Tag Archives: COVID19

The Gift of Pneumonia: A Shift to Self-Care

thumbsup

This picture is of me, March 21st, after a round of antibiotics had kicked in, relieving my pneumonia. Today, March 25th, I’m nearly 100% better. I can walk down the hill and back, but then need a nap. I am overly aware of how fortunate I am. My journey of self-isolating began weeks before California was mandated too: around Feb. 25th, a month ago. Bronchitis set in and I stopped teaching yoga at the hospital and also at a studio where I teach 5 classes weekly. Everything began to shift for me internally, spiritually, however, on the morning I woke my 18-year-old son urgently. I was coughing up blood. I needed his help. We decided to go to an urgent care, as my boss at the hospital had said the ER was slammed. In the urgent care, however, there were many people waiting to get in, some arriving from Europe, another from Egypt. I couldn’t stop coughing and I made my son wait in the car. I don’t think I realized the magnitude of the situation then. I do now. How fortunate am I to have been given antibiotics, and not been sent to the ER to be tested?? My Dr. told me it would be a risk to go to the ER now. I needed to behave as if I had COVID, take the antibiotics, isolate. If the antibiotics worked, I’d be okay. In reality, I could have tested positive. My boys had returned from Switzerland and England with their dad Feb. 23. Their dad and his girlfriend live in New York and travel the world nonstop. This family easily could have been infected with COVID 19. If I had tested positive, I might have been hospitalized and been isolated from my sons.

It occurred to me, a few days later, as I was editing a manuscript in bed and listening to them trying to cook, fending for themselves, that this could have been a complete disaster. Had I been hospitalized and separated from them, there were no plans, nothing set in place to protect/help them. My oldest son didn’t have enough money to handle this situation or buy food for himself and his little brother. He didn’t know how to access the accounts that I have. He didn’t know where my life insurance policy was. His dad should not fly here from Manhattan. It was ground zero for COVID19. It would not be a good idea for him to get on a plane, risk others, and come here, risking the boys.

It’s funny how all my life I have lived with a deep sense of the importance of serving others—perhaps to justify my existence, my worth. I learned this from my mother, a child-protective services social worker and avid volunteer. Yet, serving others to the point that I’m not taking optimal care of myself or my boys, makes zero sense. I have been a FT single mother for 11 years. You’d think I would have this down by now. But, in retrospect, I had been teaching far too much yoga, missing dinners, missing homework times with my sons, now 11 and 18. I had been tackling far too many writing / editing assignments with corporate clients, forgetting my novels, my raison d’etre. Why? Because I thought I needed the money and needed to serve. But in reality, I’ve learned from this time of extreme isolation, that I could have just trimmed my finances to adjust to my priorities. Since I have been isolating and the boys have been home-schooling, we have given up all the extras: hair appointments, Starbucks, dinners out, babysitters, gym membership, all of the expensive kids activities such as martial arts, violin lessons, volleyball. We have been forced to give this all up due to social distancing. And do you know what? We don’t really miss it. My oldest misses soccer, but at least that was free :).

 

Since I have been in isolation, I have taken on all that intimidated me in the past. I did an audit of my accounts. My financial adviser was far too conservative and earned way too much in fees. An account with him had earned zero in three years. Bull years at that! I transferred all of it out and am now making my own decisions, my own trades. I have up-dated all of my accounts too, putting my sons as equal beneficiaries. All of this information, and some cash, is in the locked safe. My oldest knows how to access all of this. I have said no to my boss at the yoga studio, who wanted me to record classes. I tried to record one yoga class, but was too winded and it took me and my son over 3 hours between shooting it and then editing it and it still wasn’t that good due to audio issues. My time is valuable. If I have little time here, I need to focus on what matters: my boys and my writing. One manuscript is edited again, another I am working on this week. All three manuscripts will be in my lock box as well.

If I get sick again, we now have a plan. My oldest will be in charge and he will not fly to see his dad (who left NYC and is now isolating in a Tennessee mountain cabin) for at least two weeks – wait and see how they are feeling and how his dad is feeling. Our garage has enough food for a week. He has money to go shopping.

For now, I am focussed 100 percent on this family and on my well-being and on my writing, the reason why I am here. I have audited out all the distractions. I have always meditated daily, but now am meditating twice daily. We will get though this. I firmly believe that we are all spiritual beings living a physical existence. Those who die from COVID19 will still exist. And they will be surrounded by unconditional love. I have never been afraid to die. But I am fearful for my boys to be alone, not supported, and to feel scared. There is only so much that is within my control.

Today, I am grateful for the reminder that self care, is equal to self love. During meditation, this is the affirming message I received: The love you seek to attract, the compassion you hope to attract, starts within. Love yourself. Care for yourself. Care for your family. It begins here, then will ripple outward miraculously.

Take good care all,

L. xo