Updated: Apr 17
The biggest challenge is our collective pre-existing conditioning -meaning= we need to think differently about how we tend to and heal our bodies. This is my narrative of what I experienced, what I know, what I don’t and every ting in between. I SUSPECT I had COVID-19. I have NO doubt and no test to prove it. I felt like my body was being dry freezed from the inside out. First air then water. (Scroll to the bottom if all you want to know is symptoms and what I did to support my body’s healing process).
My untested truth about Rona, my suspicion of having the virus, single parent realities, & being first generation New York tuff. Written with Jamaicanisms that are authentic to me and my family.
I had a conversation with my son, who has been known to all since birth as the manchild. Yes, one word. The conversation was complicated and simple “If you get sick, I will tend to you. If I get sick, all you have to do is defrost the soup that’s in the freezer. Just leave it by my door. Don’t tend to me”, I pleaded. “I need you well”. He rolled his eyes, he never rolled his eyes, usually his disinterest or indifference is expressed by a deep sigh and a curt- “ok mom”. But I knew his heart, and he knew mine. I left it there. I gave him an
out that he was not raised to take, and it hurt like hell. It frightened me that I could not protect my son from me- if I was his threat. Imma single parent. Where would he go if I had to be hospitalized? Should I cook and freeze more meals? How much could I afford in groceries to stock up? We are told to stay inside. It’s what is keeping us safe. You know, from the unknown enemy, which has a name and symptoms and a test used to diagnose it.
I noticed first how tired I was. My moon was coming, so maybe that was it. I was so tired. I kept wondering why I was so tired. Like many, I was struck by the spectrum of symptoms and mortality of this disease. It never dawned on me in the first three weeks of my six weeks of feeling mashup that COVID-19 is what I could have...what we most likely had. Some have no symptoms, some die. And there’s a spectrum in between. Seems so black and white. Yet, so grey- all at the same time.
My job as a parent is to nurture and support the emotional, social, and spiritual growth of the manchild. I wanted to offer him his future, but based on what I was hearing Rona wanted to tek from people the likkle piece of life they had to live. She got to go. Bye Rona. Bye, girl bye!
Mid January just before MLK weekend, the machild got sick. He had cold-like symptoms at the beginning of the week, by Wednesday morning, he looked like he was in a rink with every histamine reactor on the planet and he asked to stay home from school. He never asks to stay home from school. Pukes and poops. That’s the rule in my house. If those are not your reality, carry yuhself to di’ people dem school and work it out. You don’t have an 8 hour day, mek it work. I told him he looked like shit, he said “I feel like it. Ma, I sweat so much last night, my clothes and my sheets, even my comforter were dripping wet”. “WTF” I said. So odd. I touched his forehead no temp. Weird, I thought, “must be the nature of the virus”, I said. Not really knowing that this was a potential novel virus, I really just repeated what every doctor has told me when my son had symptoms seemingly cold or flu like that wasn’t a typical cold or flu. There were times when these such diagnoses were spot on and times they were not. I had no issue and have no issue with this. But I stopped outsourcing our wellness after the first time the manchild had pneumonia.
I immediately thought, damn, I hope he doesn't have mono or some other foolishness that’s gonna keep him out of school. It’s his senior year, and spring is coming, I thought. I wanted to ensure all what he’s worked for he could enjoy, making memories with his friends...continuing that love hate relationship we all have about our adolescent complicated years. “Let’s watch it and see”. I made soup. He slept all day. He came out of bed for dinner, more soup. Said he felt “heavy”. His whole body felt heavy. I checked his head again, he was cool to touch. “Yuh ave a fever? Yuh feel like yuh ave fever?”, I asked. Just a “heaviness” all over his body.
He slept. All day. He’s a gamer, who was home, who slept all day. Weird. More soup. More fluids. The next morning, he looked just as bad, but his posture a bit less kyphotic, his voice less trembly. “I sweat like hell again, he said, but I wasn’t as soaked this time”. Good I thought, he’s sweating it out. Whatever “it” is. Weird. I did check him during the night. Kissed him on his cool forehead. Took the water bottle and bowls that had snacks and soups out of his room, his room that looked like most rooms do, when someone is sick. He slept. He was on his belly seemingly resting soundly. Only when he’d need to cough, that violent wretched unproductive dry cough. He stayed home two days. On Friday, he said he felt “good enough” to go back to school. “Good enough” to get the work missed, that he would complete during the long holiday weekend. His narrative echoed mine, and mine like my mother, “I can make it through the day”. This is America- you don’t rest, you press- you grind and fight. Heeding the body's warnings in sports, in the corporate world- in any arena in our culture is a weakness that will leave you shamed and hungry and bruk (aka broke). “Gwan to school, sweets, an' come straight home, I uttered with a proud moment smile. You’ll have the weekend to rest up”. Little did I know, that home is where he should have stayed. To the benefit of others.
