Again, this is not really a Bonanza but it is so fun to alliterate!
I had my second lesson with Andrew Burn this week and learned that Switzerland changes Daylight Savings Time two weeks after we do in the United States - I had no idea.
Working intentionally to practice this past month revealed many things:
it's challenging to carve out time for a "new" endeavor
it's challenging to motivate myself for an endeavor at which I am not "good"
it's challenging to think musically when I'm struggling with fundamentals
FUNDAMENTALS, FUNDAMENTALS, FUNDAMENTALS
while the Baroque bassoon is a different instrument from my modern bassoon, and should be treated as such, the approach to learning is the same
Andrew has been working to help me sort out my reeds. I have three reeds that were supplied to my by Leslie Ross and a fourth reed which I purchased from a Baroque reedmaker in Canada. None of these are easy to play on for various reasons, pitch and response being the biggest issues. Andrew graciously sent me four of his old reeds to get a sense of their potential for matching my instrument. They worked well and were appropriately pitched which was a huge relief. My proposal for my sabbatical includes learning Baroque reedmaking but I must admit, I'm so overwhelmed with learning the instrument and the performance practice, it's hard to imagine at this point how I will also manage learning reedmaking.
Our lesson together went well enough. Andrew performs and teaches at a level vastly superior to where I am currently playing or even at which I have knowledge. It's wonderful to hear him play in lessons, the nuance of style, character and rhythm is immediately beautiful. Unfortunately, I'm still so mired in the logistics of playing, I'm not able to respond and make quick adjustments in my lesson.
This is a crucial illustration of an ongoing challenge I have with my own students. One of my single greatest frustrations with my teaching is feeling vastly underutilized by most of my studio. I want to to talk about making beautiful music. In reality, I spend most lessons with students reminding them to flick, half-hole, fix fingerings, adjust reeds, model practicing; living in the world of fundamentals. But in this process I'm reminded that they are struggling with those fundamentals and therefore cannot jump ahead to the communication of beautiful music.
One of my goals for this sabbatical is to ponder this quandary: how can I get my students to master their fundamentals earlier in their studies (though we never abandon fundamentals) so that we can get to music-making. This is a process addressed each semester but also within the arc of 8 semesters of collegiate study. Determining when in each lesson, when in each semester, and when in their total studies I stop hearing the minutiae of scales, technique etc and pass that responsibility over to them to manage on their own so that we can spend more of our time together working on the music made possible by robust fundamentals. As part of that careful process, when and what repertoire to select that challenges and compliments their foundational work without overwhelming.
This week's lesson with Andrew demonstrated that I have made progress on the instrument, finding more clarity in my tone, improved intonation, and early attempts at ornamentation. He also encouraged me to do some needed repair work to the instrument to fix the stuck low b-flat key on my own which is pictured below. Finally, a recording of my current progress.
It was wonderful...and humbling...and a reminder of so many things I say to my students which are now being said to me:
figure out your fingerings (so we can focus on music)
"It all sounds the same..."
But first, I need to back up to explain why I'm studying with a Swiss-based historical bassoonist over Zoom.
In 2019 I ordered a Baroque bassoon from Leslie Ross, bassoon-maker. Over the years, and because of a few less than positive experiences, it became obvious that I need to learn a lot more about performance practice. The opportunity presented itself to have a bassoon built and I seized it! It took about 6 months to receive the bassoon. You can watch my unboxing and first horrible notes here:
After receiving the instrument with a few reeds from Leslie and a fingering chart, I went to work teaching myself how to play. It didn't really go anywhere. In the summer of 2019, I headed up to Bozeman, Montana to attend the Baroque Music Montana Period Performance Workshop. It was a wonderful experience to be placed in an ensemble and perform with other professional modern players who were novice period performers. The experience whet my appetite for learning and growing as an informed period performer. The Baroque world is an entire world unto itself with a unique and distinct set of performers, teachers, repertoire, ensembles, and instruments different from modern bassoon. If I have learned anything about period performance it's that you have to leave behind everything you know about music as a modern player and open your mind and ears to something entirely new...or old.
You can watch my performance (on modern bassoon) here:
Enter global pandemic....fast forward to fall 2021. I achieved CFS status at BYU-Idaho (our version, though nothing like a tenure process) which allowed me to apply for my first faculty leave (sabbatical). I decided it was time to carve out meaningful Baroque study with master teachers, players, and ensembles. I submitted my application for leave in Jan - April 2023, traveling in the US and Europe to study Baroque bassoon and performance practice. My leave was approved and funded - wow!
However exciting it was to receive that news, it was hampered with the reality that in over two years of owning my own instrument, I really had learned very little and had made no meaningful process.
I started researching how I could begin my studies immediately despite being in southeastern Idaho, thousands of miles from any major center of period performance. Even though I was a year away from my sabbatical, I knew I needed to start preparing now if my leave plans were going to amount to anything productive. I wanted to function in my leave as a Baroque bassoonists who was well in control of my instrument and some rep, not as a beginner. I found Andrew Burn and his many resources to include a masterclass he was holding with Dominic Teresi.
I joined Andrew's Patreon to access more of his resources and masterclasses. It was obvious I had so much to learn and as much as I desired to expand my knowledge, I wasn't engaged in structured learning. In fact, I wasn't even sure how to structure my learning of both the instrument and performance practice. I had a lot of questions but not the confidence to ask. I increased my Patreon level which included a monthly lesson, and that is where I am at today.
It's my goal within this process and upcoming sabbatical to use this experience to remind myself of the challenges associated with the learning process of my students. There are so many challenges a student has to face as they enter a degree program and move swiftly from novice to competent to masterful. Already, I feel more empathy:
lack of confidence
humility in learning
reaching out to master teachers/performers
I'm very excited to embark on this journey and to document my thoughts and experiences. In the spirit of transparency and to help the reader appreciate how high the mountain is which I must climb, here's a sample of my current playing. Enjoy...?
Many people have suggested I compile my journey through COVID19 infection and long-haul. The best way for me to do this efficiently was to collect the posts from my FB page in which I captured my thoughts and experiences in real-time. This may or may not be of any actual interest to bassoonists. At the very least it's compelling to see how long this virus affected my professional work - about 10 mos of restricted playing and productivity. I marked my return to playing/productivity in Fall semester 2021 by completing a recording project of Roma Cafolla pieces for solo bassoon with collaborator, Allison Andersen.
Some article links came through, some did not. Keep in mind that personal commentary reflected research and data as it was developing.
October 12, 2020
Looking for all your favorite home remedies for body aches (beyond Tylenol) because these are wicked and have been for several days.
