We thought we were invincible, secure, too smart for this. Pandemics are something we see on “The Nightly News” through the lens of a cameraman a continent or more removed from us. They are nothing that could take hold in the United States of America. Our healthcare system is too strong. We are too advanced. We are a nation on top. We do not need help. We are the ones who help others.

Then Snohomish County became the epicenter—the first place with a known case in our nation. And life changed so quickly that many stalled in denial even as it spinned beyond our control.

There is no control in this. There is only doing what you can. And taking it one day—one hour—at a time.

It has been weeks since I stopped going in to work, but I have more work now than I ever have. Grateful for job security when others are being laid off, I’m aware of the privilege of being used to encourage others through my words—which I pray are God’s words. I am in a position to speak truth and faith at a time when we all need it most.

Safely home, or so I thought

After making it home from Asia a month ago and not contracting COVID-19, I had little fear of getting it at home. Sure, I’m careful. But not afraid. But when a slight headache progressed and I spent a night waking up every two hours with a fever, all my confidence evaporated. The possibility of having IT was so frightening to me that I could only pray for mercy, mercy, mercy. I went through the next day feverish, trying to complete work by deadline, calling my doctor to see about testing.

No tests at my clinic. No answer at the public health department. No reply to my messages. No rapid response and cure like the Instagram post of a handsome, wealthy actor who lives in Hawaii.

Are only the rich and famous being tested? Are they the only ones who can afford the possible cure?

Thankfully, I connected to a doctor through Teladoc. After 10 minutes of talking, he said I had all the symptoms of the flu, but only one of COVID-19, and he prescribed Tamiflu. I took it that night, woke up the next morning feeling fine, and except for stomach irritation for a few days, was never so grateful for good health!

Whether it was flu, or news, or absorbing all the emotions and turmoil of our world, I have not cried like this in years. The last time I cried this easily and often was when we were learning about Zack’s diagnosis and adjusting to our new life with a son who would remain a child in his mind for the rest of our lives.

Zack’s okay when Mom’s okay

Ready for the day with the essentials: sunglasses, blankets, and books.

My week of flu and tears has disrupted Zack’s world a little bit, and he’s been more emotional, too. But now, with Mom on a more even keel, he’s resumed his normal cheerful routine. He came out of his room the other morning wearing sunglasses, wrapped in two blankets, and carrying two open books in one hand—The Foot Book by Dr. Seuss and Polar Bear, Polar Bear What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin Jr. (which he also attributes to Dr. Seuss). He was ready for the day.

It’s been weeks since Zack stopped working and his day program was closed. Weeks since we have gone to the grocery store just because he likes to have an outing. Weeks since he’s hung out with Stanley at church or lounged at Vineyard Park while Mom meets with all the people. Our friends haven’t come to our house for a while. Mom and Dad sit together on the couch and hold up the phone and pray with the people on it a lot now. And he has to wear gloves when he goes in the car with Dad.

The world beyond our home is upside-down and inside-out. But all Zack knows is that here and now we are safe, we have plenty to eat, we’ve got Dr. Seuss nearby and we know the words, and we love each other. That’s all he needs to be able to count on.

But our neighborhood horse, Boone, is still in his yard by the park, appearing just in time for his daily carrot. Dad is still making egg casserole to eat with salsa and avocado. And Mom is home again, where she belongs, instead of going off to work, so there is more time for reading and back scratches and loving check-ins.

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