His school closed the Tuesday after MLK Monday. The flu it seems was seasonally spreading and they wanted to clean the school. Oh, that’s curious, but definitely a perk of a private school. I felt grateful, beyond the near nothing balance of my bank account, that at least, his well being- that the well being of all on campus was being tended to- of course then guilt, because all schools should tend to children in this way. Who knew, as my Jamaican family would say, “it soon come”.
The manchild never had a fever. No fever. He never had a fever. He did have a cough that was violent and dry and painful. He never needed his inhaler, he “breathed through it” he said. “There is nothing to cough up and once I start I can’t stop”. What? “Do you feel tightness in your chest”? No he said, “ I don’t feel like I feel when I need my inhaler, I just feel heavy and this cough sucks, there’s nothing to spit up anymore, there was in the beginning and now nothing”. He’s a current athlete and former asthmatic. I can only surmise that he used his skills as one who knew what struggling for air feels like and what his yogi mom taught him. Unbeknownst to him, he was working the muscles the virus seemingly tries to attack and make you forget you have. He was able to draw in air by using the fullest power of his diaphragm. I was proud of him. Little did I know that this skill probably saved him from getting phenomena- again. He had it twice as a child. He was “high risk” according to the experts. The novel experts. I don’t say that disparagingly, but there is more we don’t know than what we do know and seeing how, most of us are dealing with Rona (again, no test to prove it, but all our symptoms say yerp!) at home, and NOT in the hospitals, there is so much more they don’t know. So much more we all need to know.
It took three weeks for him to look less like crap. About 6 weeks to start to move to the rhythm that was his. He would in the weeks to come, nap as soon as he came home. Was seemingly aggy at things that he wasn’t usually aggy at and just off. Teenager changes I presumed. Nah, Rona makes you aggy, almost angry it seems. Weird. I wanted to rush him to his doctor, his amazing pediatrician. But he has her email, he knows to reach out if need be. I also wanted my college bound manchild to listen to his body. To learn that he can tap into himself to inventory. That his greatest gift to himself is being aware of himself and I was trying to model for him, what I told him his senior year is to be- a time to begin transition to emerging adulthood. You know, the kind of independence you need to cultivate when away from home, living life without the nudge of caregivers in your daily routines. Skills I hope that he can embody in college, to self regulate, to implement boundaries and to choose consciously. We are a part of a crowd- community. We aren’t tribe-less or islands. It’s not just the following of the crowd that's dangerous, it’s groupthink within the crowd that separates each individual from that inner voice of wisdom, of spirit, of knowingness. It’s the practices of the crowd that go unquestioned and assumed. The pre-existing thinking that got us all here, is the paradigm that is being challenged by this novel wicked virus (I think). This virus is about the virus and how we think, how we treat patients, how we listen to each other, how we listen to our bodies.
I had to fall back and let him tell me what his body was telling him, it was hard, because the cough seemed odd, it was already three weeks and it lingered like the aftertaste of turmeric oil (which I was putting generously in my soups and water). Not good. Yet, I had to chill and trust. I wanted him to learn to tap into that inner wisdom that only he can access. The inner wisdom we all need to access. You know that part, the part where Spirit, the Universe, Love, and Wisdom, dwell. The parts we once outsourced before Rona came in right - when Felicia left. Every moment, ok, many moments in my house are teachable ones. I am a career educator. Can’t help it. So I let him tap in and tell me. I oiled him up, fed him good food and let him feel what was best for him. And with the right blend of oils, and time... one night the cough stopped. Tanks be to Gawd!!
