“…it profits the soul”

My Psalter

Psalm 40:3 “The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed; from his illness and all his infirmities, You will heal him.”

Psalm 34:13,2 “I prayed with my head bowed down.”

My Advent Prayer Book

Psalm 33:17 “The righteous called and the Lord heard them and delivered them out of all their affliction.”

Psalm 33:4 “I sought the Lord with diligence, and He heard me and delivered me from all my tribulations.”

Isolation

My bout with C19 brought me, literally, to my knees. As I was getting these treatments to assist my lungs, I was face down on a hospital bed. I had a halo around my face to keep me off the mattress, with a full mask on and the oxygen pumping at full capacity. And the nurses would feed the nebulizer up under the halo part and shove it into my mask. The room I was in was sealed off in the sense that the walls were bare and the oxygen in the room was forced outside through a large ducting system, complete with a pump. It went 24/7. When you add the breathing treatments every 4 hours and the sound of the Oxygen, I could hear pretty much nothing. And what is there to do? Can’t look at anything but the mattress sheet just at the end of my nose. I could sneak my phone under there while I charged it, which was great, but my hands could not reach it without disrupting everything they had me hooked up to. I had 4 IV’s in my arms, as well. I would turn it on and look at the screen saver and tell my husband how much I loved him.

My screensaver. August 2021

After I would look at that photo, of how happy we were that day, I would start praying. And because I was sick, some of the memorized prayers I have prayed for decades came out all jumbled up. I would recall bits and pieces of prayers. I would recall stories of the Saints and then I would be off seeking intercession. Then I focused on the angels. “St. Michael the archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil…:” and then I recalled the story of the angel Gabriel in Scripture. His story meant so much to me then that I can recall that prayerful moment. I also asked that all the people praying for me be rewarded with peace and the knowledge that I felt those prayers. The intensity of my prayers was probably the strongest it has ever been. I called upon my patron saints, St. Rita (patron of the impossible) and my beloved Ruth. I called upon the army of God to surround me in my illness, to literally stand around my bed and hold me up before God as I sought His help. I cried for it. And I felt it. I truly felt the intense love of God. I wept and was overcome with a sense of peace. I felt like God was saving me, and letting me know I was not done, yet. Why it took such a close brush with death, I have no clue. But I can assure you I am very aware that I was redeemed by God and my “infirmities” were cured. I was going to be fine.

Psalms

Each year, twice a year, the Church fasts prior to feasts. Right now, we are fasting and praying during Advent and the coming feast of Christmas. In the Spring, we have Great Lent, during which we fast and pray until the feast of Pascha, or Easter. I am Melkite Greek Catholic. We’re one of the many rites associated with the Roman Catholic Church, but we are distinct from Rome. We have our own Patriarch, and he is who I listen to, outside of what the Pope in Rome is saying. I sort of have one foot in being a Melkite, and the other in Orthodoxy. The Melkites are jokingly called the, “Orthodox of the West.” And because I posted a photo of a Psalter, and the other book (which I adore) called “Songs of Praise,” many Catholics and Protestants will be turned off. But it is not all that mysterious. The Psalter is nothing more than the Book of Psalms, in a book of its own, with prayers for before and after you read the days’ Psalms. You can get through the entire book of Psalms, twice, during the 40 days prior to Christmas or Easter. The other book, “Songs of Praise,” is a companion. Sylvia (the author) put all the Psalms in there, broken up in to each days’ group of Psalms, along with prayers and a short commentary/reflection for each day, and tons of room to journal. I have two of these books. One I use for “Advent” and one I use for “Lent.” I began doing this about 5 years ago. And I cannot begin to tell you how much it impacts your soul, and your outlook on the coming holy-day. I have all sorts of notes in there from each year and it is fun to look and see where I was and what I was thinking. But the most profound thing for me is that every time I read the Psalms, they jump out at me. How did David (the author) know I needed to hear that, now, in 2021? The Psalms have been described by the saints in so many ways! “No other book so glorifies God as does the Psalter. It profits the soul; it glorifies God together with the angels and exalts and extols in a powerful voice.” St. Basil the Greek.“The singing of the psalms adorns the soul, summons angels to one’s aid, drives away demons, dispels darkness, and produces holiness.” St. Augustine.