Yes, I have COVID19. Yes, I got it from close family members with whom I was unmasked, indoors for several hours. #regrets Yes, I have been tested and confirmed positive. Yes, I have multiple "underlying conditions." Yes, I have been consistent with my mask wearing with the one exception that caused me to be infected. I cannot smell or taste anything. Other symptoms align with a severe head cold + mild flu.
The BODY ACHES are slaying me. Send remedies.
Post edit: THANK YOU for the outpouring of wonderful remedies and thoughts and prayers!!!!! 😊💓 I have a curbside pickup set with every single item suggested from you all!
October 14, 2020
For those curious about COVID19, here's my experience thus far:
Exposed on Tues Sept 29 when I chose to spend several hours, indoors, unmasked with family members. The next day, two family members were tested (symptomatic) with 15 min positive results. The night before with us, they had ZERO symptoms.
Yes, I am absolutely positive this is when I was infected based on my masking habits and activities.
Friday October 2: first symptoms (loss of smell, body aches, headache), first test administered
Tuesday October 6: fever, onset of upper respiratory congestion, second test administered, symptoms worsen each day
Saturday October 10: positive test results, symptoms continue to worsen
Monday October 12: EIPH phone call tracking symptoms as an active case, congestion drops to chest, intense body aches much more severe than previous days
Wednesday October 14: EIPH second phone call, continue as an active case as symptoms remain (cough/congestion, severe body aches, etc) Good news: sense of smell/taste has begun to return. I assume this is an excellent indicator.
My husband has tested negative. We are still waiting on the test results for Morgan who is also asymptomatic. Testing in our area is extremely slow (5 days for both of my test results) unless you work in certain professions and can access rapid testing.
I'm very grateful the respiratory issues have been manageable. I am shocked by the experience of losing taste/smell. The most taxing symptoms for me have been the body aches/headaches unrelated to fever - which I had for only 24 hours. In general, I feel like I'm heading towards improvement as of today though super exhausted from 13 days of illness - quite different from a basic head cold or simple flu!
THANK YOU to everyone who has reached out with remedies, kind thoughts, positive support! Considering my underlying conditions (obesity, severe vitamin D deficiency, pacemaker "heart patient," Hashimoto's...) I know I have been quite fortunate. Please take this seriously! I observe that our experience as a family (nuclear and extended) is completely consistent with what the science has so far proven.
October 16, 2020
I thought I was doing well enough until a friend/colleague reached out to me and shared that they were "feeling almost normal" - they are 14 days from first symptoms (which were very different from mine).
I am 15 days from onset of symptoms. I was not tracked as an active case with EIPH until 9 days after symptoms began. I have not been released as an active case.
My current symptoms: STILL coughing, mild nasal congestion, body aches, exhaustion, headaches, still lacking full taste of smell/taste.
The first week of symptoms were manageable. Entirely online, I still: taught class, lessons, meetings, chamber coaching, etc. I even spent about 5 hours on Saturday (day 9) playing and recording a Trio de Bois project - despite coughing and sneezing. Saturday night is when things transitioned.
This week has been basically awful between the coughing, congestion, headaches and body aches. I have accomplished nothing and cancelled everything. I "helped" my husband move some winter wood yesterday but really spent most of the chore sitting in front of the fire feeling lightheaded and faint...and coughing.
Ken and Morgan have both tested negative and remain asymptomatic.
October 19, 2020
COVID19 UPDATE: 18 days from first symptoms. This is a dry cough that produces nothing but back, chest, throat pain and lightheaded-ness (is that a word?). I know I'm getting better but you do a few of these in an hour and it's exhausting and painful. This one I captured just now isn't too bad relative to some of my coughing spasms earlier today. #overit I'm sharing this because too many think it's like a basic head cold or flu...and for some it is. Also, not everyone ends up hospitalized on a ventilator. I'm somewhere in the middle where I suspect most people are with symptoms: protracted, disruptive and nagging. I'm EIGHTEEN days into this nonsense. I've been trying to learn more about virus shedding, something that scientists are still working to understand with COVID19. I would guess that in our community, people are shedding and transmitting longer than they realize after symptoms have improved (even when released as an active case) but have not eliminated all symptoms. I have many more thoughts but I realize this is a trigger topic. Just be smart, be informed, and respect others who lack a robust immune system. If someone asks you to pull up/wear your mask, maybe just do it without feeling attacked.
October 20, 2020
COVID 19 UPDATE: every day I truly think I am turning the corner and then the symptoms change in some unexpected fashion. Yesterday afternoon I was overwhelmed with chest pain and lightheadedness, with my heart rate over 100. Important to understand that my pacemaker is required 39% of the time to keep my HR over 60. Any HR over 100 for me is usually as a result of strenuous activity (yes, I know how bizarre that is). It became obvious that it was time to be seen in my clinic (under HAZMAT-type protocols) as I was very nervous about...everything. My blood oxygen was excellent (YAY!) but my HR was 108. The doctor said I have now developed bronchitis which is causing all the symptoms I am currently battling. I was prescribed steroids and two different cough suppressants. He said that the bronchitis could now last another 4 - 6 weeks!!!!! Surely, that can't be my situation but I share it FYI.
Today I am definitely feeling reprieve from spasmodic coughing but still struggling with the chest pain and light-headedness. In addition to my normal dose of potassium and Vitamin D I am still using almost all the many wonderful remedies from so many dear friends and family: Vitamin C, arnica/magnesium oil, CBD recovery lotion, Epsom baths, vapo rub on chest and feet, peppermint oil in humidifier (limited), and lots of tea with honey (raised by my student and professional beekeeper Tara Nelson locally - it's extraordinary in quality). Trying to keep moving/productive has become impossible. I haven't napped in three days with the chest pain aggravated when laying down. I began a nice sleep last night but was up at 2 am with a lot of chest pain. Did a bit of sleeping in the recliner after that but mostly feeling more like a zombie in the past 24 hours.
It really is frustrating! I thought for sure on Sunday I was going to be back to teaching and then everything changed so quickly on Monday. I'm learning that there simply isn't a lot of palliative care possible for this (making me truly grateful for so many helpful holistic remedies) in addition to the limited clinical care. I can see that this is going to change how I live until a meaningful/effective vaccine is made available (so grateful to my Sisser Stacey Petrey who keeps me well educated on this process). While I know I am building antibodies, all of my reading/listening indicates that we have no clear indicators for how long those antibodies will be effective within my immune system and reinfection is possible - I just can't even imagine doing this again.
Ken and Morgan remain without symptoms and we may have them both retested just to be safe.
This is day 19 since onset of symptoms. THANK YOU to everyone who has reached out via comments/messages/texts with wonderful remedies, prayers, and support! So much of it has helped! Thanks to those who have read my updates and not been triggered to leave charged comments. I realize we all have differing opinions surrounding community based protocols. My only hope in sharing this is to create a point of information based on experience. I know a few people who have had COVID19 but wasn't really sure what their experiences were and didn't want to pry. I share this only to create a point of information, take it or leave it.
