Sunday, January 3, 2021

A Tale of Two Cases of Coronavirus

If you follow me on social media, you know well and good that COVID-19 visited the Youree house. At present, Louisa and I are the only ones with a positive test. Bryan and Anna are somehow medical mysteries and will soon be sent to science for study (kidding . . . maybe).

You probably are not remotely interested in the ins and outs of coronavirus in our lives, but I am writing here to have an official record of what transpired. I mean it's not every day you have a virus in a pandemic during your childhood. I think, one day, Louisa will be interested to read all about this.

So . . .

Once upon a time, Louisa, Anna, and I had an unmasked exposure to coronavirus. This was on a Thursday. I remember thinking the following Monday during our Advent reading that Louisa sounded a little snotty.

Between the time Louisa went to bed on Monday night and when she woke up on Tuesday morning, we found out about our COVID-19 exposure. That morning was filled with switching our lives to quarantine life -- school, work, everyday life changed. 

Not only were we juggling getting school work packets and rescheduling meetings, but we also discovered Louisa woke up with a full-blown cold and fever. Ugh. Throw in to the mix, trying to quarantine her from the rest of us while also trying to find a way to get a rapid test for her. 

Our pediatrician saved the day with a late afternoon appointment. A rapid test informed us of her positive result within 20 minutes.

I called Bryan first; that was his cue to bow out of work and join us in quarantine. Next, I called her school. Louisa went to school on Monday and was likely contagious. Sigh.

That Tuesday evening I started running a low-grade fever, but I honestly ignored it. I was in "mom mode." I knew it was likely inevitable that I would get it. I mean how can someone caring for a positive kindergarten AVOID getting it? (Oh wait . . . ask Bryan.)

I remember wanting Friday to get here so I could know how severely her asthma would act up. I had a bit of anxiety about how well Louisa would handle COVID. She has struggled with asthma her entire life. No matter if it was a teeny tiny cold for Anna, it turns into a week-long ordeal for Louisa with lots of albuterol and nebulized treatments. Before 2018, we couldn't control Lou's asthma very well, but singular changed all that about two years ago. It didn't eliminate her asthma exacerbations during upper respiratory infections, but it helped us control them keeping her off oral steroids and out of the ER.

In her entire six years, she's had asthma issues every time she's been sick . . . except this time. She did not need one puff of albuterol . . . never coughed once with coronavirus. That's a miracle I'll take.

Louisa was sick for about seven days; three of those days she was fairly sick. Her symptoms included: nasal congestion, fever, headaches, fatigue, and gastro issues. I think her taste was altered some because she requested a LOT of salt on her food. She also slept a ton, which is unusual for her. On her worst day, she wouldn't get out of bed until 2:00 p.m.

Remember that low-grade fever I had? That turned into a positive coronavirus test for me too.

I fared worse than Louisa . . . feeling ill for nearly two weeks. Here we are weeks from my first symptom on December 8, and I still have daily headaches and fatigue. For the sake of keeping record, my ailments were: low-grade fever, headaches all the freaking time, head congestion, sore throat, throat congestion, ear pain, elevated heart rate, body aches, gastro issues, and fatigue like I've never known.

Something odd that was true for both Lou and me: Fever reducers didn't impact our temps.

And the final odd thing -- which I would love to know if you too experienced this: I had pain in my sternum area that radiated "underneath" my right breast. Like not below my breast, but it felt like something in my body, deep underneath my breast tissue was hurting . . . almost like the muscle was giving out. That also caused a stabbing pain in the top mid-right of my back. It was so painful it impacted my ability to get up and down from a chair or the bed. Bryan guessed myocarditis, so I started a steroid pack. Within two days of the meds, the pain had eased.

In summary: I hate coronavirus and never want it again. I am thankful my family survived as well as we did. I am heartbroken for the hundreds of thousands who did not.

I am thankful too for the many, many people who checked on us, prayed for us, and delivered dozens of goodies to our front porch. You made the recovery so much easier.