I got sick about a month later. Good old fashioned sore throat. It was a Friday. It felt further back in my throat than the cold's past, but, now that COVID was a word I knew, I figured it was more psychosomatic than diagnostic. My cold felt like a cold. Until it didn’t. I sweat like hell at night, Rona (assuming it was she) seemed to creep up at night. I never believed in the duppy man, but I am now a duppy conqueror. I know this now. I did what I always do, what I taught my son to do, what my mother taught me - modeled for me when yuh “feel a likkle sup'm comin on”. You run to “medicines'' that support the body's natural ability to protect us. All home remedies and white blood cells on deck!
I zync’d, hydrated and used every oil from my apothecary- that provided immune support, and emotional support. My body was fighting and my nerves were wrecked. I never blew my nose. The manchild did in the beginning. I just felt heavy and achy. I remember thinking for a moment in the grocery store, how curious it was that I was achy. Maybe I worked out too much? I did get my hair washed on Thursday and went out with it kinda wet- that had to be how I caught this cold- hmph...not cold.
All I heard on the news was respiratory failure, and the dreadful stories of labored breathing and respirators. I called out of my part-time job at the clinic, I missed a girl friend's grand-opening, just because it felt responsible. I wasn’t sure, doubtful really, but I didn’t want to make others uncomfortable. I coughed some, but I thought it was the tickle. I wanted to dig deep in my throat. It was itchy-sore. Weird.
My cold, turned ear infection, or so I thought. There was a moment when I used the neti pot and it felt like I was getting relief- then my ear clogged and it was all downhill from there. I had a migraine and I couldn’t breathe through my nose, later it turned struggling to take a deep breath. Then my moon started. I assumed I had a cold, turned ear infection with raging menstrual hormones. And any menstrual women will tell you- a cold and your moon= feelings of mashup madness. I’m over 40, so maybe it wasn’t cold sweets, my changes?
"Mom," the manchild said, "it’s been two weeks, you should call the doctor."
Hmm two weeks already? You lose time when you stay home.
I couldn’t keep my head up for a team call, all the calls that week. But stress, this is toxic stress and I am an empath. It didn’t click. It’s like my brain was in neutral and my frontal cortex buffering. I noticed I was chest breathing- I noticed that the deep belly breaths I am used to taking seemed harder. I’m a yogi, I found myself being VERY mindful of each breath, thinking shit, my anxiety level is hella high. In hindsight, I had a virus that was attacking me and I was tired because I was fighting like hell. Week THREE from the sore throat, now I can’t keep my head up I am progressively getting worse...I called my ENT. He wanted me to come in. “Nah bro, “cyan do dat”. He articulated this glamorous plan of just coming up into his room, once it was ready. No waiting room, no receptionist. Nah. I wanted to hug my son, and thinking about my need to self-isolate after being at the clinic and the grocery store within inches of other humans...it was just a few more days before I could hug my son. April 1st to be exact was when I could hug him again and I was uninterested in resetting the clock. Glad I didn't go in. I didn’t want to be exposed to what he may have been exposed to, how ironic, that I would have exposed him.
It took 6 days after being on an antibiotic for my presumed ear infection to ease. Weird. I had enough of them to know. But still it didn’t click. How was it that I felt better one moment and then like hell the next, I never had this with an ear infection. The pain I experienced was of ear infection, tonsillitis and a migraine- all at one time. Not pleasant at all. More night sweats. Less sweating. Lost appetite. Lost weight. Lost sense of smell. Lost sense of taste. Still it didn’t click. MASH UP. I FELT MASH. UP. I was tired. I chatted with a girlfriend. My spirit felt full. That conversation exhausted me. Everything exhausted me. And then…
...the manchild has two godmothers. And they both gave me harrowing and healing perspectives on COVID-19, actually confirmed cases, and suspected cases. It can kill quickly and you can live through it. Jeez. WTF is this? I watched one goddess, unable to hold her father's hand, or grieve, “like normal”, whatever that is... And the other, told me gently, as we caught up, we’ve been too busy to catch up, that I didn’t have an ear infection, “you have corona, girl. The timeline matched. She works in healthcare. With doctors and nurses. My symptoms matched. I was terrified and relieved all at the same time. Had I known what it was when my symptoms were at its worst, it would have messed my head up. That was a week ago now. It all made sense. The Breaking News was that Rona was here in my house- the whole time. She got to go!