October 22, 2020
COVID19 UPDATE: 21 days from first symptoms. I'm confident that I have finally turned towards recovery in the past 24 hours. Bronchitis seems under control with 10-day regimen of steroids and 2 prescription cough suppressants + all previous remedies. Slept well the last 2 nights. I believe I have moved into the final phase which many describe as "exhaustion." I would describe this as feeling very shaky: standing in the kitchen making tea and my legs shaking, arms shaking, lightheaded when standing up. A little coughing (mostly when talking), a bit of chest pain and head congestion remain.
I celebrated with this wonderful apple kombucha from my home brew. Look at that natural carbonation!
THANK YOU to everyone for all the love, check-ins, suggestions for relief and support!
October 24, 2020
Covid19 update: 23 days of symptoms.
"Turned a corner today" and ended up in the ER for a few hours because I was struggling to breathe, lots of chest pain, really faint. I have developed pneumonia in my lungs confirmed via xrays. A few bags of antibiotics later I'm back home with more Rx, follow up in clinic in a few days. My Thursday gains were clearly just a tease.
They tested me for COVID19 (again) and I'm still positive - to be expected. They even ran an EKG which confirmed I have a pacemaker. *amusing*
Ken and Morgan remain asymptomatic.
I'm a .
October 27, 2020
Day 26 Of COVID19: just gonna reshare what I left on an article about the intervention our Dear Leader received. I live in a in Idaho: no access to clinical trials or speedy testing (*unless in ER or certain professions). Excuse all spelling errors. So exhausted and sick. I finally slept last night for 7 hours for the first time in....weeks...and feel like death today
October 29, 2020
COVID19: 27 days since symptoms onset. Started a 3 week treatment plan: daily injections in clinic, steroid inhaler, pain management, oral antibiotics. Just endured a night of unmitigated hell. Body tremors for hours, pain relief hasn't touched the chest vice grip of pneumonia and now nausea has set in. My mental health is broken. Doc said after initial dip, improvement will begin. I'm in the dip. GRATEFUL for: my husband being home, not being in hospital, friends, family, colleagues, lots of help offered for various things.
October 30, 2020
Thank you to Madison County election workers for providing accommodations for me to schedule and receive access to early voting via my car. No one was injured/infected in the casting of my ballot. COVID19, 29 days
November 2, 2020
COVID19: 31 days with symptoms. Anger fuels me this morning as I used all my energy to call doctors. Eastern Idaho has 2 pulmonologists. One is REFUSING to see COVID19 patients "...because their symptoms will eventually go away." The second provider will see me and I made an appointment for December 11 - the earliest available.
How do I feel: entire body shaking, chest pain, body aches have somehow turned into surface pain so now it feels like I am covered in bruises...but I'm not. Break through coughing despite both RX cough suppressants. I finished the rocefin injections on Saturday. I have 4 more days of oral antibiotics, 2 more weeks of steroid inhaler, and pain management as needed.
Called our East Idaho Public Health who said no once can access rapid testing (unless in the ER) but they felt like I'm "probably" not contagious even though I tested positive (again) a week ago. We asked if they were aware of providers treating patients who are 30+ days with symptoms. She said that my experience is "typical."
My friends, if my experience is "typical" then we should all be living very differently. If 30+ days with symptoms is what our local public health feels is normal and acceptable, then I hope you can afford to be out of work for 3 weeks and when your return, it's only for a fraction of the time and your employer is ready for that.
We have pushed COVID19 into one of two experiences: "a simple head cold" or death with respirator. Those two scenarios give the illusion of a 99% survival rate screamed OVER AND OVER, fueling a careless, dangerous idea that no one should live in fear. Only some should worry - the old, the unhealthy - as vague descriptors which don't even begin to include the many and nuanced conditions that interact with this virus in debilitating ways.
The experience in this article - MY EXPERIENCE - what are the numbers for those in this "midland hell"? When we fight about masks we waste time and resources that are desperately needed in testing, tracing, and innovative treatment. My state has isolated itself from resources through a culture and campaign that tells only a PART of this story.
It is FAR MORE COMPLEX than I know. It is not as simple as EVERYONE shutting down or EVERYONE NOT shutting down. So much is unknown, we should be throwing everything at this virus to get answers, to give care, to get facts and be driven by data. STOP SCREAMING about one single approach to prevention and treatment! It's simplistic, reductive thinking that keep communities from accessing resources for care, prevention, and treatment.
November 3, 2020
Why am I trying to be seen and treated quickly? Because I am a professional wind player who was already struggling to recover occupational breathing after a pacemaker implant earlier this year. What is happening in my lungs right now can hopefully be fixed but the longer I cough through this pneumonia and my body attacks itself because I have Hashimoto's thyroiditis makes the risk of permanent damage higher.
I was turned away from one pulmonologist yesterday (will will not treat COVID19 patients) with a 6-week wait to see the other. My cardiologist hasn't returned my phone call. Local healthcare in SE Idaho is not equipped for COVID19 prevention or long-haul treatment. This is a perfect storm of bad circumstances that have very REAL and SCARY consequences for me.
I am currently working to get into a Post COVID clinic at UPenn and another at UC Davis in Sacramento. I am 33 days with symptoms. Feel free to share this as you like.
November 3, 2020
While I appreciate East Idaho News for following our local COVID19 numbers, the story I want to know about are the 14,000+ who are dropped as active cases and considered "recovered." How many of those 14,000+ Idahoans are NOT actually recovered? Out of work for weeks? Exceeded sick days and lost income? Have long lasting or permanent symptoms? How many have been turned away from specialists in our area BECAUSE they tested/testing positive? This is far more complicated and requires far greater skill and expertise from our local public health officials. If you are only looking at your local death rate, you are missing the far greater impact of this virus on your community. The deaths are horrible but the living is not an escape from this nightmare. More data points are needed to better comprehend how communities are struggling with prevention and then treatment.
November 4, 2020
Good morning! The world is still here. Week 2 of 3 using a steroid inhaler can't imagine how people live on this stuff...it's awful. #notjustacold Did a telehealth with my amazing Osteopath in IF who cast some much needed perspective and started me on a super immune boost regimen. Feeling more positive AND felt some relief from chest pain last night which allowed me to fall asleep HARD. Mental health feels better today and I'm calling that A HUGE step forward.
