NACC member Bridget Deegan-Krause was diagnosed with a presumptive mild case of COVID-19 in March. This account of her recovery is adapted from a recent Facebook post.
I am doing well, my friends. I am so grateful for the kindness of you who reached out in solidarity. In the spirit of friendship, I will share my experience of the aftermath of my telemedically diagnosed COVID-19.
Emergence from isolation, although a very welcome thing, has proven a bit awkward. The lights seem a little too bright, and the house a bit too noisy. I have tight shoulders and shaky legs. I’m still tired and carry some residual irritability (a curious symptom I now am hearing about). I have needed to pace myself and resist long conversations, even finding my way back to my quiet room when I need a break. My loved ones remain a bit fearful of me and the infection I have carried. My son recoiled when I reached out to touch the top of his head. Even the embraces with my husband have felt strange, as we both are aware of the contagion that has come between us.
I recognize the need for patience today. My accomplishments remain simple. A shower. A gentle walk. A text to a friend with a picture of the daffodils in the yard. And a pause for gratitude: For the robins by day and owls by night. For the mercy of the tea kettle, the clean sheets, the loving messages from friends. And oddly, for the strange gift of isolation, for time and space without which I could not heal.
If you are beginning to emerge from the isolation of COVID-19, please be patient and move slowly. It takes time to get our strength back. Some will expect you to jump back into business as usual, but you may need to claim time to slowly roll back into your life. Like many of you, I am restless with a desire to be helpful, to figure out where my limited energy should go. I have tried to be choosy about what I let creep into my schedule.
But one thing that has been important for me: I have tried reaching out in small ways to those who carry unseen burdens. In this I have discovered that some households are under tremendous strain. Dysfunction is amped up. Some needs are compounded by all that this illness demands of us. We need to be vigilant and take care of each other.
I share my experience with you in hope that it might shed some light on a fearsome thing. Healing comes, and death need not be the end of the story. My milder version of this sickness, thankfully, is the norm. My isolation has come to an end, but my family’s quarantine continues. Re-integration among even the best of friends and neighbors will be complex and awkward. Surely patience, time and forbearance will help heal and protect us from the effects of this illness that lingers in and among us.