking so good that one nurse said he may go home later today.
But that was before another nurse came in and whispered in my ear, “It’s Covid”.
I figured it all along, but he had so many other symptoms as well, that I ruled it out. But the possibility was never too far from my mind.
It’s been a long, tiring day. Our son picked me up and, later that evening, Buck was moved to a room with a real bed and a little TV. It even had a couch, he told me while talking on the phone.
Today is Valentine’s Day and after a two-day stay in the hospital, my husband is home, and slowly on the mend. I fixed him a Valentine’s breakfast fit for a king, but will be happy as a pig in mud when he takes back his kitchen again!
Does God hear and answer prayer? Yes, He does. Maybe not the way we want Him to, but always in the way He knows is best for us. Sometimes He just wants us to sit still and learn from Him. But sitting still is not something I do well at all.
Seeing first-hand what this deadly virus can do, and how close it came to snatching my husband from my life, was a big wake-up call for both of us. Although I still don’t know how effective wearing a mask is, I won’t rebel against it anymore. And we are definitely taking the shot. I’m not 100% sold on it, but, at our age, I feel it couldn’t hurt us as much as COVID already has.
To anyone reading this post, I want to say how sorry I am if you are sick with COVID or have lost family members due to COVID. No one knows how horrible it is until they or someone close to them have faced it head-on.
We are living in a different world, today. A world full of change and uncertainty, and it affects both young and old alike. We can’t control it. We can’t change it. We can’t win the fight against it. Trying to do so only makes us angry and resentful, and not much fun to be around. Only God can help and strengthen us through these dark times if we let Him. Personally, I can’t make it without Him, and I don’t want to die trying.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. (Psalm 23:4)