Breathing is good. I like breathing, but I came close to not breathing a few times this week. I’ve seen a lot of information about mild COVID-19, five days with a little cough, and the deadly form, requiring hospitalization, but our experience was somewhere in between. It needed all the training my World War II Army nurse mother gave me as a child, and all the alternative health training I’ve been graced with since then.
Every March I go to New York City to teach astrology for a week. This year I hoped I could get in and out before the coronavirus pandemic escalated — and missed. My divination said there was danger to my health, but I needed to go anyway. I’m still trying to figure that one out. But I’m trying to give purpose to my experience by making it useful to others.
My time in NYC, from March 12-18, covers the week the public health situation turned. I arrived right after they canceled flights to Europe, and then the quarantine really ramped up. Bars and restaurants closed. The city turned from bustling busy to an echoing quiet, interspersed with sirens. I traveled back to Montana with a connecting flight through Salt Lake City on the day that city was hit by earthquakes. I was stuck in airports surrounded by a chorus of coughing until the ground quieted and air travel reopened.
My mate stocked up while I was gone so we could quarantine ourselves when I returned. Three days later, I started to cough, and in three more days so did my mate. Yes, we tested positive for COVID-19.
The first five days brought the Covid cough, a dry, inflaming, unproductive cough behind the sternum, headache, mild fever, trouble regulating body temperature, a noticeable loss of taste and smell (curry tasted like rancid peanut butter), and a deepening bone-level exhaustion. Our health began to shift on days 6-10, with thickening brain fog and worsening physical symptoms. We got out of breath just feeding the dogs and felt unusually emotionally labile, crying and laughing at the slightest plot twist. Our medical support said as long as we can breathe without a ventilator, stay home, both for our safety and comfort, and for the community’s.
We started on homeopathic remedies and took monolaurin, a multivitamin with enzymes and probiotics, quercetin, A, C, D, B12, NAC, all for lung and blood support and to reduce inflammation. This worked for me, but each person needs to research their own individual needs. We forced ourselves to eat a healthy, anti-inflammatory diet with electrolyte-balancing soup, even if we couldn’t taste it. Melatonin at night seemed to reduce inflammation and aid sleep. I drank ginger-agrimony tea during the daytime, chewed Osha root, and made turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper tea at night. I slept with a humidifier on and hot water bottle, both which calmed down the cough so we could sleep.
On days 10-12, often a dangerous time in this disease, I had some scary asthma-like symptoms that needed action. As I went to sleep, my breathing sounded like I had inhaled the reeds of some toy whistle; when I woke up, I couldn’t catch my breath. My bronchi had swollen. I remembered the drill: stay calm, slow the breathing, run hot water in the sink and throw a towel over my head so I could inhale steam until I could catch my breath. I then lay in an inverted prone position, with my chest and head slanted down, for 10 minutes at a time to help clear the bottom of my bronchi. Repeat as needed.
Our doctor gave us a short course of azithromycin, which doesn’t touch the virus but can help prevent secondary pneumonia. She also gave me an inhaler that I carried like a talisman, like an umbrella to avoid rain, and never needed to use. We are both doing gentle deep breathing exercises to stretch and fill our lungs.
Because of early autoimmune issues, I knew my mood profoundly affected my immune system, so I’ve been careful to stay fully informed, but with boundaries. I check the news twice a day, not all day; I stay awake to new danger and research, but keep my focus on health and healing. I’ve also put boundaries up with beloveds who first barraged me with urgent articles and fearful, angry comments. I’d already read most of them and didn’t need this projection, but took their concern as a sign of love. Let’s be careful to not project our anxiety upon one another, for we need all power to the force field right now.
Pray rather than worry. I’ve been gratefully included in many prayers and healing circles. I feel the prayers pouring in as a pool of energy to tap into when I don’t have my own, essential to help us turn out of the scary time. Thank you to all who held me in healing light. On day 13 we’ve begun to feel less easily overwhelmed, no longer skating around quicksand.
I write a yearly astrological overview for we’moon calendar. For 2020 I wrote, “The stars ask us to pay attention to our spiritual life and relationships, but always remember they are embedded in the body politic, and the body politic needs our help. Our spirituality must feed into community organizing to help us build a healthier world. As Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto run together, they bring an opportunity for death and rebirth of power systems throughout the world, but it may get messy before it gets better…Jupiter maximizes whatever it touches — and here it increases the Hecate-Kali work of revolution, transformation, death and rebirth. We can use this to create a liberating time, or to experience control issues. Some incident could call us to face our fears of mortality and move past them into a bigger acceptance.”
On the other side of this pandemic, I look forward to our search for healing and connection.