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  • Writer's pictureGrace Robinson

A Weird Time for Everyone: Illness, Isolation, and Hospitalizations

Updated: Jul 5, 2020

I wish I could say that this year has been treating me well but that would be a lie. In fact, this might actually be one of my worst years to date, and sadly, I am not alone in saying that. 2020 came in like a hurricane, forcefully destroying everything in its path. It seems to me that this disaster of a year is getting some sort of sick pleasure out of causing all this chaos and destruction, and quite frankly, I’m over it.

There is no denying that coronavirus has turned everyone’s lives upside-down, and although the coronavirus has been adding to my stress and making my life way more complicated than it typically is, it actually isn’t my biggest problem at the moment. Don’t get me wrong, the coronavirus is a huge threat and my family and I are taking social distancing very seriously. We have to take it seriously because if I were to catch it, I most likely would not survive. But what it comes down to is the fact that I am still sick with Mitochondrial Disease (duh, incurable diseases don’t just go away during pandemics) and am dealing with everything this disease has been throwing at me during this crazy time.

I have spent hundreds of days admitted to the hospital over the past several years, but this most recent hospitalization was unlike anything I have experienced before. This one hit me extremely hard physically and mentally for a variety of reasons. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, there are no visitors allowed in the hospital and it will continue remain this way until the coronavirus is no longer an immediate threat. That means that couldn’t have someone there to support me, and more importantly, advocate for me when I was too sick to do so myself. Although I understand why these guidelines were put in place, it doesn’t make things any easier. I was sick, scared, and alone during a period of time that honestly feels like something taken directly out of a sci-fi novel.

The best way I can describe the feel of the hospital is eerie. Everyone was being extremely cautious and were masked and gloved. The once full hospital hallways were practically empty and you could somehow sense the fear everyone was feeling. Before the hospital even let me off the ambulance, they had a nurse come and evaluate me to determine whether or not they believed I had the coronavirus. When they decided it was unlikely that I had been exposed, they put a green wristband on me that I had to wear the entirety of the hospitalization so people knew it saw safe to be around me.

I was admitted to the hospital for two weeks with intractable nausea and vomiting. I am not exaggerating when I say I threw up at least 50 times a day every single day for over a week before they even started to get the nausea under control. I laid in a hospital bed all alone with awful body aches, constantly sweating while somehow shivering at the same time, and vomiting non-stop without any relief. For the first time in my life, I had to go through surgery all by myself. I had never experienced GI symptoms so bad before and never felt as miserable as I did. All I did was lay in my hospital bed constantly thinking that I couldn’t handle anymore of the suffering I was experiencing, and yet, I knew I had no other option but to keep enduring the suffering and just pray for any relief. This was the first time I truly broke down in the hospital. Then, when I thought that things couldn’t possibly get any worse, they somehow did.

I have witnessed more than my fair share of traumatic events, and although I did witness a freak accident on the street once, the rest of the traumas I have seen took place in the hospital. When you spend as much time in the hospital as I do, you tend to see some really upsetting things. It’s just a part of being sick. This time, I witnessed my roommate die and I was there as the hospital staff tried to revive her. I’m not going to get into all the nitty-gritty because I’m not ready for that, and quite frankly, the details don’t matter much. What it comes down to is the fact that I watched another person die. In all honesty, this situation wasn’t nearly as bad as some of the things I have seen, but it somehow caused me to think about every traumatic event I have ever witnessed. Now, when I’m alone with my thoughts, all the trauma that I had worked through in that past plays in a loop in my head.

I was released from the hospital over a week ago and am so happy to be back home with my family. Although I am still pretty weak and slowly recovering from everything, I am grateful to be out of the hospital and especially grateful that I did not catch the coronavirus while I was admitted. I am doing much better and have been busy with tele-med doctor’s appointments, nursing, and PT. Now, I am doing my best to manage everything at home and praying that I do not have another hospital admission until this pandemic is over.

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