November 5, 2020
34 days from my first symptoms and I really think I'm improving. Just went up and down the stairs 2x without feeling like I would faint, 2 good nights of sleep, managed a few little cat naps yesterday, even made my breakfast this morning. Mental health feels better which is so powerful. Morning activities will include a 17 minute, gentle chest opening yoga from Jenni Brandon, more walking = likely more coughing and hopefully more restorative napping if I can calm the body tremors with an Epsom bath. I've had an almost constant headache for a several days but at least it's not a migraine! Thank you all for your continued prayers, well wishes, and positivity.
November 8, 2020
However many days since symptom onset October 2.
My full morning medicine intake to include the regimen from my osteopath. I'm on the mend but still struggling with: intermittent chest pain (grateful it's not constant anymore), SO MUCH body aches, brain fog, still have a cough but far better, crazy exhaustion/inconsistent sleep.
What helps: Epsom baths, the high melatonin dose, chest/heart opening yoga from Jenni Brandon. I'm trying to walk/move as much as I can especially after a chat with my big Sister Stacey Petrey - everyone needs older/wiser sisters who encourage/remind/cajole "You need fresh air and movement!!!" Also, so much kindness from everyone: friends, family, work, church. I'm very supported.
I also joined a Covid "Long Haul" support group which has been enlightening. As sick as I have been for what feels like an eternity to me, it's nothing compared to the THOUSANDS in this group who are 5, 6, 7, 8 months of symptoms and serious illnesses causes by COVID19.
Again, this is "not just a cold" for tens of thousands of people. We need to take this seriously and yes, I think we should have a reasonable amount of fear/caution if not for ourselves, then for those who are compromised/susceptible for any number of reasons.
For those who have tested positive, with symptoms that cleared in a few weeks - that's awesome! That however is NOT license to tell others it's nothing to worry about. Please don't do that. That's your experience and Bravo for having an awesome immune system. Again, I would LOVE to see data on symptom duration and severity. Anyone want to data mine that for me?
Be smart and safe my friends!
November 11, 2020
41 days (!!!) since symptoms onset: today I finished the antibiotics. I have one more week with the steroid inhaler. I became truly convinced I was improving about 3 days ago. As opposed to simply shifting symptom severity. Still have a little cough, still dealing with a lot of pain throughout my body, some GI issues, taste/smell are odd/intermittent, generally exhausted/weak/tremulous.
Overall MUCH better, more energy at the beginning of the day, more functional, walking/yoga each day. Continuing the supplements regimen from my osteopath. Resumed teaching live (via Zoom) on Monday both sections of my Mus Tech course but not bassoon or chamber music for 3 more weeks. VERY fortunate that my department chair/college dean/university were prepared and willing to assist - so many do not have that privilege.
Still testing positive and had to cancel with my cardiologist because of it. It will likely be fortuitous that my pulmonology appt is not until December which should be enough time to test negative.
Regardless of what CDC/EIPH says: if you are testing positive and still have symptoms, no specialty clinic wants you around their staff and patients. Frustrating but totally understandable. They only way to truly know would be with daily antigen tests, as far as I understand. Clearly that's not happening in Idaho.
I've seen this statistic in a few different articles and now passed around social media from friends and news outlets. It's interesting to see people's comments which run the broad spectrum and include those who think COVID19 is just a string of hypochondriacal, nonsensical, disparate symptoms.
This thinking is dangerous and ignorant.
Around day 28 my PCP starting me on aggressive regimen of steroids and antibiotics after being sent home from the ER with other steroids and antibiotics. She warned me I would feel a "dip" but improvement would come.
My second night after starting the new steroids/antibiotics I found myself propped up in bed, straining to breath, my entire body shaking with tremors, my chest in a vice grip, pain everywhere...and I prayed to Heavenly Father to just take me...hour after hour.
There was simply no relief: the Epsom baths, vapo rubs, essential oils, pain medicine, diffusers - nothing was giving me relief at that point. But also, I was 4 weeks into actively worsening symptoms! Exhaustion from continuous illness (like any other chronic pain injuries and illness) break down your natural abilities to deal rationally with pain etc.
Yes, I have been treated - in therapy and pharmaceutically - off and on since 2006 for anxiety and depression. I've learned a lot and manage a lot of my stinkin' thinkin' with powerful mantra statements, "Thoughts to Believe," cognitive skills, and faith-based positivity. MOST importantly I have learned to recognize when I have exceeded my ability to cope rationally with stressors = my cue to get help in one form or another.
It didn't take me 90 days with COVID19 to reach that point. It took me about 28 days and a ROUGH night to realize I was in a DARK place. So, I'm scheduled to start therapy next week. Which is honestly not a big deal IMO. Like, really, I'm depressed and anxious, is it really that shocking? I need some help from people more qualified and objective than my brain currently, also not shocking.
I'm surprised by anyone who is *shocked* by anyone else who uses coaching/therapy/takes medicine/supplements (natural or pharmaceutical) to help them keep a healthy perspective on life. Let's be honest, we all struggle and self-medicate in one way or another. Yes! ALL of us. Some of us are smart are learn to process in healthy ways early on. Some of us (me) take a lot longer and still need professional help...and also yoga/meditation/prayer and a robust support system.
This has become tangential but here are my main points:
COVID19 can be really life-altering. Some of us can roll with that, some of us need help.
If you had COVID19 and got over it quickly, super awesome! I want your immune system.
If you had COVID19 and it took you longer than what you see from others, you might start to feel anxious about that. You might need some support with your mental health to deal with your thoughts as you also deal with your body. That should not be a surprise to anyone.
How is support for mental health still so SHOCKING to people?!
November 12, 2020
Brand new coverage from The Economist. Listen to the podcast. Be informed, like actually informed by people not politicians. The only conspiracy surrounding COVID19 is the absolute trash being spread that: it's under control, it's no big deal, you can get and get on with your life. Everyone needs to actively work to prevent contracting/spreading this virus. It is an absolute gamble how this virus will attack your body. Even after your symptoms recover, you run the risk of the virus remaining in your system and attacking all your major body systems: cardiac, pulmonary, neurological, etc. #notjustacold
I've treated the pneumonia in my lungs but I still have COVID19, still testing positive, and those symptoms are very much still present. I am not a "long hauler" and believe I will kick this but there are THOUSANDS of people around the world who are 4+ months, who are still very sick. Many were never hospitalized with COVID19, statistically many presented with a "mild" case originally.
My friends, the narrative in the U.S. is VERY WRONG. VERY INACCURATE!
November 15, 2020
Living with COVID19 for six weeks - which feels so incredibly long and yet mild compared to so many thousands of long-haul sufferers around the world.
This was a good week: I felt incrementally better each day. More energy in the mornings, no more coughing during yoga, doubled my time on the elliptical (20 min to go about about 1 mile). I have only 1 more dose of steroids, finished antibiotics this week and have been able to taper down the pain medicine.
