I am a 58-year-old doctor, black, with underlying conditions, and for the last two weeks gong on three, I’ve been fighting the COVID-19 virus. I don’t know exactly where I caught it, if it was at work or while socializing with members of my community. Theories abound, but all I know is, for the last two weeks I’ve thought about nothing but life and death.
In a way I thought it was inevitable that I would catch this virus, partly because my profession leads to a lot of exposure; and I’m in a high-risk group. I can’t say that I had great fear of the disease. I’ve always been pretty daring, and I thought inwardly about getting over with it, once and for all. Present data suggests it’s here to stay, and it was in my mind that it might be good to gain immunity. Present data on immunity notwithstanding, the bottom line is that I caught it.
I read a lot about COVID every day, from both a personal and professional perspective, so I should know a lot — but nothing prepared me for this disease. It started out a bit like the flu, but it’s so much worse. It’s been a rollercoaster ride of symptoms, relentless, totally unlike the flu: you fear constantly that it may not remit.
It has had a waxing, waning course on me. I’ve been through the early viral phase, and most recently the inflammatory phase. My doctors have said (and I’ve read) that my age, with my underlying conditions and maybe my ethnicity – overweight, black — has made it more difficult for me to shake it easily, like I’ve seen younger, healthier individuals do.
This waxing, waning course with predictable flare-ups is expected, according to my latest doctor. I was admitted twice for 2-3 day stints. Steroids seem to be what have made me better each time. It’s amazing that it was previously thought, based on initial understanding of the virus (since corrected), that steroids were bad for COVID-19!
My latest doctor walked into my room with bravado and knowledge three days ago and told me that, based on his newly acquired knowledge of COVID-19, I would likely survive. At first I took his proclamation with a grain of salt, but because he embodied my type of healer, I was soon buoyed by his words, and since then my courage, which I had lost at times, has not waned. From then I’ve felt I would make it home to full recovery without needing to be readmitted again.
Because of COVID, my family has rediscovered the depths of our love for each other; it is a battle for life. God sends us these reminders to love and keep showing our love, and for me, taking love and life for granted is no longer an option.
I saw my entire family, my sisters and brothers and my old mom, desperately pleading for my survival with the highest force, the Lord God. I know more than ever that love endures all. Love will find a way. Pray until you believe, because life is worth praying for over and over again.
My family never lost faith in the power of prayer. Survival demands a union of faith in God, personal courage and medical care. As a healer who has now fought for his own life as a patient, I will believe in all those inputs prevailing over disease for the rest of my life.
This disease has been the greatest challenge in my life to date. I don’t know if my story with COVID-19 is really over. I am still on meds to improve my chance of survival.
Most of my immediate community here in the USA walk around unmasked and do not practice social distancing unless it is enforced. To Belize and the rest of the world, particularly if you’re vulnerable, like I am, but even if you’re not, wear your masks even if others don’t; wash your hands; wipe those used surfaces; and above all, social distance, even if others around you aren’t