As I was reading through my Psalms for today, I was struck by the application to my experience with C19. Psalm 40:3 – “The Lord will sustain him on his sickbed..” Wow. He certainly did. I felt it. Psalm 39:1 “I waited eagerly for the Lord, and He inclined to me and heard my cry.” and Psalm 39:4 “Blessed is the man whose hope is in the name of the Lord.”

There is so much more we can glean from studying our bibles. And in particularly, the Psalms. Christ Himself quotes the Psalms all through the New Testament. And when he did, the people knew He was doing that, and they knew exactly what His meaning was. But most of us are ignorant of the Old Testament, which is a shame. There is a vast richness in all the books of the Old Testament. As I mentioned above, I adore Ruth. I read her story in the OT and I felt so drawn to her. Proverbs is a wonderful book to study and there is an entire ministry centered around Proverbs 31 and how to be a good wife and mother. I read that for my Mother-in-law’s funeral and it fit perfectly for our remembrance of her.

Don’t be afraid of this world and what is roaming through it, trying to devour our souls. We have God. And He wins. It is our journey, our act of being a sojourner in this life, that sets us on the path to eternity. And how we react to what happens to us. I’m bummed that I had to be deathly ill to resume my deeper prayer life, but I am thankful I did not have to live the life of Job. (Another great OT book). I am still able to learn, grow, and become better than I was yesterday, through the grace of God.

Psalm 36:4-5 “Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Disclose your struggle to the Lord; hope in Him, and He will act.”

Fierce Protector

On a dime…

On a dime…

Every once in a while, your life goes in a completely different direction. And it does so quickly. Like spinning a dime. My husband and I enjoy relative good health. We eschew many mainstream medical choices. Our GP is a DO – and osteopathic doctor. Treats the whole body. The whole person. I like that. Believes in taking control of your health. Likes vitamin regimens. Likes to see you exercise. Likes to see all her patients happy and healthy. We rarely ever visit her office.

Around the beginning of October, the hubs and I were exposed to Covid. So we stayed home. We treated it like the flu. We did our vitamin regimen. Probably not as diligently as we could have, because we got pretty sick. He was sleeping 20 hours a day and was so groggy and so tired. I just felt lousy. Our adult kids came to see us at the behest of our youngest son, who was concerned about us. They walked in and I guess I looked pretty sick. They called 9-1-1 and I was sent by ambulance to the hospital. Severe Covid. My blood oxygen saturation was 71. It is supposed to be 97 or better. Probably too much information, but I ended up being in the hospital for 6 days. My husband was sent by ambulance about 4 hours after I was. We ended up next to each other in the ER. He had Covid dementia. I did not know you could get that. It was why he was sleeping so much. It happens in about 20% of all cases. You can also get paralyzed. Who knew? I learned so much about Covid while in the hospital. I am still learning. I am home, but on oxygen 24/7. I got an enlarged heart from Covid, and I also became diabetic. It was just such a nice basket of goodies. And we are slowly coming out from under this thing.

Fearful?

I was asked if I have changed my mind about vaxxing or the illness itself. The “plandemic.” And I can say that many aspects of it have changed for me. For example, I am a little fearful of getting sick again. I almost died. And I am so conflicted on the mask thing. I know in my head they are useless. I just don’t want this again. So do I wear one? Do I stay home? I’m still connected to the oxygen machine, so I am literally tied down at home. (I need to get my portable one filled before I can go anywhere). I even used a shopping app on my phone and did my grocery shopping online, and we had a pick up time and everything. It was so weird, but kinda easy, too. It helped when neither of us was able or had the energy to go to the store. But am I becoming a hermit?

Wilderness Get-Away

We already live in Alaska. Which for most is rather isolated. But we live in a neighborhood. However, I only know one of my neighbors. So we are sort of isolated already. However, you can isolate yourself in a 20-story apartment building in downtown New York City. It’s how you move through life that counts. And we have a smaller circle of friends. We do. We have narrowed it over the years. But interestingly enough, when we got very ill, we had a community rally behind us. Calling us. Coming by to assist us. And our friends scattered over the lower 48 rallied with prayers and FaceTime. It really made me see how treasured some of the people in our lives are.