I survived COVD-19 (I totally suspect that I had it), clearly untested. I suspect I’ll get tested when we get our 40 acres and a mule. My country and her promises of equity. *sighs* It has taken my healthy body 6 weeks. 6 weeks. To begin to feel like my body. I still have no sense of smell or taste. Appetite slowly coming back. The constant headache is gone, but like the fatigue, it comes in waves, usually in the afternoon. Between 12 and 3pm. But I am no longer afraid of the night. No more night sweats. Thankfully.
The scariest of it all is that the only thing to do is surrender. There is no script or outline for what or how it will impact you. And that is life. Rona is not different from life. The life we are called to live everyday. Not in fear but in surrender. LIVING IN SURRENDER IS MOVEMENT BY MOMENT. ONE BREATH AT A TIME, IF YOU CAN TAKE IT, the breath that is. Movement by moment….stick with me. For me it was about taking in the wisdom and leaving the rest behind, it taught me the embodiment of sacred surrender, of letting go of what we have been conditioned to think and believe and tap into the inner navigational system that we’ve outsourced to experts and pulpits, and folks that know nothing- about us. Us here in this context is we. To do the thing as a parent I want the manchild to do. This uniqueness and oneness of who we are and what our body needs and how those needs vary in vastness as there are people. Seems to me if there is not one expression of this virus, there can’t be one expression of treatment. But what do I know. I am not a doctor.
I had to remember to breathe deeply, AND ask each and every moment what my body wanted and needed. It was this, I believe, that saved my life and the manchilds. Not from death itself, cause no one can fight that, but from the horror of the fear of death looming. The virus we had was like none other and our response to it, individually, and collectively by the very nature of its name must also be novel. Rona wants you to sit still and take it. That’s what we’ve been told. Rest and drink plenty of fluids. NOPE. Rest with this virus and fluid will gather- all in unhelpful places. I speak from what my body felt like- what she told me under the moonlight. Like the bullshit we rise up against in life, we have to stand up and fight. Fight. Give your immune system the tools to fight. The days I felt my worst, what helped was moving more- I mustered 10 jumping jacks (that was like week 5 of 6) one morning, a walk around the block hella early- with no one around (week two-three before having “it” was even a thought). All this before it even clicked that Rona could be in my body. I was tired but staying in bed didn’t feel good, I never felt rested after the rest. I felt more like me when I moved, even if it was to just cook a meal. Whatever I had, attacked my capacity to draw in a deeper breath, it’s as if it gripped my diaphragm. I would fall asleep on my belly drawing the breath into the back of my body. My lullaby was my heart beat that I could feel on the mattress. It calmed me. It reminded me that I was alive, it sang to me, as if to say, “it is well”. I cried tears, many nights in the last 6 weeks. So much I didn’t understand. I was so tired. I was angry. I was grieving. I was afraid.
I share because, today, almost 7 weeks later, from scratchy throat to my new normal of limited smell and taste- my ears are all good now... I am here. Mi dehya! It’s not just pre-existing conditions that leave us vulnerable, it's our pre-existing conditioning. The union that my sweet practice of yoga seeks to merge was all in my face. I had to figure it out by listening to and tending to my body. It changed, daily, sometimes by the hour. We are not conditioned to heal this way, but it works! I am in union with my body in a way that I was never before. While I honor the wisdom of modern medicine, I honor the ancients and elders, that gave us plant medicines, and prayers and everything in between. This disease is more about the collective that we have time to process at the moment (my opinion). Here are the caveats, that we moon traveling hard headed humans who tink we know a ting ar two have yet to embody and practice with grace and ease. Our choices impact others. We must listen to our bodies. Grieve. We must wash our hands. Nothing is impossible. One size does not fit all. We do not know. Grieve. Change is inevitable. We have no control. Love fully. Love mindfully. We are our brother keepers. Breathe deeply. Grieve. Move the body. Healing is possible. Be considerate. We are all in this together. Only love is real. Novel, huh?
So, for all you bottom line folks, here are the highlights of what me and the manchilds symptoms were and what we did to support our immune systems, to do what it’s designed to do. Again, I am not a doctor, I have no medical training beyond being the first generation kid of a nurse who grew up in the country side of Jamaica. :-) I have yet to get tested for COVID, but based on symptoms....Call your physician, ask Dr. Oz, watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta and listen to your body. It’s time to integrate modern medicine and ancient wisdom as a way of being (again, my opinion).
The ** is what I had, only. Our symptoms were NOT completely the same.