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

I Have Been Tested for Coronavirus

I won't drag this on: I received my NEGATIVE test results today.

But here is the mystery: What in the world do I have, especially since I've been isolated in our home for 13 days.

After becoming very flushed and feeling like my skin was on fire, I took my temperature on Saturday. I've had a low-grade fever the majority of the time since then . . . headache, earache . . . and a cough that started on Sunday night. I'm still rocking a fever tonight.

Because Bryan is a very essential worker during this time and he was staying home until we figured out what was going on, I was able to be tested on Monday.

Today I awoke at 9:00 a.m. and took a shower. By 10, I was back in bed and slept until 1:00. I AM WIPED OUT. I stayed up until 3:30 -- and even answered some email and such -- but then laid back down until 4:15 . . . and got back in bed at 7:00.

So, we are moving forward believing the negative test result, while cautiously tracking my symptoms. Bryan is going back to work tomorrow, and I'm praying that I have more energy when I wake up.

What a crazy time of life to live . . . and to have a low-grade temperature. ;-)

Sunday, March 22, 2020

What Did Bryan Actually Do Last Week?

Bryan worked nine days straight, and is now nearing the end of a three-day weekend (where the emphasis has been on resting and relaxing). He is back at it on Monday, where he will start a 12-day straight stint. And I'm betting it's going to be a 12 days to remember.

I'm also betting you'll be surprised to know: Bryan has yet to treat a COVID-19 patient. So, what the heck has this infectious disease doctor been doing?

Well, surprise, surprise the hospitals are also full of other sick people. He's still somewhere in the ballpark of 35-40 patients per day, rounding in multiple hospitals every day and seeing patients in clinic on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. He did run a few coronavirus tests, and guess what? All of those so far (still waiting on like four) came back negative. Turns out there are other upper respiratory viruses running around town. Hello, rhino virus and human metapneumo virus.

Just like your place of employment, Bryan and his partners had to navigate a new set of rules and landscape for their employees. And when your business is an infectious disease practice, that's, well, busy and a bit intense. Instead of sending coworkers home, they are mobilizing everyone for battle, practically, against this beast of a virus.

His practice will hopefully participate in a drug trial for COVID-19. This means he attended meetings and went through a 20-module training (in one night, mind you) as they try to fast track this process.

Speaking of meetings, he attended meeting after meeting, most of which were called last minute, as happens when a pandemic reaches your neighborhood. He, along with his partners, serve on many boards and roles in various hospitals here in Fort Worth. They discussed protocols and worst case scenarios, making plans for what to do and when.

He consulted other physicians, answering dozens of texts and phone calls from other doctors who have patients who's exhibiting this and that, and what would he recommend in this or that situation, and so on and so forth.

He answered dozens of texts, emails, and phone calls from friends and family, wondering what in the world is going on, where they can get tested, and what he thinks about this or that.

He participated in a video interview with our church, answering questions about coronavirus in our community.

He gladly gowned up dozens of times in multiple hospitals to treat any patient that showed signs of respiratory symptoms, which slows him down in terms of how many patients he sees per hour.

And more. There's even more that I can't say.

Did I mention Bryan -- and his fellow physicians -- did all of this while still seeing other 35-45 patients per day? He is my hero, and I think he has the cred to be yours too.

I am gigantically proud of him and scared for him. If I'm honest, I'm scared for me, hahaha. I don't want him or any of us to contract coronavirus. As the afternoon keeps marching us forward to Monday, I hate the idea of him going back. I'm selfish. I want him here, safe and sound with me. Yet, one of the reasons I admire him so is his faithfulness, sense of duty, and eagerness to help those who need him.

