Viewing COVID from inside the respiratory ward

Eternity reader Jeanine Baird wrote this from her bed in the respiratory ward in St George hospital in  Southern Sydney. She was in the hospital with a  serious lung condition. Having come to peace with Christ about her serious condition, she urges a peaceful, rather than combative attitude to lockdown.
Please pray. A Covid patient has been taken from the ward to the ICU. This is very sad to see. My new room is right near the doors. This person had their hair in a messy bun. This is not an old person.
Please remember to pray for the frontline workers here; Doctors, nurses, ward staff, who are all at risk through their contact with this person, and all feeling the very real burden and very real frustration of people not getting the severity of this situation.
The doctor I saw today was very professional but seething with anger and emotion at what she is seeing on the news with people protesting, people still out and about, and people in large numbers in various places. We discussed things not related to my case for a good ten minutes at least. She sees people in their 70s who should have had vaccines, whose children are convincing them to wait for the Pfizer jab when the AZ has been deemed safe and appropriate for this age group, and she is so angry at the risk this puts these people, the community, and her, under.
I think she appreciated having a vent with someone who got what she had to say.
I’ve been reflecting on this a lot today. Forgive me. Things are about to get a bit heated.
I didn’t ask for GPA [Granulomatosis with Polyangiitis, an extremely rare long-term systemic disorder that affects blood vessals]. However, the reality of it is breathlessness whenever I do anything more than walk on a flat surface or just duck diving waves. Any incline starts me puffing. Hard. Add the weight of, say, shopping bags or laundry baskets, and though it might be a single trip up or down, the level of fatigue is significant. Part of that is my weight, not helped by the Prednisone that has currently gone up 5 times what I was on, to try to settle this flare that’s making me cough up blood. I gave up work ages ago now, but it has become pretty clear that I wouldn’t be able to cope with the physical requirements of being a good teacher for a while … the ability to get to classrooms in a timely manner and the energy to exercise an adequate duty of care being the two glaringly obvious things I knew I’d struggle with.

It might mean giving up your career, or lose friendships because you can’t keep up with them, or ballooning into the sort of person who gets left out of pictures at stylish events

Imagine getting Covid and then getting long Covid. The reality for those patients is similar to mine in terms of their ability to function in the workplace.
Imagine not listening to the Government’s health warnings because you couldn’t bring yourself not go to work, or out exercising with friends, or to the shops, for 3 weeks more. Imagine then, you caught Covid and wound up having Long Covid.
Your reality might be you cannot work for a lot longer than 3 weeks. It might mean giving up your career, or lose friendships because you can’t keep up with them, or ballooning into the sort of person who gets left out of pictures at stylish events because you don’t fit the aesthetic the host is going for in their Instagram pics.
That’s my reality.
I cope with this because I long ago chose to “build my house upon the rock” of Jesus Christ instead of building it on the things I mentioned above; looks, popularity, career. Health. So when the waves of joint pain hit, and then the reality of lung disease and Pulmonary embolisms hit last year, and when I gave up my beloved, beloved job, I could continue to function. When I’ve been edited out of history because I am not photographed, I cope because (as well as knowing that reflects less on me than the character of the photographer or curator of images) I know my worth is more than corpulent flesh deep. My worth is built on my identity in Christ. Not on any other thing or any other relationship.
But not everyone out there is that secure in themselves. People cannot cope with what is left when things happen outside their control. That’s why lockdowns are leading to mental health issues, and unfortunately, suicides. Lockdowns lead to domestic abuse because people struggle with losing control of their everyday lives and taking it out on their partners.
People not trusting the Government’s health advice is ultimately a control issue. Someone says you must not, and you say, “You can’t tell me what to do!”
But friends, you’re causing chaos if you aren’t listening. You’re adding to the stress and harm of the whole community if you aren’t listening. You’re possibly spreading Covid if you’re not listening!
I feel like I’m ranting a bit, but a person fighting this disease was wheeled past my door tonight on the way to ICU. As they say, “It’s getting real”.
Hard words now, people. Grow up. You are not the centre of the Universe. The world does not exist to give you all you desire. It actually exists to bring glory and pleasure to the One who created it.
We blame each other for this situation and spread misinformation and whinging because we have to sit and stay and click and collect for a few more weeks. Whinging because our livelihood is threatened for a few weeks.
But we could lose it all! Forever! That’s the stakes. It’s life or death. It’s quality of life or death. It’s real.
Lookup Indonesia. Look up Italy. Look up the US. Look up India. Look at the evidence of the number of deaths. That is what we are trying to stop here in Australia. We are trying to save your life! We are trying to preserve your quality of life.
I am trying to save your eternal life. In this ranty, imperfect, emotional post, I’m trying to say listen and obey the wisdom. Of the Government. Of Dr Kerry Chant. Of the Dr who says get vaccinated. Of the Police Officer who fines you. Of me, who wants nobody to have to face a future of health problems if they can be prevented.
Listen to and obey Jesus. He says, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” He says, in Matthew 6, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”.
Listen to and obey Jesus, who says, (John 14) “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Jesus, who also says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”
Protect and preserve yourself in this life by listening to wisdom. Trust and obey.
Protect and preserve yourself for the life to come by listening to Jesus. Trust and obey him.
Cling to Him, because when the wind and the waves of life hit like this pandemic hits; like the floods in Germany hit; like the Japanese mudslides hit; like Cancer hits; like unemployment hits…cling to Him, because you will not be swept away by destruction and chaos. Instead, you will find that mind-blowing, understanding-surpassing peace I found when I quit work. You will find yourself in Jesus’ arms. Safe. Saved.