We could not have done a thing without our kids. My son and his wife who live near us, saved our bacon. They called 9-1-1. They took over our bills and even made our house payment online for us. They contacted our insurance. They stocked our refrigerator with healthy food. They were our go-between when we needed one. They were our connection with hospital staff and family members. It was something I was so honored to have. A real relationship. It goes deep and I treasure it.

Here we are!

Now it’s pretty much just the two of us. And our dogs. And now that the drama of our illness has passed, while we are recuperating, the intense scrutiny is over and so are the calls. I don’t blame anyone. Not one bit. We spend our days doing more and more, but still resting and napping a lot. Luckily my husband works from home and he can set his hours. He is pretty much back up to speed. I’m hampered with breathing and blood sugar. But we are bored and lonely, too.

Recuperating from something as serious as this was, makes you stop and think. I have never prayed so much in my life. I was laid in this special cushion on my stomach with a face cut out sort of like a massage cushion, while on intense oxygen therapy, for 7 hours a day. They were trying to get the infected junk out of my lungs. And so there was not much to do. I was able to squeeze my phone under there and I would stare at my screen saver of my husband and myself, which was taken just in September. We were both laughing and having a great time. And it kept me going. Seriously frightening to have your doctor tell you there was not much more they could do before they would have to intubate you! I fought for every breath I took. I am still fighting for deep, sustained breathing. They would let me out of this cushion thing for meals and a couple of hours of TV and sitting up, but then right back in it….all night long, too.

Maternity Massage Pillow I used.

I had legions of angels around me. I could feel the prayers. I could feel the energy. And I would do my breathing exercises as much as I could until I was exhausted. The nurses came and patted my back. They gave me breathing treatments by reaching the machine down and under the face part. They were as determined as I was to get me well. And I literally thanked God for the nursing staff. The doctor and I butted heads, but at least he supported my point of view. He even told me, “I am not your dictator. I am your partner in getting you well.”

Dr. Pol

It has been an amazing journey – into the hospital/medical side of this thing. Is it what I thought? No. It’s far more. The doctor told me they have no cure. They have no magical drug. Each person’s reaction is unique and they are running by the seat of their pants. There is no protocol in place. No perfect way to treat anyone. Each person’s case is unique. And with each person’s reaction to this thing, they come up with another way to attack it. I had no idea I was at such risk. I had no idea how poor my health truly was. I had no idea my life was on the line. And it stopped me short. And it has me contemplating for most of my days. Unless I’m watching the Hallmark channel, or The Incredible Dr. Pol on National Geographic. Ha-Ha. Trust me, they relieved my stress!!!

Am I all better? Not by a long shot. I am learning about blood sugar and food. What I can and cannot have. I have experimented with recipes. But it zaps all the strength out of me to cook, and so I am stuck with a few favorites that work. I know I will master this diabetes thing in time. But it is frustrating as all get out, on a daily basis. Who knew? I certainly had no idea. And my fingertips are sore from all the poking. Ha-Ha. My lungs are healing and that is amazing. They would feel like shards of glass were in them when I would breathe in. It was not fun. It is still there, but very minuscule in comparison. I hate having this thing up my nose all the time, but at least I am clear-headed and can breathe. I’m such a mouth-breather and had no idea how bad that is for your lungs! I am learning.

Do I believe in vaccinating with the vaccines being offered? I do not. I have natural immunity now, and with my temporarily enlarged heart, I cannot have the vaccine. Do I think you should get it? No, I don’t. There are too many unknown variables and too many outcomes that are not good, that are being hidden from the public. If you only watch TV for your information, you are missing out on 99% of the story. For a virus that is 99% survivable. I survived it. I am a survivor. Did I almost become a statistic? I certainly did. But I did not succumb. And if I can do it with all my comorbidities, so can you. I do not believe this is about our health. I believe it is about control. I believe it is about big government and big pharma and keeping us sick and dependent. I hate that I am dependent now. I abhor the way it happened. But I would rather it turned out this way than to become a vaccine injury statistic.

Is covid real? It is. It is a weird virus that can effect every person in a unique way. I had no idea about the depth of this virus. Do I thank God for every day? I truly do. I feel like I have been given a second chance at life and I do not intend to waste a moment. Hug those you love. Tell them you love them. Pray to God every moment of every day. Thank Him for your life. And live every day to its utmost.