Friends and Family;
It is time to ask for prayers for myself, as well as for many other people in the United States and around the world.
Some of you know that I was participating in a Migrant Trails Study Tour with the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship in Central America and then at the U.S./Mexican border.
I arrived Feb. 15th in El Salvador and spent two days with a friend and her family that I had not seen in 14 years! I met her during my Europe Year, 2006, in Northern Ireland on the North Irish Sea at a place called Corrymeela. We have kept in touch through the years thanks to Facebook!
I joined the group of Presbyterians and others that I was to travel with on Monday the 17th of February and began the program with them learning about migration to the United States and the causes of it. We were in El Salvador for several days before we traveled on to Guatemala by bus late in the day on ---------------. I participated in the program for three days, including visit to CEDEPCA, a place that I have heard about for years and was wildly excited to finally see in person! On the fourth day I came down with a bad cough and asked if I could be taken to see a doctor.
I was taken to a private hospital in Guatemala City. The doctors there took blood and did a thorough workup on me. The verdit: a virus and pneumonia. I had taken traveler’s diarrhea antibiotics a few days earlier and apparently the culprit was E-Coli, so the medication had not helped. I admit being quite shocked about the pneumonia diagnosis.
The doctor’s wanted to admit me to the hospital and I said that was not going to happen. I would not be in a hospital in a foreign country where I didn’t know anyone and did not know the language. Checking with the leadership team for the Study Tour the decision was made for me to fly out of Guatemala and home to Seattle as soon as possible.
I was taken back to the hotel and I got myself packed as quickly as I could. It was unnerving calling the airline reservation line and undoing the reservations I had made with such hope not all that long ago, in order to reschedule by plans.
I was to leave the next morning for the states. Sunday the 23rd of February I spent the day traveling. I had help at the airport which was wonderful, checking in and getting a wheelchair. I am so thankful that I made it home without incident. I was coughing quite a bit and trying to keep it to myself, but I am certain it was irritating other people.
I arrived at Sea-Tac, had help picking up my checked in carry on and found the woman who serves as a private taxi who got me safely home. I was not home for long when my daughter drove me to the local Swedish hospital Emergency Room. At that point I checked out okay and was sent home.
The next day I simply did not feel well. I wasn’t able to begin unpacking and putting things away (that still hasn’t happened). My daughter again took me to the ER. I had hardly grabbed anything on my way out of the apartment, not even my backpack. I had a little pile of belongings with me.
Apparently the chest x-ray they took in ER showed that the pneumonia was not diminishing. I was admitted to the hospital that Monday night the 24th of February. I spent the next several days hospitalized, gratefully, and was released last Friday the 28th of February.
I ended up having to take an Uber home from the hospital. It was not a good experience and I hope to never have to use one again.
Since I got home there have been multiple and growing cases of the Coronavirus. I began to hear of this new virus long before I ended up back home in my apartment with a case of pneumonia that is on the mend.
This has been an anxious week. The primary reason that this is so is because I am now in the High Risk group for catching and also dying from this virus. I keep hearing that 80% of people will be fine, there is just a small group that will need hospitalization if they are inflicted.
I am now over 60. This is one high risk criteria. And I have a chronic lung disease. Last November, 2019, I was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, known as COPD. I am now in two high risk groups.
I had not decided when to share this medical diagnosis with my Face Book friends; this now seems like an appropriate time.
I am in self imposed quarantine. CNN just said that for people in self imposed quarantine it should be for at least 14 days.
I have not seen my mail since February 14th. I think I will have to request for the post office to hold my mail again, perhaps until the end of March. I will not be able to vote in the Washington State Primary for president.
I am waiting right now for a call back from a nurse at my primary care physician’s office. I cancelled my one week check back appointment that was scheduled for yesterday. After a discussion with someone in the office I decided there was too much risk of exposure to sick people. Meanwhile I have realized that I do have some questions.
I would ask for prayers both for myself and for all of the other people worldwide who are in high risk groups and are experiencing anxiety over what will happen in the days and weeks to come. Sojourner’s Magazine has a powerful article that is on-line right now addressing the inequalities that this illness is laying bare. Loving Your Neighbor in a Time of Coronavirus by Jim Wallis.
I am going to post this blog entry before I have had time to go back through it thoroughly. I may at a later time discover typos!
Blessings to all who take the time to read this,