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  • Writer's pictureChristina

Being the Patient, February 2024

It was my third time testing positive for COVID, but I’ve probably had COVID twice that many times. Interesting things happen when I get sick, and especially when I get that virus.  First, I have no excuse but to cancel all my activities for the next week.  Within fifteen minutes of that positive test, my overwhelming schedule reduced to nothingness – no clinic visits, no meetings for tea, mentorship, or counseling, no regular times for walking, running, or picnicking with friends.  Concern about how I would fit everything into the week changed into a mixture of deep concern about the lasting harm covid might cause and relieved wonderment of immediately being forced to rest.

But when I get COVID, I not only lose energy, I also lose all motivation to do anything at all.  I take 2 or 3 naps a day and don’t even desire to check my phone or email, much less get on my computer to work.  Even when we were in Cape Town for a 2-week vacation, I read through 10 books during our downtime, partly just to help me relax.  But with COVID, I couldn’t even get through a re-read of one Austin or Dickens novel.  Greg says it’s like a personality change, and that makes me realize how much over-achieving and what I am doing has become a part of who I am.  It was interesting, feeling a sense of freedom in resting far beyond what I experienced during the longest vacation I could remember.

Besides the refreshment of thinking about who I am when I’m not working, this downtime showed me just how loved I was.  Patients whose appointments I needed to cancel in clinic messaged me to check in and see how I was doing.  One patient, a doctor herself, kept me accountable for doing all those things I knew I should but often ignored for self-care when I was sick.  Friends offered to bring food and necessities, and one even dropped off some delicious tortillas from her trip to the refugee camp.  When I was finished with isolation but not back to full energy, one family planned an outdoor lunch for us and set up a cot for me to rest on when I got tired.

I had hoped to get through the December and January without getting COVID again, and I tried to be so careful when visiting sick patients, so it was disappointing that I didn’t avoid it.  But at the same time, this virus is one of the only times when I am forced to fully rest, to remember who I am when I’m not working, and to sit and receive care from those for whom I usually provide care.  It’s such a powerful reminder of what’s important, and how many seemingly necessary things could be cut back or cancelled if necessary. I praise God that my symptoms were mild, my taste is coming back, and if I can walk for twenty minutes tomorrow I’ll start trying to jog again by next week.  Hopefully this time I can carry the lessons learned with me even as I go back to my usual routine.

This month please pray for the upcoming year. We have plans to spend much of 2024 in California, allowing for some space for the ministries we work with in Malawi to not become dependent on us. Greg hopes to spend the time being involved in a local church in the states, and Christina is looking forward the possibility of a short-term teaching opportunity. In the meantime we hope that the ongoing teachings of pastors can continue with us being out of the country.

Thank you for your prayers and support, Christina and Greg

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