I don’t know about you, but overcast, cloudy days can sure weigh heavily on my soul.
They especially seemed ominous and overwhelming recently, when this pandemic found us quarantined at home with no end in sight.
The endless rainy days coupled with the uncertainties of COVID-19, would be enough in and of themselves if it weren’t for the fact that my own health had come into question at the same time!
Why shortness of breath had to become an issue for me at a time when one of the first symptoms of the virus was that very thing, is something I can’t explain.
But it did, and for a bit, had me quite concerned that I might be the first person in Marion County to be diagnosed with Corona.
Calling my doctor and being reassured that without a fever being present, it was probably a rare appearance of my childhood asthma, she prescribed an inhaler.
I was good with that and happy to move on to finishing up responsibilities with my school job, at the same time trying to find out exactly where I could purchase toilet paper and hand sanitizer, both of which were quickly becoming a scarcity.
The dreary days came more often than they went, and found me one morning waking up to chest pain that left me fleeing to the medicine cabinet to find an aspirin for relief.
Being an avid walker, within normal weight for my size and eating a consistently healthy diet, I refused to accept that I could be having any trouble with my heart.
That is until a month later, when I once again struggled with oxygen deprivation.
As Winnie the Pooh is so fond of saying, “oh bother”, I thought.
Pain doesn’t typically send me running to the doctor, but the need to breathe certainly will, and so it did.
The doctor ordered lung x-rays, stress test, echo-cardiogram and enough blood draws to shut the Red Cross drive down for a good month!
All of these tests took place on rainy dreary days, matching my mood and reflecting the concerns of our culture at large.
As our world was struggling with conflicting information and unanswered questions, so was I.
Nothing showed up in the first few tests and I had to wait a week or so for the rest.
Before the results were all back, chest pain again found me, on the one sunny day we had in a while, being sent to the emergency room after a call to my doctor.
With my husband having to remain in the waiting room, I lay alone in the E.R. pondering my predicament.
Pondering turned to praying, as the heavy cloud in my soul seemed to resonate with the pressure in my chest.
More blood tests, EKG and waiting.
“Lord, please bring some answers”, became my mantra as the minutes ticked away.
After what seemed like hours, a doctor swooped in and asked several questions. Specifically, where exactly was my pain, since the EKG looked normal?
After another half hour, the nurse came in and gave me what they call, a G.I. cocktail. Let’s just say it was something like Milk of Magnesia.
It began to dawn on me that I had been treated for ulcers in the past and also had developed a hiatal hernia in recent years. Both of which can mimic symptoms of heart issues.
Returning to the room, the doctor asked how I was feeling and casually mentioned that hernia and ulcer could be a possibility, recommending that my doctor pursue testing for GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease).
How do you spell relief?!
I texted my husband, who despite being the future recipient of massive medical bills, was ecstatic that this was all the more issue we were probably looking at.
In a most gracious response, he texted back: “totally worth it.”
The heaviness in my heart began to lift, as did my hope.
This too shall pass, along with the virus and the gloomy weather.
As we walked to the car, we couldn’t help but notice the sun peeking through the clouds, almost as if to remind us that it doesn’t stay cloudy forever.