I realize it’s Easter and not Thanksgiving, but today is a major holiday in the U.S., and the first major holiday we’ve all been forced to spend while practicing self-quarantining and social distancing. It also makes for Day 15 of my COVID-19-positive journey, which is why I’ve spent my morning reflecting on where I’m at right now in my life.
Before I get into my reflections, I should probably give a quick update on my health:
I am now past the amount of time that it takes most people with mild cases of COVID-19 to recover. While I can’t say that I’ve fully recovered, I am undoubtedly doing better than I was doing last week and the week before.
The fever is gone, I’m no longer experiencing chills or the sweats, my throat is feeling a lot better, and I seem to be less fatigued. That being said, I still have a headache, I’m still congested and coughing, my hearing remains obstructed, and I’ve yet to regain my senses of smell and taste.
Since my brittle type 1 diabetes often slows down my recovery time to almost a screeching halt, I’m expecting it’ll be several additional weeks before I’m fully recovered from the ‘rona. But that’s okay.
My reflections this morning included feelings of gratitude over having a relatively mild case of the COVID, of being mostly recovered at this point, and of the fact that I don’t seem to have passed the virus on to anyone else at this point.
I’m thankful that the overall mortality rate of COVID-19 remains low. I’m thankful that this absurd alternate reality seems to be generating deeper conversations over healthcare, the economy, wages for “essential workers,” how illnesses disproportionately impact those of lower socioeconomic statuses and certain persons of color, disparity in access to the food and supply chain, and our need to be better equipped for the probable unknown.
I’m thankful that this pandemic has revealed and highlighted the bravery, selflessness, ingenuity, and huge hearts of so many special souls out there. I’m thankful for all those in the healthcare, grocery, trucking, and law enforcement/security industries putting their personal health and safety on the line so that the rest of us can keep some semblance of health, safety, and normalcy in our lives.
Turning to my own life, I’m thankful that this virus didn’t leave me or Yvens with any permanent lung damage. I’m thankful that we were both able to recover safely and comfortably in our own home. I’m incredibly thankful that we’ve been able to pay our bills and buy enough food and supplies to get us through this time.
I am so thankful that we live in a day and age in which we can endure this pandemic from the comfort of our home, stay entertained by a plethora of streaming services, e-book and audiobook apps, and the Internet in general, and stay connected with our friends and family through text, phone calls, emails, social media, and video-calling services. Without even thinking about the advances in medicine and healthcare nowadays, imagine what self-quarantining and social distancing would’ve been like even fifty years ago!
Amidst all this fear and uncertainty, there really is a lot to be thankful for.
And what I’m probably most thankful for right now is the avalanche of love, concern, and support that my friends, family, and former colleagues have shown me over the last two weeks. You guys (and gals, and non-conforming others)—I don’t think you understand how much your texts, messages, emails, comments, and calls kept my spirit up as I fought this thing.
One of you messaged me today and told me that I was unstoppable. Okay, sure—I entitled my upcoming memoir “Relentless.” (Thanks, once again, to the incredibly talented Lisa Hopey for the gorgeous cover art!)
I get that I act as if nothing can take me down, that I’ve been through a lot with my health, and that, as of yet, nothing has taken me down for good. But I’m not doing this all by myself, people! I’m not the one who’s unstoppable—WE are unstoppable when we support one another and lift each other up during the hard times.
I know for certain that if I’d been born in 1963 instead of 1983, I wouldn’t have made it to be thirty-six years old. Hell, I probably wouldn’t have made it to sixteen! Yes, that’s due to medical advancements in neurosurgery and diabetes and pain management, but it’s also due to the incredible doctors and nurses who’ve helped me along the way (especially Mary Johnston, R.N.)! They’ve helped to make me unstoppable. My parents and all that they’ve taught me has given me the mental strength and determination to be unstoppable. My friends, family, former colleagues, mentors, and every one of my dear readers make me feel heard and important and supported and unstoppable.
Yes, I’ve worked hard and done my best to persevere, but without continuing to sound like I’m giving an Oscars acceptance speech, the version of me that’s relentless and seemingly unstoppable isn’t a single person functioning by herself—she’s the collective community of people who inspire and support and encourage her every step of the way.
That’s who’s unstoppable, and that’s what we all should be thankful for today. Human beings aren’t meant to stand alone. We’re meant to live in groups and work together for the greater good. We’ve seen so many examples of that over the last few months.
Take some time today and in the coming weeks and months to appreciate all those who’ve helped you survive and thrive thus far. If you can, make sure you’re doing your part to help others feel supported and loved. As of today, every single one of us is unstoppable. We’re all alive, despite the health problems and emotional struggles and general setbacks, mishaps, and mistakes we’ve all been through.
We’re here. We’ve made it. Let’s party (in separate spaces for now)!
Happy Thanks-Easter Sunday, everybody!