Contributing author: Cynthia Hagan (Member of Wilson and Staff Care Specialist with The Navigator’s)
“I hate to tell you this, but I’ve been around someone who tested positive for Covid.”
Many of us have received a number of these calls, emails or texts from people we recently spent time with. The messages can become tiresome. They start feeling like the boy who cried wolf. And then…
A few Fridays ago, I got one of those Covid warnings. On Tuesday, I took the test. My call from the doctor’s office came on Thursday. “Your test was positive. Go to the ER if you have a hard time breathing.” After all these months of being very careful—and fearful—it had happened.
It’s hard to know how to “be with” someone in my situation. I learned this during my Covid time. Words and actions can alleviate someone’s pain, or they can add to it. The curious questions early on were hard, mostly because they increased my anxiety. “Where do you think you got it?” “Have you lost your sense of taste?” “Can you smell?” “Will you have to go to the hospital?”
Friends and family texted to ask how I was feeling. Post-Covid, it means a lot to me that they cared so much. But 20-plus of these texts each day felt stressful, especially when my answer stayed the same day after day. I felt I was disappointing people. More helpful were messages like “Thinking and praying for you, text or call back if you want to talk.”
Some people asked, “Do you need anything?” Again, I’m thankful for each one of them. At the time, though, I was usually too tired to know the answer. More helpful was “What time can I bring dinner over?” And I loved questions like “I’m going to Trader Joe’s. What can I get you?” Knowing she already planned to go to a specific store kept me from feeling that I was sending a Covid-free friend into the jungle of a supermarket. Most days, the only human I saw was the friend who waved from 10 feet away after leaving a meal or groceries. A heart-warming sight!
Now, three weeks after my diagnosis, I’ve been declared 7 to 10 days past being contagious. I’m allegedly immune for a while. I don’t feel immune, though. I’m tired. Sometimes I’m short of breath. I still can’t smell. I feel unsure how to re-enter life during a pandemic. Will my friends feel comfortable being around me? Should I just stay away from them?
Now I’m the one asking questions that are hard to answer!
If someone you know comes down with Covid, maybe this will give you ideas. When you ask questions, think about how they’ll impact the person. Ask the Lord to show you what will bring grace and life to your friend. Aching head, irrational thinking and all, they need to lean on God, and they’ll be stronger knowing you’re with them.