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South Williamsport, PA
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This Week’s LION: Staying Positive being COVID Positive

What is it like to be COVID-positive? What is it like to live in the same house together with a family member who has this virus? My daughter, Elizabeth, is a healthcare worker in the greater Philadelphia area, and two weeks ago she called my wife and I with the solemn news that she had

What is it like to be COVID-positive? What is it like to live in the same house together with a family member who has this virus? My daughter, Elizabeth, is a healthcare worker in the greater Philadelphia area, and two weeks ago she called my wife and I with the solemn news that she had tested positive for COVID-19. Our hearts went out to her for her physical well-being, of course, but we also wondered how in the world she was going to keep distant from her husband, her five-year daughter, and their two teen foster-boys.

To Elizabeth’s advantage, she is in excellent physical condition for a young lady in her mid-40s. Being a nurse, she knows all the proper protocols and is following them to the letter. For her entire life, Elizabeth has taken very good care of herself and is a health nut when it comes to food. All this considered, she is very low on the life-threatening spectrum of concern. As she likes to tell everyone who calls to cheer her up, “No, I am not dying!”

That being said, this is still one nasty virus. It started for her in early April when she had a sinus cold along with some aches and a low grad fever — typical flu symptoms. Because of her job, she went to get tested on Saturday, April 4th, and the results came back three days later — positive for COVID-19. It is impossible to tell exactly when a person actually contracts the virus, but the best guesstimate was April 1st (no fooling!) This turned out to be a good guess, because Elizabeth hit her roughest day eight days later on Thursday, April 9th, which was typical for the virus. After a few very rough days and nights of almost complete exhaustion and fatigue, she began to improve. As of April 16th, she is considered back to 70 percent of her normal energy level and with a normal temperature. She will see her doctor soon and expects to be given a thumbs up. Ironically, once she is no longer positive, Elizabeth will be able to go back to work, but the family must stay in quarantine for yet another two weeks, long enough to ensure they have not contracted the virus.

The sickness has not been as hard on Elizabeth as much as keeping her distance from a very active, supercharged-at-all-times five-year-old daughter. The little Princess does not understand why Mommy cannot play games with her, let her sit on her lap and read stories, and all the other fun stuff they always do together. My wife, Debbie, has been doing virtual story book reading and craft projects using Facetime, which the little one finds amusing, but it is still not the same as Mommy Time.

Both foster boys are typical teens that love their electronic devices, but they are also active young men that find being confined to the home 24-7 has a tendency to make the walls shrink. As much as possible, they have been doing some outside yardwork and house maintenance type activities, which is better than nothing. Both boys are refugees from two different continents, and they have been receiving alarming news from their home countries, which has also added to the tension. The father of the house is doing his best, but in the past, he always had help. Elizabeth has a certain way to mediate and keep peace in the home. Her unavailability during these periodic meltdowns has been unfortunate.

Yet, through these are challenges there have been many rays of light. The biggest help for the family has come from their home church, which has provided four meals a week, lots of encouraging cards, tons of texts, prayers, and phone calls giving mountains of emotional and spiritual support.

One example was rather amusing. Elizabeth was scheduled to lead the monthly Ladies Bible Study, and everyone assumed it was cancelled, but she set up for a ZOOM meeting with her group and still led the study from her bed. She loved doing it and said it was an important part of her healing!

The church is very well connected because Elizabeth’s husband was providentially hired by the church on March 1st of this year as Director of Engagement. His job was to get all the members connected with one another online. So, when Friday the 13th hit and everyone went into shut-in mode, their church was all hooked up for ZOOM meetings and other networking community activities. And also, providentially, his wife Elizabeth has been the biggest beneficiary of these new technological tools.

It has been a rough ride for Elizabeth and her family, to be sure, but Elizabeth is thankful for what she has learned through this time. She realizes how much she took for granted a simple hug. She has grown in her prayer life and in her trust in God. She has seen her church demonstrate what a Christian community truly looks like. It is possible to stay positive, even when you are COVID-positive.

Note: for confidentiality reasons, a picture of Elizabeth is not being included, and names of family and locations have purposely been left out. Only Elizabeth’s first name has been used, which is her real name and she really is my daughter.

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