The Fear of COVID-19
It's been a little more than a weekend for me to think on this, and I think I'm ready to express it into words. For those of you who have been following me through social media, or know me in person, you know that I've been sick for a while - a little over three weeks, to be certain. I've been coughing, and I've had a fever that wouldn't go away, and in fact spiked in the middle of last week. In the midst of this pandemic, I was so fearful that I was Covid-19 positive.
It's been an uphill battle to get a diagnosis. At first, because I was young and without diabetes or heart disease, I couldn't get tested. My doctor couldn't prescribe me anything unless he knew for sure whether or not I had COVID-19, and told me to avoid medication as long as I can, and to only take Tylenol if my fever became uncontrollable. Then, when I was finally able to get tested, I wasn't able to secure an appointment until a half a week later. When I got to the testing area, they said that results would take 7-10 days, which I was really not happy about. I sarcastically told my sister that the results would be unnecessary - I would either be recovered, hospitalized, or dead by then.
Last Tuesday, my fever got so bad that I had an excruciating headache. I couldn't get it to go away despite taking Tylenol and trying to cool myself down with ice packs and a huge bag of frozen veggies. It lasted until early Wednesday morning, and when I tried to call my doctor's office, I found out that they were closed. My results came in early by one day, and the test showed negative. By this point, I knew something must have been wrong - either the test was wrong, or there was something very wrong with my health. I ended up finally getting through Teladoc, and the doctor who heard I was able to only get a mouth swab was infuriated. He was so passionate about how the test was inaccurate, because a mouth swab has over 50% inaccuracy! He then tried to calm me down to let me know that if I was COVID-19 positive, I should still be fine because I'm young, but I should go to an ER to get re-tested and take x-rays. At this point, I was freaking out, because even though I'm young, I've had contracted pneumonia twice before: once in mid-2016, and another time towards the end of 2018. The doctor had no other recommendations other than to get to a hospital ASAP, and sent me on my way.
After a small battle with my Health Insurance's website, I was finally able to talk to someone online to figure out where I could go and what would be covered, and what wouldn't. I called around for prices, and I ended up choosing to go to an Urgent Care. The Urgent Care advised that I go in the next day with an appointment, so I wouldn't have to wait as long. Finally, on Thursday, I was able to get my diagnosis.
COVID-19, negative. However, I had pneumonia and a sinus infection, both of which had been sitting for at least three weeks, untreated. When I heard this news, I felt relieved. Frustrated at the system. Glad. Hallelujah. Finally, an answer! But less than a split second later came the overwhelming feeling of guilt. Survivor's guilt.
Who am I to go home with antibiotics and sleep away my infections, while so many are left to wait until they recover or die? Who am I to feel relieved when so many others are devastated? Who am I? For a better part of the day, I felt so lost and unsure how to deal with my diagnosis. Though I was grateful and glad that I didn't have COVID-19 and could leave with my antibiotics in hand and heal, I felt so unworthy. While nurses and doctors battle for their lives after contracting COVID-19, who was I to walk away with a "negative"?
Over the course of the weekend, I reflected a lot on how this situation is so similar to the Gospel message. Who am I that Christ would die for me? Who am I that I should be saved when others who live as "good human beans" will face death? Who am I that this good news reached me? The answer is simply that it was never about who I am. Who am I to question God's plan for me? Who am I to question God's plan for others? I am not worthy of asking, and yet He gives me full access to asking Him through prayer. I am not worthy of salvation, neither am I worthy of walking away from Urgent Care with a "negative" for COVID-19. I am not worthy of having this moment be a part of my testimony, that God reminded me how urgent the Gospel message is. It was never meant to be fair - sinless and innocent Christ bore the shame and pain and wrath for all of us, just so we may have the chance to believe and have fellowship with Him.
My heart heart is so full with gratitude, and yet my heart breaks - I feel like I've won the lottery twice, and I'm watching as the impoverished collapse beside me from hunger, thirst, overexposure, and illness. How many more will perish from this pandemic? And how many more will not enter Heaven's gates? How can I keep this wealth to myself, with death all around?
Lord, please give me a voice that reaches beyond my apartment walls to share Your Gospel.