What remains: still a lot of aches and pains, energy vanishes around mid day (not your normal afternoon slump...closer to feeling narcoleptic, heavy weak limbs, brain fog), my lymph nodes are still very swollen. I will get another COVID test tomorrow. I've given up on getting in to see my cardiologist. I will keep my pulmonology appt in December. I start (mental) therapy this coming week to which I am REALLY looking forward. Still a lot of metallic taste in my mouth and intermittent smell/taste. NO, I have not touched my bassoon and really feel absolutely no rush to open up that Pandora's box quite yet.
What has helped? It's EXTREMELY important to understand that what I was treated for was bacterial pneumonia. I have received no therapeutics for COVID19. I do believe the supplement regime from my Osteopath did assist in kickstarting my body working to recover. That as well as starting nutritional supplements. Constant positivity and good wishes from friends/family/colleagues. Several cultural practices from within my faith: family and ward fasts, being added to multiple temple prayer rolls across several states - I've absorbed a lot of positivity from all over the country...the world even! THANK YOU everyone for that love and support!
What am I concerned about long term: I am concerned about my lungs. I am confident I will have a full recovery and probably playing again will be the best form of respiratory therapy but I do want professional input on that process. In the mean time, elliptical and yoga. I am concerned about my mental health. Not because of COVID19 only, but because this year has been insane and it started with a much larger scare with my heart. Oddly, that resolved (in a way) MUCH faster than COVID19. But I really felt something snap inside of my brain in the past few weeks and I am eager to work on my cognitive behaviors and mental health.
What am I grateful for: I'm so grateful that I can be home right now. I feel safe here, I feel protected, I feel comforted in my space. I am so grateful for the OUTPOURING of support from literally every aspect of my life. I'm grateful for my work...I am deeply fortunate on so many levels with my work. I'm grateful for technology which keeps us connected (I especially love Marco Polo). I'm grateful for my body which has failed me a lot but also seems to keep fighting even though requiring a lot of assistance.
My sweet husband LOVES to point out how many different ways I should be dead because I don't have a single major body system that works without assistance. (He really is a very sweet man.) AND YET, HERE I AM! So finally, as FRUSTRATED AND TEARFUL I became around week 4 of this trauma/drama, trying to get into specialists, sending medical records to out of state clinics, I am grateful for the medical intervention I have received though I do believe East Idaho to be in REAL trouble with COVID19.
I'll probably end these updates. Unless I test positive tomorrow, then I might do a few more! If you are still reading...thanks for finding these posts to be of value.
Feel free to share any of them. Also, WEAR A MASK, plan Thanksgiving for only the people with whom you live, social distance, wash your hands, get tested, share your experience.
Here's my dogs in front of the fire. I'm grateful for them and a woodburning stove because I'm basically cold all the time - that might be a COVID symptom...
November 16, 2020
I had a rough morning: lots of pain all around my rib cage, headache, neck. Then I brain cramped all through my class - I have the most gracious students. So grateful for Marco Polo that let's me download "virtually" with my dear friend Lori Wakley Shepherd who has watched my face malfunction (cry) over digital technology a lot this year. We all need so much hugging but let's all agree to hug blankets (preferably heated) and not people (unless we live with them) for a bit longer. This WILL end...but precautions are needed for now. Thanks everyone for all the love you have shown me within the relative safety of social media.
November 17, 2020
Steroid inhaler DONE! COVID pneumonia done (I assume) after 21(ish) days of treatment. Kill the beast! #notjustacold Now onto other symptoms... #onwardandupward
November 18, 2020
Solid day today! Got my test results from Monday: NEGATIVE for COVID19. Such a relief mentally to see that! Had good energy, started with the elliptical, taught class, made 5 video tutorials, didn't feel like total human trash. Going to my chiropractor tomorrow which should alleviate some (all?) of this rib/neck/head aches and pains. The closest to normal I have felt in 48 days, almost 7 weeks. Sheesh! #notjustacold#gratitude
November 24, 2020
COVID19 update: a few friends have asked how I'm doing so I thought a few more might be interested. I would say I'm 80% back to normal.
The things that linger:
I typically don't cough but, for example, on Saturday evening I was laughing a lot with my colleagues in a livestream for Ladies Quintessential Quintet which caused a very unexpected coughing fit which kept me coughing for a few hours. This also meant chest pain the entire day following. Granted, pneumonia can take WEEKS to totally clear up so it's not that surprising.
Nausea - this was a late arrival to the myriad of COVID19 symptoms. Most days I get a 20-30 min wave of nausea.
Headaches/body aches - I have been able to receive two adjustments from my chiropractor which is helping. I think it will take a few weeks to get the kinks out.
Fatigue - friends...UGGGHHHH! I am exhausted LADY and I don't know if this is COVID or just mentally/physically DONE with this year. I know I'm not alone but I AM SPENT and sooooo weak. It's gross.
Taste/smell - it's intermittent and weird. There was one day last week when I smelled my shampoo, conditioner, and face wash. I taste food but it's very muted and some flavors aren't correct. I've read in multiple places the taste/smell are often the first symptoms to present and the last to resolve.
I'm still taking the fist-full of supplements, started therapy, obviously chiropractor, and will see pulmonology in a few weeks. Still doing Epsom baths for the body aches. Doing as much elliptical/yoga as I can manage.
Mostly I am MUCH better but also shocked by how zappedI feel. Be safe out there friends! You do DO NOT want to deal with this virus. #notjustacold
November 28, 2020
Sad to listen to my 18 yo (in less than 2 weeks) argue for over an hour because we won't allow him to go hang out at a friend's house, inside and unmasked. Sad that parents in our community would put families in this position by allowing young people to congregate inside homes. Sad that my son, despite seeing me horribly ill for 6+ weeks, is under social pressure to behave recklessly. Parents: please don't allow/encourage young people to hang out inside your home. They might avoid COVID but how healthy are you? Have you vetted everyone's activities before arriving at your house? It's below freezing, no windows open, do you really trust your residential HVAC to move and filter air? It's a high-stakes gamble. #notjustacold
December 13, 2020
73 days from my first symptoms with COVID19. You can read my story in the @Postregister. I also want to point out that I spent Friday at the Pulmonologist with multiple tests scheduled for this coming week. While I am MUCH better, COVID19 has not ended for me. Please be safe and support those who are trying to prevent infection (or even reinfection) regardless of your personal views. #notjustacold
Elizabeth Crawford, age 40, professor at BYU-Idaho
“I just thought, ‘I am going to die. I am going to die here at home. This is it.’ It was probably the darkest moment of my entire life,” Elizabeth Crawford said.
Crawford has never considered herself a “weak person, physically or mentally.” Crawford is a veteran; she served in the United States Army for 15 years. She first signed up for active duty after the September 11 attacks happened while she was living in Manhattan.
