FROM the UNIMAGINABLE to the INEXPRESSIBLE
Updated: Apr 20, 2020
I met my lab supervisor, Bill, on my way into work that evening. He was leaving for the day. “Thanks for coming in on such short notice.”
“No problem, but I really don’t want to be here.” I summoned up a polite smile as the elevator doors slowly closed and Bill disappeared down the hallway. Did I really say those words to my boss? I knew he’d understand. Inside, I was a teary-eyed mess and beyond exhausted, having done many extra shifts lately.
This Covid-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc on health-care workers. Every day directives changed, and confusion reigned. And we were short-staffed to top it all off. My retirement date was set for July 31st and I eagerly looked forward to that day.
My shift ended early that night. Since I wasn’t supposed to be there anyway, I clocked out with payroll and made my way to my car. Imagine my frustration when it wouldn’t start. My husband worked forty minutes away in Kitchener and we have no family in the area. Who could I call at eleven o’clock at night? Wait! CAA! The service arrived in about fifteen minutes. The young man marvelled that we’d been members for over 40 years. A few minutes later I was home and heading to bed.
Then the unimaginable hit.
The trembling. The fever. The headache. At first I thought I’d caught a chill as I had waited for the CAA driver. But when I shook uncontrollably for the next few hours, I knew something was not right. In the morning, I called the family doc, who directed me to my workplace Occupational Health, who directed me to a local Public Health Nurse, who directed me to drive myself to my local ER and get a nasal swab done. The procedure, although uncomfortable, was quick and efficient.
Imagine my shock the next morning, when the family doc called to inform me I was Covid-19 positive. “You’re in good health, Linda. I know you’ll be fine.” I love the positive spin my doctor always puts on things. He’s a great guy.
But I wasn’t fine. Mentally or physically. I’m no spring chicken and had heard the dangers of older adults succumbing to the virus. Although I can’t say I lived in fear, thoughts of being admitted to the hospital and breathing via respirator terrified me. Not to mention, my husband was now at risk, especially since he is a Type 2 Diabetic. As careful as we were, five days later, Gary came down with symptoms too.
Two brutal blurry weeks followed with a fever that wouldn’t leave, no appetite, incredible fatigue, weakness, and an exhausting cough. Halfway through, when a wheezing sound developed in my chest, I figured I’d developed pneumonia and would end up on that respirator after all.
But through it all, the inexpressible began to happen.
I don’t know if I can truly recall all the wonderful people and events that happened. Each day, I was almost barrelled over with phone calls and text messages, love packages left on my step, meals, muffins, flowers, handmade cards and creative poems, twice daily Face Time calls from my daughter in Winnipeg and many more well-wishes and prayers from family and friends in Sarnia and Windsor.
Some days, I admit I was too ill to read my Bible. Other days, God reassured me that He’d heard my prayers and that I needed to wait patiently. I felt like I existed between Good Friday and Easter Sunday … between offered prayer and answered prayer.
Over and over, I felt God telling me to wait. I’ve never been a patient person. But deep down there was an underlying assurance to do just that. To wait. And to trust.
One particularly bad day, I remember feeling so done, I told my husband that I’d lived a good life and God could take me home if he wanted. Not that I had a death wish. I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired. Not to mention, I was trying to take care of a sick husband too.
When I learned my BFF Annie was praying and fasting for me one day, I was touched to tears. Did I mention I cried often throughout these weeks? The next day Annie shared that God had woken her up in the night and given her a passage of scripture.
It was Daniel, Chapter 10 verse 12, “Do not be afraid Daniel. Since the first day that you set your mind to understanding and to humble yourself before God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to them. But the prince of the Persian Kingdom resisted me twenty-one days.”
Then another friend happened to share a Max Lucado video on Facebook. I was filled with awe when he talked about being between offered and answered prayer. But I was truly blown away when he quoted and read the exact verses my friend had shared in Daniel Chapter 10 verse 12.
The God of the Universe cared enough about little old me, to send countless people to pray, drop off practical gifts of love and encourage me through His word. Then confirm it.
I sobbed uncontrollably yet was filled with joy at the same time. God was speaking to my heart. He loved me so much. I knew that but it took this illness to experience it in such a powerful way. I’m filled with inexpressible joy at God’s goodness and love lavished on us through this difficult illness.
It’s no coincidence that it’s 3 weeks tomorrow, 21 days, and I feel fully recovered. If God said it I believe it.