Sometimes when I am involved in my work, I forget for a while about the pandemic, but I notice that my reactions to people I am dealing with are sharper. I am in a highly emotional and anxious state.
The latest scary thing that really freaked me out about Covid-19 is the possibility that those who get the virus may have to live with long-lasting delirium and paranoia. This gave me a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. When I was in ICU for pneumonia and full body sepsis in 2009, I had frightening delusions. I had no way of knowing what was real and what was delusion. I came in and out of time, confused and disoriented. The hospital staff were out to get me. A looming shadowed creature came to take my hand to take me away. I didn’t take the hand, but I was so uncertain, unsure what I should do. People laughed at me. When I asked where my husband was, a nurse asked me what made me think he wanted to see me. I was tied and bound and ignored. I was sawed in half, my upper body placed in one cage, my lower body in the next. And the worst…these blank in between times where I was nothing at all. And no one cared. I have never felt sadder and more afraid. I have become afraid of death. I wasn’t before. Now I worry that there is no death, just this blank oblivion.
During recovery I couldn’t sleep with the light off. I woke up curled up tightly. My jaw was sore from clenching it closed throughout the night. This is something some who are intubated do after the tube comes out. Charles woke me to the sounds of my screams.
I have been telling myself that I am not afraid of getting Covid-19, but clearly I am. I am fucking petrified of going thru anything remotely resembling what I went thru with my health crisis a decade ago, the one the doctors knew would kill me.
I am staying at home and not going to any public places unless I absolutely have to. I read news items about people gathering in large groups to drink and party and I am angry. But I know this anger isn’t constructive. I repeat the “I can control only myself.” The thing is…I had no control over suddenly developing a pneumonia so serious I could no longer breathe. I had no control over my colon suddenly turning toxic. I had no control over the sepsis. It happened out of the blue. The doctors were not able to figure out why I got sick. I was a healthy 46-year old woman. Until I wasn’t.
I have been trying to ignore my fear, not on purpose. I hadn’t realized I was. The thing is…I’m not good at ignoring my distress and worries. They generally slip out sideways. I may suddenly get angry or worried about something completely unrelated and it takes a while before I can figure out where these emotions are coming from.
So it’s important for me to acknowledge this fear and realization in myself. I am frightened of getting Covid-19. I am frightened of the delusions returning. I am frightened I won’t be able to survive or that if I do survive, I will be in horrible physical pain and emotional distress. Helpless.
And the ghosts from my delusions are still with me.