She is also a university professor with multiple degrees. She has taught music at BYU-Idaho for the last five years.
Crawford also didn’t think she was particularly at risk for having a severe reaction to COVID-19. She has a pacemaker, a thyroid condition known as Hashimoto’s and a Vitamin D deficiency. She considered them all mild, manageable medical conditions.
“When they talk about underlying factors, there is such an emphasis on being very old or being severely compromised with an autoimmune disorder. You just think it’s these really extreme, fringe issues that you need to worry about,” Crawford said.
Crawford contracted COVID-19 after going to her sister’s house to watch the first presidential debate. Between the two families, six people contracted COVID-19 after that night. For everyone else, it was like a cold or a mild flu. But not for Crawford.
“It was just a slog through hell. Once the symptoms began, they kept evolving and changing and getting worse day after day after day,” Crawford said.
Two weeks in, she developed a “spasmodic cough that wracked (her) entire body.” Doctors diagnosed her with bronchitis. Four weeks in, Crawford went to the emergency room after not being able to breathe. She was diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia. Both Crawford’s bronchitis and pneumonia are believed to have resulted from COVID-19, for which she continued to test positive 45 days after her initial diagnosis.
After the pneumonia diagnosis, Crawford’s doctors told her they would have to take an even more aggressive treatment approach. She began steroid and antibiotic treatments. She started going into the clinic for daily injections. Crawford was now using an inhaler for the first time in her life. She was now five weeks into COVID-19 with no end in sight.
“At that point, I felt like my mental health just collapsed. … I was propped up in bed at night. My entire body was shaking with constant tremors. I had incredible chest pain. I had been to the ER. I was in incredible pain. I had pain management which was not touching any of the pain. It had reached a fever peak,” she said.
One of the most alarming things for Crawford is the question as to whether lung damage will impact her ability to play the bassoon. Being a bassoonist is her identity. She studied the bassoon in college, played it in military bands all around the world, played it in orchestras to enormous audiences and now teaches it to others. Her lungs are her life. Doctors still don’t know when or if she can play again.
Slowly, things have started to improve. She finally tested negative. Today, 72 days after her diagnosis, Crawford feels she has rounded a corner. Rounding a corner still means full body aches, random waves of nausea, “headaches all day every day,” a “chunkiness” in her lungs, difficulty breathing and exhaustion. No one has an answer for her as to when these symptoms will end.
But at least she doesn’t feel like she is going to die.
#notjustacold Today's activities included: CT Scan, esophagram, Pulmonary Function testing, Myers cocktail injection (my husband is *officially* now my nurse having administered the injection). The effects/complications of COVID19 continue. Check out the study below. I recommend the figures/table if you don't want to read the summary.
"Patients were assessed a mean of 60.3 (SD, 13.6) days after onset of the first COVID-19 symptom; at the time of the evaluation, only 18 (12.6%) were completely free of any COVID-19–related symptom, while 32% had 1 or 2 symptoms and 55% had 3 or more. None of the patients had fever or any signs or symptoms of acute illness. Worsened quality of life was observed among 44.1% of patients. The Figure shows that a high proportion of individuals still reported fatigue (53.1%), dyspnea (43.4%), joint pain, (27.3%) and chest pain (21.7%)."
January 5, 2021
If you are wondering how my post-COVID life is going, please read this article. Classes start tomorrow and I feel grave concern about returning full-time. I had a sleep study on Sunday night followed by a methacholine test on Monday afternoon for asthma. I was exhausted, muscle aches, brain fog, and upset stomach all day. I'm not looking for pity - so much help and support has been given! But I will continue to share my experience in hopes that everyone I know sees the broad spectrum of this virus: from a head cold to death and somewhere in between. It's very real and very scary.
"Roughly 65% of respondents (2,454) reported experiencing symptoms for at least six months. The most likely symptoms to persist after six months included fatigue, post-exertional malaise, cognitive dysfunction (“brain fog”), neurological sensations, headaches, memory problems, insomnia, muscle aches, palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness/balance issues, and speech and language problems.
Nearly 86% of respondents experienced relapses, most commonly triggered by physical activity, stress, exercise and mental activity. Memory and cognitive dysfunction, experienced by more than 85% of respondents, were the most pervasive and persistent neurological symptoms. They were equally common across all ages and had a substantial impact on respondents’ ability to work, the authors found."
I have to mark the moment because I'm kinda feeling like dynamite right now! Woke up with energy, looking forward to a day of Meg Quigley Vivaldi Competition and Symposium events, my brain is saying very nice words to me, put on my Bassoon synesthesia perfume from Sonja Gray Reynolds, had a lovely shake Marianne Leitch Breneman, and feeling so much gratitude for all the many wonderful people in my life who have extended so much love, kindness and service in the past several months! I am truly blessed and deeply grateful and I feel it strengthening me right now
February 3, 2021
Woke up at 5 am, house felt cold, buried deeper into my covers. Woke again 50 min later, house is definitely colder, notice my phone isn't charged. Electricity is out. Throw on muck boots because I remember I haven't brought wood into the house in over 2 weeks. Split and Start fire with the 1 dry piece left inside. Head out in pajamas and boots to bring in a days worth. Wind is whipping off field behind the house. Discover I still don't have the strength back to chop cold wood (post COVID 4+ months), throw in full pieces over kindling, open the vents full, cross fingers. # We're going to be just fine. Send some prayers along for @off_road_hub who is going to try to make it through CO, WY and over the passes into Idaho today to get home. He tried to beat the storm returning from TX...but didn't make it. 2021 still proving to be an adventure! #grateful for woodburning stove, dry boots, and enough strength to move wood.
February 22, 2021
I've had my pacemaker for 1 year, 4 days. Not sure 2020 or the start or 2021 have proved compelling reasons for keeping the *ticker* going, but: my husband still makes me laugh, I work with great colleagues and students, my dogs are total Muppets, and I believe I can still become a better bassoonist...and human. Cheers for one more year in this crazy adventure! #pacemaker#birthday
March 14, 2021
This is a longer article but if you have a loved one still struggling with the effects of COVID months after their infection, please read it. This experience is very real and very frustrating.
It's been 165 days since my first COVID symptoms. There are good days, days when I have enough energy to teach classes and lessons, maybe do some laundry and that would be the balance of a very full day. I honestly do almost nothing more than that: I do what is absolutely necessary for my job.
I have become obsessive about sleep consistency and daily intentional rest. Most days I still take a nap and deal with headaches and embarrassing brain fog...struggling to find the right words to express myself, remember to do all the little tasks I tell students I will take care of. I forget a shocking amount, within minutes of conversations or emails.
