This week has been weird, and hard, for everyone in the U.S. COVID-19 went from being something far away to something close to home. Life as we knew it came to a halt over just a few days.
This week has been weird, and hard, for me also. For different reasons. Or maybe it’s for the same reason, in the end.
Last week, I was in a hospital getting my long-awaited infusions for treating my intractable migraine. I was stuck in a room, constantly attached to an IV. The hospital food was gross, and I had to deal with nausea, muscle cramps, and blood thinner injections in my stomach. My room was so warm that we had to set up two little fans to make it tolerable. I wasn’t allowed to walk by myself. I wasn’t even allowed to shower!
But by the second day of what I call “headache hospital camp,” my headache started improving. And improving. And improving. There were moments when it was barely there. The reduction of pain felt like freedom, like energy rushing back into my body. I don’t know if I stopped believing or if I just didn’t have a big enough imagination, but it felt as surreal as a dream. The IV, the side effects, the injections, the hospital food…all of it suddenly felt like no trouble at all. I wanted to schedule my next infusions before I even finished.
That was last week.
This week, my headache is not entirely gone, but I continue to feel better than I’ve felt in 6 months. We don’t know how long the relief will last, but I’m making the most of it! I walked in the sunshine, I laughed, I danced with my dog. My husband was taken aback by my smiling and goofiness! But I also have the feeling of barely escaping…the dark and shadowy sense of having avoided something terrible, but only just. Because after my week of headache hospital camp, the headache clinic cancelled all of their inpatient treatments until further notice.
The threat of COVID-19 is very real, so it makes sense to avoid bringing migraine patients into the hospital right now. But I waited for months to get this treatment. We celebrated when it was approved, then again when it was scheduled, and we waited for it to come like a kid waits for Christmas day. So I can’t help but think of the people who waited as I did, who are suffering with migraines as bad as mine, and then were told that headache hospital camp is cancelled until further notice- some of these people were just a week behind me! What if they could have scheduled sooner, but they chose not to? How many more migraines will these people have? How many of them are in constant pain?
The coronavirus is not only making people sick. It’s keeping people from getting well. And I was a week away from being one of those people.
So this week was weird, and hard. But it’s not because of my headache, it’s because I get to enjoy feeling a bit better while someone else is forced to wait for it. So I am thankful, but I am also sad. I am rejoicing, but also imagining the agony of having no choice but to keep waiting.
The sadness of this epidemic causes even more sadness as it stresses our healthcare systems, as many people are put at risk, and as many others are forced to wait.
Dear God, have mercy on us all, and comfort all who are overshadowed by this great darkness. Walk with us, and be near to those who must suffer for longer.