As I write this I’m on Day 2 since testing positive. Yes, after 659 days of this pandemic, Covid caught up with me. So here I am lying in bed. Feel like crap, and somewhat annoyed by the timing, but overall I feel JOY. That’s right. I feel joy even while lying here, head pounding, congested, sore throat and body aches that intensify by the day! No, I haven’t lost my mind and I’m not drugged up and delirious. I’m of sound mind even though my body begs to differ. I feel joy because my family got to experience a true Christmas miracle. Any suffering I feel now will be short-lived. Covid will soon pass, I am not letting it take center stage in my story. My story is one of joy during this Covid time.
Let’s rewind. After a year of five shoulder dislocations, my son Vinh finally had his much anticipated surgery. A 3-hour procedure, quick in and out, home on time for dinner. Only it didn’t play out that way. The day surgery somehow unraveled into a 7-day drama. Unexpected complications had him unconscious for the longest 34 hours of my life. Instead of being surrounded by Christmas lights, there were the blinking lights of countless monitors and a ventilator. My usually energetic, full of life son laid in critical condition in the ICU. It was like a bad dream. I’ll spare the details.
No parent should ever experience this. It was the scare of a lifetime. I felt despair, helplessness, fear, anguish, I couldn’t breathe, I was on the brink of collapse. It was all surreal and all I could do was pray. So I did. Prayed, prayed and prayed. And when I was at a loss of words, I even googled more prayers (yes, I recognize how ridiculous that sounds). A prayer for the sick, prayer for healing, prayer for surgery, prayer for my son. I got so desperate I started praying in every language I could muster up and to every religion just to make sure I had all the Gods covered. Someone had to hear me, someone had to help. Our prayers were answered and he’s now home and recovering well. As a lovely parting gift, he also contracted Covid during his hospital stay. It was another unbelievable blow in an already harrowing experience, but we’ve found the positive beyond the positive test result. We experienced a miracle. We gained a deeper appreciation of our blessings. And I can’t properly put into the words the magnitude of how incredibly grateful we are to have our Vinh back.
The cherry on top is now contracting Covid myself too. As his primary caretaker, I need to be healthy not bedridden. How can I take care of my son while I’m sick too?!? Of course I’m frustrated at what can only be deemed as a “WTF moment”. To be sick is one thing, but timing wise this completely sucks. There is no eloquent way to describe it. Sucky plus what rhymes with it and starts with an F.
Fortunately I have the best support group of friends and family, so I got the venting and frustration quickly out of my system. I realize that while my body aches, my heart is full and strong. Full of love and gratitude. While the timing isn’t best, this sickness and this pandemic does not take away the blessings that fill my life. It’s a tiny hiccup in this big, beautiful life that we are blessed to have. Not everyone is as fortunate. I painfully saw that firsthand while in the ICU.
It may sound sappy, but I’m lying here counting my blessings feeling so much joy. Scrolling through social media, it’s quite the opposite. All I see is complaints. Covid, curfews, closures… it’s all a circus. No one wants to be in whatever situation this is. Sometimes it’s hard to see beyond what’s happening right now. But here’s a thought: switch the narrative from what you’re missing to what you have. Take joy in having your health. Take joy in having friends and family that love you, even if you’re not together right now. Take joy in the promise of tomorrow, as it’s never guaranteed. Take joy in every little blessing. Life is made of big and small moments, each one a blessing in itself.
This Christmas was hard for my family. There were no matching pyjamas this year. No fancy feasts. No sleepovers while waiting for Santa. No anticipation of Christmas morning full of excitement and gifts to open. We simply had a couple of hours together on Christmas Eve before heartbreakingly having to split up and spend Christmas apart. And now New Year’s Eve finds my son and I quarantining. Him in his basement bubble, me upstairs in my room. We need a tunnel, but as that’s not happening we take heart in the fact that we are all home, under the same roof. I’ll be ringing in the new year alone with my vitamin C and box of tissues. There may be no sparkly dresses, champagne and hugs and kisses at midnight, but I take joy in knowing there will be plenty of that soon after. We are blessed. We will overcome all this madness. For now, I take joy in the little things, like my daughter comforting me from other side of the door, my husband’s soup made with love, texting my son (a.k.a. Covid Bestie), and being in my own bed and not sleeping in a hospital again. I’m not letting Covid take away my joy, please don’t let it rob you of yours.
Joy is the ability to see light beyond the troubled times. Take heart, embrace the joy no matter how small it may appear.
Wishing you & your loved ones a new year filled with love, laughter, good health (lots of that please) and of course JOY!A million heartfelt thank you’s to friends & family who prayed with us, held us up and shared their love & support. We are also beyond grateful to the team of exceptional doctors and nurses at the Montreal Children’s Hospital and Shriners who tirelessly worked to save and nurture our son back to health. 🙏🏻❤️