In Part 3 of this mini-blog series of journal exerpts from Susan Pettit, Firefly Guide and writer, a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for heatlhcare workers during the pandemic was reaching crisis levels.
A day in the life of COVID.
For me the grief and sadness began when I got severely sick in December/January of 2020 with a devastating respiratory virus (RSV.) This invisible virus caused pneumonia, severe sepsis, a brain bleed/stroke, spots on my lungs and medical trauma from not being able to breathe. Gasping and gulping for air while dialing 911. “I cannot breath, help me, I cannot breathe, help me.” I’m begging this stranger I’ll never meet to please help me.
Will this be my last breath as I wait for the ambulance? I’ve experienced a 12 day hospital stay with a virus that was relentless. ICU, oxygen, stroke protocol, and post traumatic stress from medical trauma because of an invisible virus which in seconds had me gasping for air. This virus perpetuated a fear so suffocating that I visualized what would losing consciousness feel like as I crouched on all fours in my foyer watching the minutes tick away on my 911 call. That invisible contagious virus taught me respect and reverence for what I can’t see. It showed me the rigor with which gowned and masked doctors and nurses went through each time they entered my room. The protective personal equipment or PPE my caretakers needed just for my 12 days has enlightened me to their plight. The sadness I feel for the unacceptable shortage of protection for front-line heroes overwhelms me. I witnessed up close these healthcare professionals hold my tears of anguish as they listened. Calm my fears as I pushed through each cough. Encourage my inner strength with their compassion. We are a shameful and endemic society if we leave them unprotected and naked.
I began recovering at home in January. The journey back was fraught with emotion and fear……My heart aches for the millions suffering in every corner of the globe and especially here in the homeland. The devastation of death and infection meets economic collapse and deprivation is a tug of war playing out in real time. A daily mourning in which I blink back the tears that rise up with each breath. I am sad for you and for me, my fellow human traveler. Our stories and experiences shape us. They bind us together in ways we could never have imagined. Is not a global pandemic one such story we find ourselves writing together. In my chapter, I want to really see you. See your pain, feel your hurt, understand your impatience, hear your fears, relate to your loneliness, your struggle, your grief, and hold your tears which are just as wet as mine. Am I asking too much for you to see me? A day in the life of COVID.
Would you like to find out how to use writing or journaling as a means to cope throughout trauma? Resources include:
- Pathways Minneapolis offers several free journaling and writing classes specific to those with an illnesses, those desiring healing, body-centric or mind-centric, and more.
- People Incorporated in St. Paul has an Artability program that provides free art workshops, including creative journaling and painting poems, to the general public to promote mental health in the community.
- The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis offers many writing and journaling classes, such as Writing for Transformation and Writing Your Memoir, with varying fees.
- Open Book in Minneapolis offers events and quiet space to write and find inspiration.
- White Bear Center for the Arts offers fee-based journaling and writing roundtable classes.
There are several online websites that can help as well:
- SkillShare offers several free online journaling tutorials and classes, from poetry to bullet journaling.
- Center for Journal Therapy has many tools, tips, and methods for you to explore journaling.
- International Association for Journal Writing offers many fee-based courses to get you started journaling.
Written by Susan Pettit. A hobbyist writer, breast cancer survivor, and on-line vintage shop proprietor living with two intuitive loving fur balls, Coco Chanel and Baby Bella. Breast cancer awakened my writing (I call it lifestyle therapy) in the pursuit of a re-purposed life. Thank you Firefly Sisterhood for letting me share some of my raw truth-telling stories.