So, he will wake up at 4:30 a.m. on Monday and head out the door by five. I'll call him like every two hours and ask, "Have you seen a coronavirus patient yet?" Like last week, I'll let out a sigh when he says no. I dread the moment when he says yes.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A Kidnapped Girl and a Rainbow

When I clicked on my local news app at 8:05 p.m, the top headline read, "Weekend Storms End in North Texas." That made me chuckle because I was getting on the app to check the radar. You see, when putting Anna Zane to bed, I thought I heard rain, which was odd because the rainy weather ended hours before. Sure enough, it was a hard rain with the bright sun still shining. I clicked on the news app to see what in the world was going on. Not only did I see this tiny pop-up thunderstorm, but I also realized that storm had a severe moniker. This was really strange because all of the rain was wellll to our east, crossing into Louisiana.

There it was in its yellow box pouring down rain over central and southwest Fort Worth.

Because the sun shone bright, I rushed Anna downstairs to look on the porch: sun + rain = rainbow, right? It took a few minutes for the rain to slow down and the clouds to part, but now there it was -- a bright, beautiful full bow of color.

I took the opportunity to remind her of who put the rainbow in the sky and why it's there. I said something like, "It reminds us that God keeps His promises; the story of Noah hints at the rescue God gives us through Jesus. When we see the rainbow we remember God is just, merciful, and good all at the same time."

I'm not THAT sharp of a parent, but something just clicked and connected and I got it right on the porch looking at the rainbow. The moment felt special.


Fast forward a few dozen minutes later and my neighbor texted me about a kidnapping in Ryan Place, a neighborhood near ours. Stunned and confused, we checked that same news app followed by several social media platforms.

My neighbor was correct: Just after 6:30 that same night, an eight-year-old girl was literally snatched right off the street as she was walking with her mother. 

Immediately my mother heart crushed. Everything was a little too close to home, a little too familiar. Neighborhood just like mine. The girl the same age as my oldest. We had even contemplated taking a walk around the block because the rain had stopped earlier that evening. Fear and anxiety gripped me around the throat . . .

I stuck with the story throughout the evening, finally sobbing when the video of the mother being shoved out of the car as she was fighting to save her daughter. I saw the car speed off and the mother running and screaming for help.

If only I could really describe to you how wrecked I felt about this. Bryan and I prayed earnestly. Facebook group after Facebook group was filled with information about the abduction and people wrote out prayer and after prayer.

Strangely, Anna, who had no idea about this whole ordeal, woke up with bad dreams at 1:00 a.m. I snuggled her for over an hour, which turned out to be just what I needed to get my body to relax and be able to sleep.

Bryan woke me up at 5:00 a.m. as he was getting ready for work to tell me the good news. I think I will never forget his face leaned into mine, whispering, "They found her safe. I know you'd want to know. Rest and sleep now. She is safe."


With Bryan at work, I hustled to get the girls and me ready for church. To be honest, y'all, I was still an emotional wreck on the inside, mixed between relief and gratitude and fear and worry and praying that those hours of captivity were not horrific.

The pastor preached from Romans and used the word reign over and over. The word reign started repeating in my mind: reign, reign, rain, rain, rainbow.


In that moment, all the dots connected. When a mother was desperate to find her daughter . . . when police were just starting to mobilize . . . when the word was just starting to make its rounds . . .  when Salem was still held by her captor . . . .

Anna Zane and I were on the porch watching a severe storm rumble through in minutes, watching the clouds part to reveal a perfect rainbow. "God keeps His promises," I said. And that promised bow stood bold and beautiful to the east of our house and over the very street where the abduction took place. From a storm that shouldn't have even been there, no less.

Coincidence? Oh, I think not. Absolutely not.

The rainbow represents a covenant -- a covenant that reminds us of God's justice against evil, His patience for restoration, His hints of redemption to come, His strength for the weak. That rainbow reminded me that even in the face of the most disgusting and terrifying evil, He is bigger. He is the Master of the skies, the Painter of the rainbow, and the One very present and very aware of our heartache, no doubt acting and moving when we are blind to it. What grace to us to pull back the clouds and paint the sky to remind us.

"And God said, 'This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all generations: I have my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth,'" (Genesis 9:12-13).

