Headaches and the Hospital Stay
2019 did bring me literal headaches: daily ones I’d relieve with ibuprofen. I continued that habit in January of 2020. I should’ve known better as a PA than to overuse that medication, since it interferes with the production of mucus, a layer of which protects the stomach from its own acid. My overuse of Ibuprofen led to bleeding ulcers then, of which I was unaware until I became so anemic that I passed out and bonked my head on the bathroom scale. That right there earned me a two night stay in the hospital.
While there, wondering how God might straighten this path, I applied my word for 2020: I must accept where I am, and now work from there. So I called into work to report my illness, called my friends to let then know what happened, and I asked my brother for my phone charger. Then I had nothing else to do but wait and listen to worship music. But while waiting, I kept regretting even touching that ibuprofen—why wasn’t I a more responsible guy? So out of necessity I clarified my earlier thought on acceptance: I must accept what’s already happened and let God turn it around for my good.
Then Everything Changed When the Coronavirus Attacked
Coronavirus and its associated disease, COVID-19, visited our part of the world around the end of February. By then I had recovered from my ulcers and anemia, had fewer headaches, and had regained hope God would make my paths straight any day now.
But then patients started canceling appointments, causing my work hours to be reduced. People started panicking in the stores and bought up toilet paper, bread, milk, and other necessities, hoarding them all while snidely accusing others of doing the same. It didn’t take long for the fear of COVID to spread so much that people started wearing surgical masks and gloves in public. All the while my patient load dropped and dropped: no one wanted to potentially be exposed to Coronavirus, the superbug of 2020.
I thought things like these: Why is this happening God? Am I going to lose my job? Are we going to go hungry? Is society going to fall apart? Why are you allowing COVID to spread like this? What kind of crooked path is 2020 anyway?
This was when I applied my 2020 word again: I must accept God does not work by random chance, but by wisdom. So if He is to make my paths straight, he must know what He’s doing. So for a moment I relaxed and accepted the current situation as a bump in the road.
And then this happened:
Restaurants were closed. Stores were shut down. All my patients cancelled. Even church services were prohibited. Still, I tried to accept His wisdom was better than anything the world could ever teach me. Even if nothing made sense right now, God still did. Somehow. I simply couldn’t see the how at the moment.
And then everything really did change when the Coronavirus attacked me:
The symptoms of COVID—fever, cough, fatigue, nausea, body aches—those weren’t the worst. No, the worst was the quarantine. On top of us being quarantined by the State from most places, now I was isolated at home, unable to leave. To be honest, I didn’t have the strength to even move much, but I already hadn’t seen family and friends for weeks. Now I was separated even more from them by the four walls of my bedroom. There was no comfort from streaming movies or Reddit or even Pokémon Go.
So I gave up. I let myself turn into a puddle of COVID squalor. Isolation led to depression, depression led to doubt, doubt led to giving up.
I figured acceptance was the same as giving up. I guessed that was the lesson of 2020 for me.