The fatigue washes over me like a wave - like nothing I have ever experienced - and I have to stop what I'm doing to lay down. Yesterday, I was on an afternoon drive with my husband and asked him to take me home because I couldn't handle sitting in the passenger seat with my head pounding and my entire body screaming for rest. I slept for almost 3 hours when I got home.
Long COVID or post-acute COVID ("long-haulers") is very real! I would estimate that I have about 50% of the productivity I had before getting this awful virus. I go to my weekly therapy appointments, cry a lot, apologize to my husband over and over.
I never know what to say when people ask how I'm feeling or tell me how "energetic" I appear. It's a façade, I assure you.
I'm going to play a 3.5 minute solo piece on our double reed studio recital this week but I keep thinking about not playing because it's just exhausting. I use my inhalers (Symbicort twice a day and Albuterol before I play my bassoon). I've tried and had some good success with an anti-inflammatory diet but of course I'm not consistent and my whole system feels it.
This article captures the public health crisis that still awaits once we get the viral transmission under control. Mostly, I hope we can all have kindness and patience for those who haven't been able to bounce back. Long-haulers are managing a myriad of symptoms for which there isn't a pill or easy answer. Many providers still won't even diagnose post-acute COVID syndrome let alone take time to learn how to treat it's quagmire of physical and mental challenges. Those of us dealing with this band together in FB support groups where we are all coming to the same realization: slow and gentle recovery with holistic support and protocols that get passed around by those who are fortunate enough to have a provider who is willing to think outside the box and read the latest from the post-COVID clinics in NY/Philadelphia/California.
I didn't take enough photos! Today is officially the BEST day of 2021 because I got to perform with and enjoy my favorite people: double reed players! My last public solo performance was February 2020 less than a week before a pacemaker had to be placed in my chest. Then COVID shut downs, transition to online teaching and then my own long battle with COVID19. I shared my performance last year and tonight with my dear friend/collaborator Allison Michelle (ugh, no pic) performing peices by Roma Cafolla. Tonight was technically the world premier of a piece she composed for me and Allison, "Call Out My Name." I know so many have lifted my name up in prayers, thoughts, and well wishes in the past year. I HAVE FELT all that love! Thanks to everyone, especially my students, for making tonight so wonderful and joyful!
6 months after COVID19, I'm amazed at how much I am still not in control of my breath. Let this be your cautionary tale to continue safe practices. Several months of ongoing pulmonary care and daily inhalers have not recovered what I have lost...yet.
I want to "Call out..." and dedicate this to a leader and teacher in our community who is feeling the full weight of grief on this day Cassandra Bendickson. Please send her love, good wishes, and prayers as you spend a few short minutes watching.
COVID19/MENTAL HEALTH post. If these topics trigger/disgust you, just scroll past.
Woodwind juries are today which effectively ends Winter 2021 semester (short spring break and then back for our 14 week Spring semester). I've had a run of really good days, still with naps but they are shorter and not every single day. I have had energy to practice, think positive thoughts and even contemplate plans for the future. I'm wearing makeup (for me) and feeling better than I have in months - despite a coughing fit yesterday and extra puffs on the rescue inhaler. The brain fog is lifting and I feel less confused and struggle less for words.
I started this semester returning to work full time after battling COVID19 for 3 months which forced my department to hire faculty to cover most of my load in Fall 2020. When I started the semester, I was still a mess mentally and physically. Napping for several hours a day, nursing body aches, intense brain fog, and having only begun pulmonary testing and treatment. I promised myself I would perform live and I did for a whopping 3.5 minutes just a few weeks ago. Most of this semester I have contemplated if I will even be able to maintain my job and be a bassoonist at the level I desire. Which is to say I have been scared, fearful, anxious, and professionally self-conscious A LOT.
Despite all those scary thoughts, I'm really proud of how far my mental health has come in the past 3.5 months. I feel (mostly) hopeful and happy again and it's with the help of a very good therapist and pharmaceuticals. I share this, which feels professionally risky, because I think it's important for my friends, family, and especially students who exist on social media with me to see some truth and vulnerability. Mental health is tricky and constantly changing but it's not a reason to stop, give up, or give in to the mean, tireless voices in your head. GET HELP, GET HELP, GET HELP!
I began treating my mental health in 2006 with therapy and have swung back and forth with pharmaceutical and therapeutic support for the past 15 years. These past months have afforded me the most comprehensive care yet with a new more complete diagnosis, therapeutic focus, and a whole new direction pharmaceutically. Likely because I have the extreme privilege of very good insurance. It's a devastating reality that those who most need mental health care are often those without any of the required resources to MANAGE mental health care.
For those struggling with mental health concerns within my faith culture, watching conference is inspirational and perspective building...but you may still feel depressed/anxious even after all that outpouring of wisdom and inspiration...and that is OK. It doesn't mean you lack faith, or have an inadequate testimony, or whatever garbage your brain is telling you. It also does not mean you are capable of or SHOULD drown yourself in scripture reading and service in hopes that you will magically want to live another day because of those disciplines. Sometimes more is simply more and not actually helpful. Sometimes doing more can actually be dangerous for a person who is maxed out emotionally and mentally. You can be a SPIRITUAL GIANT and still be an emotional wreck. THIS IS SUCH A COMPLEX EXPERIENCE being a human. Be wise and prodigious with all that wisdom and knowledge poured out this weekend. “Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength..." D&C 10:4 "I invite you to pray to identify the debris you should remove from your life..." Russell M. Nelson April 2021 conference.
Like everything in life worth doing, your mental health is going to take work...like practicing...like relationships...like healthy eating, exercise, parenting, etc. I don't think there are a lot of people in my life who have the capacity to walk the mental health tight rope with me - but there are some and they are amazing, patient, loving people. Find those people (person) and keep trying each day. Engage in practices that give you peace and comfort and return to them often. Most importantly, reach out FOR HELP no matter how awkward and hard it is to get those words out. "I'm in crisis, I need help." You don't need to know WHY or HOW you got there, you just need to start the process of healing.
Pacemaker, pandemic, COVID, pneumonia, asthma, inhalers, mental health collapse, graduating senior, AND NOW this ugly thing. People keep saying turning 40 is the start of your best decade yet. I'm clearly doing this really wrong or this decade is doing me dirty. However, very fortunate to have good medical insurance and care because I have used them a lot. Also, truly looking forward to the positive impact this thing is promised to provide (38 events each hour for those who know/curious). My husband has already called me Darth Vader...
