Diagnosed on October 9, 2020. Hospitalized on October 30. Nearly a month later (one week in ICU), I returned home with 24/7 supplemental oxygen. There began a painful and long journey to health. Six months later I have sixty percent lung capacity and need supplemental oxygen only when I sleep. I am well and active, but lose my breath quickly. Doctors are hopeful in six more months I will have full use of my lungs and need no supplemental oxygen.
I have not reached the end of my covid journey. My prayer is you will reach the end of yours in a positive light, or perhaps never take a step on the covid path.
I am not a medical professional. The tips I give were all given to me by my good doctors. There were things I wish I had known before I got covid which could have helped me on my journey. I now share them with you.
Sing! Singing opens up your lungs and soothes your soul. Relieving stress aids recovery, so sing out to God, draw close to Him, and let the Divine Physician do His Work. Keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus keeps satan out of your thought life.
I will sing of the Lord's great love forever;
with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known
through all generations."
My covid prognosis was grim. The percentage of leukemia patients surviving a covid hospitalization is small. The Lord sent an army of prayers from around the world to intercede on my behalf. Those prayers, God, and medical care saved me from death. Please let people know you need prayer. When sick people hide their disease, no one can pray for them because people who pray just don't know you are ill. I announced all over social media that I needed prayer, and the Lord's Army was released to save me.
"In the days of his flesh,
Jesus offered up prayers and supplications,
with loud cries and tears,
to Him who was able to save Him from death, and
He was heard because of His reverence."
3. "Don't get ahead of yourself."
These wise words came from my husband when I was diagnosed with leukemia. Take this sickness one day at a time. Don't let satan convince you of something that may never happen. Worry will not help you recover. Worry keeps you sick. Prone in bed for weeks on end gives our minds too much time to contemplate the worst. Don't go there. When tempted to think bad thoughts, sing to the Lord instead. And pray, of course!
"Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will be anxious for itself.
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."
4. Purchase an oximeter.
An oximeter measures the oxygen in our blood. The well-person's oxygen level is 89 to 100 with the average being 94. Below 88, please call your doctor. If you measure 88, but the number quickly returns to the 90's, don't be concerned. As long as you enter the 90's quickly, you are fine. To use an oximeter, place your finger gently inside. Don't press down. The oximeter should be on a stable surface, like a table, to get an accurate reading. Keep checking the oximeter throughout the day as long as you are not well.
I will cause breath to enter you
that you may come to life."
5. Going to ER.
A person is not admitted to the hospital because they have covid. You are admitted because your oxygen level is too low. I suggest you call your doctor first and have your doctor alert the ER that a covid patient is arriving. ER personnel will need to prepare a covid room for you as well as clear the hallways of people.
I heard from a covid patient in a different state that if your oxygen falls below 90, to not call your doctor, but go straight to the ER. At her hospital they had a separate entrance for covid patients. If you are alone or become too sick to drive, call an ambulance.
In either case, be aware of covid-19 procedures for the hospital nearest you.
"Luke the beloved physician greets you . . . . "
6. Sleep on your tummy.
Sleeping on your stomach stretches your lungs and allows the oxygen to keep flowing. Take naps and rests throughout your day. I called this my tummy time. Rest is crucial to recovery. If you are unable to sleep on your tummy, sleep on your side.
"Come to me,
all who labor and are heavy laden,
and I will give you rest. . . ."
7. Rest and hydration.
My doctors reiterated over and over. The most important thing to conquer covid is to rest and drink water. This is not the time to be a macho hero. Rest and water. Rest and water. Rest and water.
"Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters . . . .
8. Protein, fruits, veggies.
Your body is fighting for its life. If ever there was a time to eat healthy, this is it. My doctor said I needed protein. He didn't need to say it, because my body craved protein used to rebuild my lungs.
"Therefore, Honor God with your body."
1 Corinthians 6:20b
9. Post-covid recovery
Once home from the hospital, we still need to do all of the above, but now we enter a road from sickness to health.
10. Lung strengthening exercises.
Strengthen your muscles and lungs with the following exercises from Johns Hopkins University:
Tackle these exercises gradually. Master phase 1 before trying phase 2. For me, the exercises were painful as they expanded my lungs, which is a good thing. Now, I do them pain free! Woo Hoo! They worked.
Review these exercises with your physical therapist who is aware of other medical conditions which may prevent these exercises from being helpful to you.
11. Incentive spirometer.
Ha! You thought you could leave this baby at the hospital. No. Keep breathing in and out of your spirometer. It was your key out of the hospital and will be your key out the door of your home to real life.
12. Walking and bike riding.
Any leg exercise strengthens lungs. While at home on oxygen, I walked around my dining room for five minutes, checked the oximeter, walked for five minutes more. Keep increasing your walking time and checking your oxygen level. My doctor told me walking and bike riding are best for me. Now, I bike for a couple hours with frequent stops. But, hey, I've come a long way baby!
Again, please check with your doctor before any exercise.
13. Weaning from oxygen.
Start removing oxygen while sitting. Check oxygen level every five minutes to make sure it is above 90. Gradually increase time without oxygen, checking the oxygen level frequently. Do not stop oxygen without doctor's permission. Oxygen while you sleep will be the last to be removed. The doctor will do a test to determine your oxygen level while asleep. My 02 was great throughout the day and fell to 72 while I slept. What a shock! Obviously, I still sleep with oxygen and will have another night test in a few months.
Do not remove yourself from oxygen without guidance from your doctor!
Never forget that every breath we breathe comes from our Father. In the hospital I was sent the beautiful song titled "Every Breath." I listened to it's message of truth and hope every day. Fill your mind with Godly thoughts and trust the One Who gives us the breath of life.
With my love and prayers, dear covid travellers. What a journey. May we all arrive better people than when we started. God uses pain and suffering to teach us great lessons. Don't miss them.