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Thin :: My Word of the Year

It's been three months since the new year flipped the page. Some years I do resolutions. Some years I don't. It's more about how the "mood hits me," what is going on in my life at the time. This time around the sun I decided to think about more of a word to frame my frame of mind for 2019.

And what is that word, you ask?

Thin. It's thin. Are you surprised?

I've debated telling you, honestly. It's a bit of a revealing . . . to share this. To you, it may be just a quick blog topic to scroll through, but to me, it's what has been filling my mind.

In the most stereotypical ways of all things new year, I am not as thin as I want to be. I want to be thinner by the end of 2019 than I was at the beginning. There are two articles that keep interfering with this exercise-more-eat-more-salad approach I'm grasping:

  1. "Redefining Self Care :: One Mama's Journey to Healthier Habits," got me in the gut, particularly the part about equating indulgence with self care. Essentially everything she wrote was what I experienced but couldn't put into words. That started me thinking that the issue isn't actually a number on the scale. My ideas about indulgence might actually be the culprit. Why did I want to indulge on the regular? Freedom or slavery?
  2. Next up, is another article, "Mama, Break the Food-Shame Cycle." Again, this one had me saying "yes" and "amen." At the core, I believe food is to be enjoyed; the author hits a home run when she reminds us that food does not have moral attributes or values. One food is not good and another is not bad. She proposes an intuitive approach to eating, which has me diving into what all this means.
I want to be thinner, but this has led me to dig into the why. Why do I want to be thinner? I'm not fully sure, but I'm working on it. I want to be thinner because my pants don't fit. I don't like the way I look completely. I want to be thinner because I started to tell a difference in how lack of exercise impacted my function. I want to be thinner because I equate thinner with healthier. Do you see how all of this gets jumbled and complicated and twisted? Does being 15 pounds lighter actually change anything other than the ability to zip my pants?


I want to be thinner this year because I'm stretched thin. The mister is smack dab in the middle of his worst call schedule in a lot of years. My business is booming louder than I can keep up. My kids are growing and expanding in needs and activities and learning and . . . .I do truly think I need to get a handle on my indulgences to set myself up for a better chance at making it through this season. That sound fine, right? How about I also admit I want to be thinner this year because I want control of something more. If I know so many aspects of this year are beyond my control, well, my weight is something I can handle. 

I want to be thinner and to thin out my schedule because I'm stretched too thin . . . and my time with my kids is getting thinner. All clear?

I told you this was revealing, friends. ;-)

So, here is where I am today, three months into my thin quest:
  • I'm going to continue my weight loss journey and say adios to 15-20 pounds. I'm going to do the work on the inside and the outside, pursuing healthier choices AND mulling over all my reasons why.
  • I'm going to remember and relish in the fact that my value isn't tied to a scale or a call schedule. 
  • I'm going to remember that Jesus redeemed me. And there's a lot of everything that comes with that. This is my frame of mind for 2019: When I am thin -- and even when I'm not -- He is with me through the thick and thin. And that's a fact.
  • I'm going to repeat and repeat: I'm actually not in control. Ever really. I can't organize and shuffle and shimmy and strategize enough to make life "okay." I can only thin out my schedule so much to I can thin down in this stretched-thin season. I need to stop being so scared of thin! So I want to settle into the harder of this season and know it won't ultimately impact the things that really matter. I pick freedom over slavery. I pick trusting Jesus with the icky I don't really care for.
  • I'm going to keep evolving and listening and resting and pushing and hoping.
But it won't hurt that when you see me next, you say, "Oh wow, you look thinner." I'll know what you mean. ;-)

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

"My Beth"

Sitting patient in the shadow

Till the blessed light shall come,
A serene and saintly presence
Sanctifies our troubled home.
Earthly joys and hopes and sorrows
Break like ripples on the strand
Of the deep and solemn river
Where her willing feet now stand.

