“Nicole, tell them to be worried, tell them take this seriously, tell them not to be like we were, unbelieving. Because now my husband is dying. This should not have happened but it did. So, tell them!”Mariette
I’m late blogging this morning because I have been up most of the night talking with clients on the other side of the world – clients in Europe who have become infected with COVID-19 or who have a loved one who has become infected.
One of them wanted me to tell you of her experience. Her name is Mariette. Her husband’s name is Anton. They are in their early thirties. Mariette is pregnant with their first child.
They live in a city that has now been closed down because of Coronavirus. But before the lockdowns came into place, and although social isolating had been advised, Mariette and Anton just went about their daily lives – going to the markets, the gym, the local cafes and bars, and to listen to bands. They are young. This Coronavirus was just going to be a mild flu for them. It only affected old people. Anyway, no-one looked sick. No-one was coughing or sneezing. Everything was normal.
Anton became unwell on the weekend. A dry cough, and then a fever. By Sunday night he was ashen and struggling to breathe. Mariette called an ambulance but none was available. They have no car so she convinced a neighbour to take them to hospital. Even at this stage they did not think it was Coronavirus. Anton was finally admitted to hospital, barely conscious. He has tested positive to COVID-19. He is thirty-two, fit, healthy and dying. He is intubated and unconscious. Mariette cannot visit him and is worried she is infected, as she has also developed a cough and feels unwell. She was told at the hospital not to come back if she merely felt unwell. Only to come back if she was struggling to breathe.
She worries that the neighbour, a man in his sixties, will now become ill too.
I’m writing this because Mariette asked me to share her story. Because we were both in tears as she told me how they had failed to stay safe because everyone had played down the risks and it all seemed far away and unbelievable. So they just kept living their old lives. Until suddenly everything changed.
Please. I’m asking you today, don’t panic, but adjust your thinking if you have not done so already. Socially isolate yourselves. Stand back from people. Avoid physical contact. Wash your hands often. Stay home if you feel in any way unwell. Mariette needs you to hear her, and she needs you to pay attention to her message.
Stay away from people who are at higher risk of infection, such as older people and those who are immuno-compromised or caring for someone who is immuno-compromised, but reach out and support them. Same goes for people with mental health issues. Anxiety is high right now and harder for people who need to isolate. So call them. Shop for them. Check in on them and see if they are okay.
We are all in this together, and together we will get through this.
Tomorrow I’ll be sharing some ideas my team and I have been working with, to help support you and to encourage a sense of community in these changed times. As someone who lives with chronic illness, and who has endured many periods of quarantine or self-isolation I’ve developed strong coping skills, and used these periods well to develop a richer and more meaningful life, despite other hardships. So, I’ll see you tomorrow. Until then, take care of yourselves and each other.
Much love, virtual hugs and an abundance of heart-connection, Nicole xx
** Update – I’m sorry to pass on the news that Anton passed away on Friday 20 March 2020, and Mariette has now also tested positive to COVID-19 and has been hospitalised. Please keep her in your prayers and meditations.