*cold like stuff
*fuzzy head ( concentration? Nope! No disorientation, but a lot of basic stuff did not make sense) It’s like your body has decided to stop multitasking by running all the other systems and says, “let’s just work on getting air in the lungs, never mind the brain right now)
*fatigue-not tired, not sleepy, full blown mashup -cyan hold yuh head up, everyone please stop chat fatigue- if you have to ask if you feel fatigue, you're not fatigue, truss!
*loss of appetite
**intermittent ringing/muffled movement in my ears (especially the left ear)
**sexy crusty pink eye (left eye)
**loss of smell
**loss of taste
**weird sensation of my tongue and face- like they are both frozen and were defrosting...like pins and needles at times.
**weird chest feeling... like my chest was trying to move to a different rhythm that my heart beat. Scary. This sensation was by day and night.
**gastrointestinal something...my elimination mirrored my body trying to eliminate poison. I’ll leave that there. Totally gross. But clearly, better out than in.
**feeling my heart beat out of my chest (anxiety...for sure, but I had that before, and it was definitely different).
**my lungs felt clear, not sure if they were, but it DID feel like I had a girdle around my diaphragm...ok more like someone wrapped my diaphragm with duct tape and then Gloria (from Madagascar) sat on my lungs to chat. This image made me smile when I felt it. Weirdly it was comforting. Ok, Jada Pinkett-Smith's voice is comforting. Sitting up and laying on my back made this worse (at night)...Relief was laying on my belly or side (my right). After the first week- I had no cough, but my ribs were sore, like I had been coughing incessantly.
What we did (what we have always done when we feel “something coming on”
*applied, ingested and diffused (all day every day) to our spines and soles of feet immune support oils and oils to support my stress level!
(I’ve been using plant medicine for YEARS, so please don’t think you need to bust a budget to get them all one time. DM me if you have questions)
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE ONLY USE THERAPEUTIC GRADE OILS!!!
THEY WILL NOT BE EFFECTIVE IF THEY ARE NOT THERAPEUTIC GRADE.
*restarted our multi vitamins (added to link all the way at the bottom) that for some reason we stopped taking but will now keep taking
*lots of water- it’s like this virus was trying to dry freeze me from the inside out. I swear, between trying to breathe and working to stay hydrated was a chore. I noticed one day that I drank 70 ounces of water and went to the bathroom once! So I pushed fluids till I noticed my normal water elimination patterns.
*MOVE YOUR BODY
*fight the desire and the fatigue- you actually feel better after you move (a patient by the name of Kevin Harris was interviewed HE WAS SPOT ON... Here’s video of his interview
**************************DO NOT LAY UP IN THE BED ALL DAY*************************
*whatever you can do, move your arms, jumping jacks, wave your arms MOVE!
(check out my studio insta and FB if you need some FREE moves)
*Increase that oxygen level in your body (diffusing plant medicine and movement is backed by science...just sayin) It felt like my lungs and diaphragm as muscles needed to be reminded how to function properly. It felt like this virus was trying to erase my heart space’s muscle memory (that's deep on so many levels!!)
*low inflammatory foods- I used the wisdom from a book called The Plan by Lyn-Genet Recitas FOOD IS OUR DAILY MEDICINE. I can’t prove it but I believe this virus is all about taking advantage of our inflammatory response...FOOD IS MEDICINE
Don’t sleep on that.
**not talking to people who perpetuate anxiety-no time for that nor dem
**I limited my convos with those who I knew, held me up and honestly I was too tired for them other folks
**no shade...didn’t need alarmist panic. Just grounded love and support.
**SLEEPING ON MY BELLY - laying on my back felt like Gloria from Madagascar was sitting on my insides. It made my heart race and fueled feelings of anxiety.
**I fell asleep breathing into my back- a verbal cue I’ve given my yoga students a million times over.
**NO LONG HOT SHOWERS- it helped the body aches, but I noticed if I was in there too long, it took almost an hour for me to get my racing heart back to normal. I opened the bathroom window and my body seemed to like the mixture of hot and fresh air. When I had those bouts of chest tightness, I would open the window and breathe as deeply as I could. It was SOOOO helpful.
If this is medicine for anyone, my story is worth sharing
Stay yuh backside home, wash your hands and take good care.
Gloria and Jada :-)
Video with patient Kevin Harris