This blog category is the journaling and journey-ing of my quest to say (with cautious sincerity) “Hello, Anxiety” and to take a look at the condition from my “me-andering” views.
So for some reason (denial? avoidance? embarrassment?—I excel at all three), I have been hesitant to blog about what has been going on in our lives recently. But I have decided that it will be … healthy to do so.
On January 17, HR—Husband Robert, remember?—tested positive for Omicron. Two days later, I did as well. No clue how that happened. We are both fully vaccinated with the booster. And we have tried to be so careful. We experienced relatively mild symptoms for about a week or so. Then I got better. Robert did not. He got worse. Much worse.
Initially our primary care doc thought he had a secondary infection of the flu and was given prednisone and a Z pack. He didn’t get much better. His body became so painfully achy that he started having trouble walking by himself. And his breathing got very labored, with a too-low oxygen saturation level. So much so that Monday of last week we ended up in the ER, with Robert on oxygen and a rainbow of meds.
Tests and more tests transformed the flu diagnosis into a serious case of Covid-related pneumonia, severe dehydration and a variety of complications. Robert was placed on the No Visitors Covid Floor at the hospital.
In spite of what I and everyone else would very much like to believe … Covid. Is. Not. Over.
When “all of the above” comes knocking at your door …. Let me rephrase that: when “all of the above” comes knocking at MY door, it brings along its viral buddy, Anxiety.
The first evening without Robert …
We have matching reading chairs in our study. But Robert wasn’t sitting with me.
He was sitting with Omicron. And Omicron’s sick friends, Pneumonia et al.
I was sitting alone.
Well, that’s not exactly true. I was sitting with my Anxiety and his buddy, Shallow Breathing, who more often than not shows up with him. Also trying to force themselves in for an uninvited visit: Too Many Thoughts. Fears. Negative Projections.
And I then felt TERRIBLE about being concerned with MY breathing, when my husband was in ISOLATION IN THE HOSPITAL with real breathing problems.
“Neal, you do have options here, you know. You’re not helpless.”
“You’re right,” I told myself, as I pulled out my homework from Therapist Rubi: the creation of a list of strategies to choose from when Anxiety comes a visiting.
NPA, Neal’s Protocol for Anxiety.
[By the way, my next “Hello, Anxiety” blog post is an examination of my NPA.]
From the “For the Mental Part” section: “My anxiety is like the waves in the ocean, it comes and it goes. It doesn’t stay forever. It never has.”
And from the same section: “Breathing in, I calm the mind. Breathing out, I calm the mind.”
Didn’t cure. But it helped.
For some reason, a communication mistake we later realized, I was able to visit Robert for two of his seven days in the hospital. With PPE and a negative Covid test.
I stayed concerned about Robert’s vitals. Monitors drove me crazy. Purveyors of potentially bad news.
In the darkest moments, the I-cannot-think-these-thoughts came. “Will Robert come home?”
Then yesterday, Robert‘s pulmonologist and hospitalist decided he was strong enough to go home. With supplemental oxygen and blood thinners to help make sure the blood clots in his lower legs would not be a problem.
We rejoiced, with a bit of apprehension
This morning I felt so much better. Robert wanted his 1st cup of post-hospital coffee, and he wore his Santa pants! Which has to be a great sign.