*crossed eyes for dramatic effect*
June 12, 2021
Very interesting article! Since having COVID in October 2020, I have been: diagnosed with asthma, now use daily inhalers, diagnosed with sleep apnea, now use a CPAP, and have had a hysterectomy. I thought all/any of these would at some point help me to feel better (fatigue, brain fog, joint pain) and while I'm better than I was in January and probably better a bit more each month, I'm still nowhere near capable of the life I had before COVID. I have been contemplating seeing a Gastroenterologist and this article seems to indicate that could be a good next direction.
June 23, 2021
COVID long-haul is real.
It is being ignored and people are dying from the stress of protracted illness, unmanageable symptoms, healthcare providers who turn them away with derision and eye rolls, and family members who criticize rather than listen. I help moderate Idaho COVID Long Haulers and today we had a member attempt suicide. My own battle with mental health in the past 8+ months as I have muddled through continuing symptoms pales in comparison to those without good insurance, without willing providers, without a support system.
I know people think I'm a hypochondriac. I have watched people roll their eyes at me when I talk about symptoms.
My heart breaks today for the man in this news story, for the person in my support group, and for thousands of others living in a seemingly endless hell of symptoms.
I don't know what it will take for the culture around COVID to change but I pray that people will STOP ignoring, criticizing, and doubting those who are trying to get better when there is so little science and so few providers who are willing to help. #notjustacold
July 23, 2021
Grades submitted! Thus ends 4.5 pandemic semesters, 63 weeks! CFS binder (tenure) turned in a few weeks ago. So much gratitude to our AMAZING students at BYUI who have trudged this path, hand-in-hand with faculty and staff - they have been amazing!
Grateful to my husband, willing family and friends who have listened to me cry and complain through MONTHS of injury, illness, crippling self-doubt and fear.
I feel like my world exploded in Feb 2020 followed by the rest of the world imploding in March 2020. I'm still recovering. I have gained a great therapist, psychiatric nurse, and so many *fun* diagnoses: pacemaker, asthma, apnea, GI, brain fog, chronic fatigue... I'm about half the human I was at the end of 2019.
But I'm looking forward! I've been able to taper off the inhalers. I gave a contrabassoon lesson yesterday! I'm playing more and more. I've performed live 3 times! Slow and steady, sloooooow and steady.
Ken Crawford and I were very fortunate to attend the temple on Wednesday evening. It brought me incredible peace and comfort. The temple is the most perfect expression of my faith and casts the perspective I need. These trials are temporary, healing is possible, and there is more to live for and work toward.
August 16, 2021
Thank you for all the wonderful birthday wishes!
What follows will be my birthday reflection which is more for me than anyone else.
I'm 41 today. I can say unequivocally that this has been the most challenging/fearful year of my life. I'm honestly shocked that I'm alive. I'm doing a lot of work: physically, mentally, spiritually. For example, I've been working through a lot of faulty core beliefs by writing down the mean thoughts that pop into my mind and then proving them wrong. It's been a very cathartic exercise.
For my entire life, I have always viewed my birthday as a jumping off point - more than the New Year - a day to think about what I desire from the upcoming year. It was part of our family culture to await the annual "What will the next year hold for you?" posed by our Mother.
Tonight at dinner my intuitive sister asked a new question, "Well, Sister, where are you right now?"
This is a much better question. Because looking to the future right now doesn't hold the energizing inspiration it once held. Because dreaming doesn't come easily to me right now. Because goal setting and goal achieving isn't the sport it once was. Because I have absolutely no idea what could possibly happen...in fact, what could happen might be entirely unimaginable.
So, instead, I'm focused on being present and grateful. I'm working to share and express love whenever possible. I'm realizing how much empathy is needed. I am humbled. Some days I say "I'm broken" but that doesn't really honor what I have learned...humbled is a better word.
Where am I right now? I'm alive and I'm exceedingly fortunate.
I prayed for a miracle several weeks ago because I didn't know what to pray for anymore. I decided to go BIG and just ask for a WHOLE MIRACLE. I believe in miracles and I believe God has been unfolding one for me since that prayer - I truly believe this is possible and it's happening.
Of course I know miracles don't happen on their own. I'm doing my part to pave a way for that miracle. A lot of that work includes opening my heart and mind to a life without pretense or the demands of expectations. To see a miracle, to receive something radical, I believe one has to be truly open to an inexplicable opportunity for unexpected transformation.
This year has fundamentally changed me: how I think, what I believe, how I navigate my daily life.
I'm not going to write a grand vision statement for what is next. I'm not going to create a list of goals and activities to achieve in the next year. I am going to be present in my life and do as much good as I possibly can. I am going to take care of myself.
Pictured below: sitting in a cool creek in Wallace, Idaho wearing compression socks and smiling at the most incredible husband Ken Crawford.
August 23, 2021
Drove this beast SOLO (5-speed, manual transmission, Cummins diesel) for a 4-night retreat at Challis Hot Springs. Even reversed into the spot with essentially no experience going in reverse in a diesel, manual transmission. Yes, I DO feel accomplished! Brought more books than I could ever finish, in all formats: paper, audio, ebook. BYUI has the shortest summer break in higher ed but a late start. Still a few weeks left to recuperate and enjoy the miracle of much improved health and wellness. THANKS to Ken Crawford for bravely permitting me to take Offroad Hub mobile headquarters away for the week.
September 8, 2021
This is such an excellent article and description of long-haul COVID.
I am 11 mos since my COVID19 infection, and while I feel "mostly" better (a huge improvement just in the past several weeks) I can, without hyperbole, state that I am not and highly doubt I will ever be the person I was before COVID. In some ways, moving at a much slower pace through my life, prioritizing with great clarity what has to be done and what can simply be let go, I can see that this journey has forced me to face some important life changes. I am still unable to say "I'm grateful..." despite my belief in the discipline of spiritual faith, that all things in life are given to build capacity, wisdom, and purpose.
I made the observation just recently with my husband that as long as I move slowly and deliberately, doing one task at a time, I seem able to get through the day and its requirements with adequate energy, peace, and a measure of happiness. But the rapidity of thought, creative energy and productivity that has been a defining characteristic of my personality, my life, and my career feels woefully elusive.
I've been in weekly therapy for 9 mos. I do a lot of journaling as I sort out who I am now and work through the grief of losing who I was and loved being. I fear my thoughts and must reroute them continuously towards rational and positive thinking. I literally become anxious when I feel the pull of fatigue, heavy limbs, brain fog, and any upset to my physical systems. Each day there is at least one moment when I think, "Just snap out of it Elizabeth!" But I also rejoice as I have been able to recently: read books with strong mental clarity, take adventures with energy for physical exertion, and mark the days that are such a vast improvement over months of darkness, fear, and CONSTANT fatigue.
I think I will forever bifurcate my life between BEFORE COVID and AFTER COVID and I'm certain I'm not alone in this as thousands of people around the world continue their struggle with long-haul COVID. #notjustacold