We consider ourselves to be a healthy family. We can’t recall the last time any of us had been ill and to visit the GP. We have a healthy and active lifestyle. I’m in my early 40’s and usually have a balanced diet with the occasional junk food. I aim to go for weekly runs and atleast one annual 10K / Half marathon and also enjoy taking part in endurance events like Tough Mudder etc. So while I’m not a health freak, these occasional activities do keep me active. Covid-19 can affect anyone no matter what walk of life you are from nor how healthy or active your lifestyle is nor how old or young you are.
We are writing this so that it is an encouragement for people and thier loved ones who are affected by the virus. This is a story of our fight with Covid 19 and detailed description of my struggle with the virus in the words of my wife:
My husband was showing a high temperature of about 39 Degree Celsius since Sunday 22nd March. Although he was experiencing extreme body pain, fatigue and chills for a week, we were hoping that symptoms would subside after a week of taking paracetamol to keep the temperature down. He was so tired that he could not even feed himself and there was excruciating pain throughout the body.
Since that was a Sunday, there was online church and the message was from Psalms 23.Verse 24 struck with me which said, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me”. Little did I know how closely we needed the reassurance of God’s presence in the weeks ahead.
Things started to take a strange turn on the 8th day of him having the fever. Along with the temperature and other symptoms, he started getting coughing fits leading to severe breathlessness even with the slightest movements. He started using 4 pillows to keep his head raised to avoid triggering cough and the torturous breathing difficulty following that. Through a phone call, the health service prescribed Ventolin inhaler to help with the breathing and antibiotics Amoxycilin to prevent secondary bacterial infections from developing. A friend collected the prescription and dropped it at our front door straightaway. The inhaler was helping massively but since there were recommended gaps between the puffs, he could not depend on it for the periods in between them. That night we had to call 999 as the breathing was getting very bad and he could not even stop coughing to allow inhaling the medicine from the inhaler.
“Ambulance just came. Oxygen level is currently ok thank God but they said breathing is borderline. So we have to keep monitoring and call them out if necessary”. These were my words I texted to a group of friends after the ambulance with a doctor arrived at our home and checked my husband on the 29th of March 2020 following my 999 call. This was the 8th day he started showing symptoms of Covid-19. The doctor said to me as he was leaving the house, “Your husband is ok now but it could go either way from now! Please keep monitoring the breathing and if it gets worse, please call us out again”. These were tough words when you have stories screaming at you from everywhere in the world of how Corona virus is changing lives in the worst imaginable ways across the world.
To us, although this journey was getting far more than physically exhausting, we were learning how close God is to us in our battles and struggles in life. 30th March was tough and I was asking God why did he allow this to happen to us. I don’t travel to work much because I work from home mostly. I don’t go in public transport and try to keep hand sanitisers in the car and use them regularly while picking kids up from school! While I was questioning God, He gave us a verse from 2 Corinthians 1:3-5, “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ”. This was a turning point in my prayer where I realised why this is happening to us. Our dear heavenly Father wants to use us to comfort others who may be suffering mentally and physically.
The pain and suffering was really bad on 31st March and each and every movement resulted in coughing fits following severe breathlessness similar to someone drowning in deep water. The journey from bed to the nearby bathroom was torturous for him. I heard him exclaim several times saying, “I wish I didn’t have to move!” Those could have been terrifying moments with the uncertainty of what may happen next. It is in those moments me and my family realised what precious treasure we have hidden in the Word of God to bring comfort, healing and peace that the world cannot ever understand. We could relate to many Psalms such as Psalms 57, Psalms 62 and so many more of them where David pleaded with the Lord for His mercies when his enemies are taunting him constantly. These Psalms were our prayers to the Lord Jesus who is interceding on our behalf to God the Father.
That day while praying God gave us the comforting verses from Psalm 103:1-5, “Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”
Isaiah 41:10 was another verse that comforted us, “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”
On the 1st of April, we again had a very difficult time around 3.30 am and we had a second ambulance visit following severe breathlessness. As I was praying for Aby after they left, these words came to my mind suddenly that, “God is fighting our battles for us”. We could not see any physical evidence of this that day although we kept praising and thanking God that Aby is being healed and God is restoring his health.
On the 2nd of April, his temperature started dropping for the first time and he had his first night in 12 days without a temperature. On 3rd April Jesus reminded us of Exodus 23:25, “Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you”. So we continued worshipping and praising God for his faithfulness throughout the ordeal for providing for food, medication and prayer for us through church family. We thanked Him for preparing us well with everything we needed physically, emotionally and spiritually for this journey. We thanked him for making us stronger through it. We also started praying for accelerated healing for Aby. On 4th April suddenly his breathlessness stopped and there was no more severe fits of cough and breathlessness although there was a bit of cough lingering. All his body pain and extreme fatigue was gone that day. He was also able to feed himself for the first time in 13 days. He is currently gaining his energy back and trying to have healing food that protects the gut bacteria after the antibiotics course.
It is often easy to thank God after we have received something but it is extremely difficult to think that God is good when you go through your darkest nights in life. Friends, I would like to remind you that even through that darkest valley, the Holy Spirit is so close by you. Never lose sight of God’s goodness. He is a GOOD God. He will make ALL things work for the good of those who love him as he has promised in Romans 8:28 . Praise him in good times and bad because of how much he loves you and what He already did for you. Our heartfelt thank you to all our friends who stood with us and interceded in prayer on our behalf.
In these uncertain times, may I remind you of Lamentations 3:22-26 which has become our anthem forever. Lamentations 3:22-26 - “The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The LORD is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the LORD.”
May the peace of our Lord sustain you in these uncertain times.
Original article is posted in my wife's blog.