Ann Farabee column: My COVID journey – Part 3: The room with a door
By Ann Farabee
Perhaps there has never been a more defining evening in my life. COVID-19 seemed to be getting the upper hand. The waters felt deep and rough. I knew I needed to go to the ER, but checked in with the COVID line first, where it was recommended I go to an urgent care for a chest x-ray. They let them know we were on our way.
As I stepped out of the car, an employee quickly got to me, and said, “You really need to go to the ER, since we would probably have to send you there anyway and duplicate services.”
It stung a bit, for I had done what I was told.
I felt a little hopeless.
Maybe a tad unwanted.
But, I understood.
Charles dropped me off at the ER entrance. A police officer met him, told him to go home, and that after they admitted me, I would call him.
I think it broke his heart.
He told me later that his first thought as he watched me walk in the hospital was, “I may never see her again.”
It seemed as if everything was moving in fast motion at first, as they tried to get me exactly where they needed for me to be. Apparently, where they felt I needed to be was waiting in a cold hallway in a plastic chair with a metal frame. At that point, everything switched to super slow motion. Waiting in that chair had to be the longest three hours and 43 minutes of my COVID journey.
After my vitals were checked, I was told I had to wait for a room with a door.
I guess I looked confused, for she repeated, “You have to wait for a room with a door.”
It took me a second, but I understood.
The door mattered. It would protect me. It would protect others.
I was freezing. I leaned my head against the wall and waited. I tried to find one second of comfort. It did not come.
Everyone’s pandemic experience is different — whether sick, or working, or just living their lives. We must be patient, tolerant, respectful and supportive of each other as we handle the crisis. We are all in this together, albeit in different roles. But even going through something together can feel very alone.
Arms folded, legs outstretched, and head against the wall, I knew it had gotten dark outside by now, but the darkness I felt in this cold hallway was all I could think about.
I believe those hours in the ‘waiting room’ were when God began taking me from a place of pleading for healing — to a place of leaning on his promises for healing.
I reached down for my notepad in my purse where I had scribbled these words earlier that day: Don’t be afraid for the terror by night — the fears that come when all is quiet. Nor for the pestilence — the fatal epidemic disease — that walks in darkness when you least expect it. Nor for the destruction at noonday — the bold enemy assaults. Call on me. I will answer. I will be with you in trouble.
The words from Psalm 91 reminded me I should be feeling more hopeful than I was.
I was hearing God’s voice, but I was not believing God’s word for my victory.
10:55 p.m. Bianca walked up. I will never forget her name. She took me to the room that had been prepared just for me. It had a door. I never once glanced back at that plastic chair in the metal frame.
What had felt like a hospital visit up to this point now began to feel more like a spiritual visitation.
I wish I could express it in words, so that you could feel it with me.
For the first time in my COVID journey, I gave up. Yes, I gave myself up completely. I let them take care of me. They called me by my name. They covered me with a heated blanket, helped me into a bed with the whitest sheets and most comfortable mattress ever. The lights in the room were bright, white and warm. They took away the darkness that had tried to settle in my heart. It felt as if I was in a different place than I had ever been before. I remember thinking that it felt like heaven.
They comforted me. Comfort was followed by compassion.
Compassion was followed by complete and competent care.
Bloodwork. X-rays. EKG. CT scan.
Potential blood clots and bacterial pneumonia in the setting of my COVID diagnosis.
A plan put in place for recovery at home — that would give me hope and a future.
2:46 a.m. I was discharged to go home. It seemed so strange. No wheelchair. No assistance. My ER angels closed the door behind them. They left the room. It was time for me to go.
I felt weak as I reached out to open the door. It looked heavy, and I expected it to be. But — when I grabbed the handle — the door was not heavy at all. It was light.
As I walked out, I noticed the cubicles surrounding the other parts of the ER. They had plastic curtains — and no door.
I was so glad I had been taken to the room with the door.
It was worth the wait.
The door. It had felt so light.
2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.”
The door. It had been so important.
Jesus said in John 10:9, “I am the door. If any man enters in, he will be saved. He will go in — and out — and will find pasture.”
Without a doubt, Jesus had been the door they had continually referred to that long night. And the wonderful people who took care of me in the ‘room with the door’ were angels in human form sent straight from heaven. Thank you!
2:56 a.m. I called Charles to come get me.
I guess he would be seeing me again, after all.
Join me next week, as I continue sharing my COVID journey.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.