O my sister, passing from me,
Out of human care and strife,
Leave me, as a gift, those virtues
Which have beautified your life.
Dear, bequeath me that great patience
Which has power to sustain
A cheerful, uncomplaining spirit
In its prison-house of pain.

Give me, for I need it sorely,
Of that courage, wise and sweet,
Which has made the path of duty
Green beneath your willing feet.
Give me that unselfish nature,
That with charity devine
Can pardon wrong for love's dear sake--
Meek heart, forgive me mine!

Thus our parting daily loseth
Something of its bitter pain,
And while learning this hard lesson,
My great loss becomes my gain.
For the touch of grief will render
My wild nature more serene,
Give to life new aspirations,
A new trust in the unseen.

Henceforth, safe across the river,
I shall see forever more
A beloved, household spirit
Waiting for me on the shore.
Hope and faith, born of my sorrow,
Guardian angels shall become,
And the sister gone before me
By their hands shall lead me home.

-Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

Imagine how embarrassed I was, Beth, when we arrived at Alcott's family home this last summer for a tour. I was embarrassed because I quickly learned a fun fact I'd long forgotten: Louisa Alcott was the second daughter of her family, just the same as my Louisa is in our family. And guess what Louisa's older sister was named? ANNA!!! So I felt like a psycho fan coming to take the tour with my daughters Anna and Louisa along for the ride. I only tell you because I KNOW you would've laughed and laughed.

I decided to read Little Women again in 2018. I hadn't read it since the summer between sixth and seventh grade, so I knew the gist of the story but had forgotten so many wonderful details. It was like reading it again for the first time. I LOVED EVERY PAGE.
My heart ripped with a knowing pang when the beloved Beth started to decline. I knew what was coming. To say I sobbed during the "Dying and Death of Beth" chapters is an understatement.
I experienced the same startle, though, when I turned the page to see Jo's poem, "My Beth." For years, I called you "My Beth," addressing nearly every email with that greeting. Clearly, Alcott had influenced my 12-year-old self way more than I realized. ;-)

So, this is in honor of you My Beth, four years after you've left this world for another.

"One day Beth told her. Jo thought she was asleep, she lay so still, and putting down her book, sat looking at her with wistful eyes, trying to see signs of hope in the faint color on Beth’s cheeks. But she could not find enough to satisfy her, for the cheeks were very thin, and the hands seemed too feeble to hold even the rosy shells they had been collecting. It came to her then more bitterly than ever that Beth was slowly drifting away from her, and her arms instinctively tightened their hold upon the dearest treasure she possessed. For a minute her eyes were too dim for seeing, and when they cleared, Beth was looking up at her so tenderly that there was hardly any need for her to say, Jo dear, I’m glad you know it. I’ve tried to tell you, but I couldn’t.

"Beth lay a minute thinking, and then said in her quiet way, 'I don’t know how to express myself, and shouldn’t try to anyone but you, because I can’t speak out except to my Jo. . . . I never wanted to go away, and the hard part now is the leaving you all. I’m not afraid, but it seems as if I should be homesick for you even in heaven.'"

Monday, October 22, 2018

Signed Up for Surgery

Last September, I wrote a blog post for the Fort Worth Moms Blog about my family's history with ovarian cancer and other gynecological health issues. "Blood on the Couch, Cramps in the Bed" is the title of the piece.

In writing this, I hoped to urge women to take notice of changes in their body, to be proactive about screenings and appointments because these types of cancers and diseases can be sneaky -- and are often explained away by our excuses and reasons.

Well, it's now time for me to practice what I preached. I'm signed up for surgery on October 25.

Some ongoing pain issues and changes here and there mean a cystoscopy, laprascopy, and hysteroscopy are on the docket. In other words, I'm having a lot of scopies. ;-)

So, I'd love to know, friend, if you have experienced any of these procedures, or are an expert on this topic, I'd love all your tips on recovery. Mama wants to be comfy as possible through the weekend. I'm getting uninterrupted sleep for three days, so I've got to make the most of this. Can I get an amen?