Here We Are

Arlene Wing, who is a registered nurse in Maine, created a blog on Facebook that she calls About COVID-19. She mostly shares information she has come across that she thinks would be informative and useful. But a few weeks ago, Arlene got personal and wrote about her own experience with COVID-19.

With her permission and blessing, I am sharing Arlene’s post, along with a poem she wrote.

Arlene Wing

Speaking as someone who had COVID-19, I would like to say I appreciate those who are doing their best to keep others safe. It is an act of caring and it is requiring sacrifice from us all.

It is distressing to see people on TV still saying it’s only like the flu. I can attest to the fact that it’s not just like the flu. The flu never sent me to the emergency room gasping for breath. The flu never left me with long term effects. After six weeks I still have fatigue days when I don’t have energy to do anything. I still can’t go outside without asthma-like attacks of shortness of breath and coughing. Sometimes those attacks come without any reason even when I’m indoors. The flu never did that to me.

The flu never killed 80 people in a single nursing home and rising that I ever heard of. The flu doesn’t infect a million people around the world every 12 days and rising. The flu doesn’t cause us to build hospitals in tents and dig mass graves.

I pray that people will be caring enough to protect the other people around them. I’ve seen the testimonies of many people who say they didn’t believe it until it killed their sister, father, grandmother, daughter… I don’t want that kind of pain to happen to anyone. The sad thoughts of, “if only I hadn’t visited them, if only I’d worn a mask” will not bring them back.

Arlene Wing

Here We Are

Here we are, all stepping back to a slower time. A time that some of us have never known. A time when the rhythms of the earth were seen and understood. Not cloaked behind smog and frantic energy. A time when open schedules spanned in front of us in days and hours instead of minutes and seconds. A time when cooking was a celebration for the food that we all knew might not be there tomorrow. A time when mothers were home with us and we could all see time stretching before us, limitless and free.

Here we are, feeling the fear of our fragility. Knowing that the spark that burns within us can be so easily snuffed out. Feeling the surge of love and gratitude for those who are precious to us and then the stabbing anticipation of possible loss. We are in this terrible limbo of not knowing, in this untraversed land, bouncing from hills of hope to valleys of fear. Searching for knowledge and yet not wanting to know. Too much information floods us and still too little is known.

Here we are, tossed on this wave as its mighty power rolls on to the shore. This wave, like all before it, will ebb back to the sea in its own time. Some souls may ride this mighty wave to the shore while others will float away. Here we are learning to see each other with different eyes, as we float out of sight, the waves too high to see. Yet we are still there. Small beacons of life, our light shining on in the days and nights to come.

Here we are, in this beautiful slowing down that allows us to open and know a different way. Priorities will sift and shift, as we move through this new way of being. A hopefully more loving time, a learning time and a forgiving time will become us.

Here we are, living, dying and being born. Here we are, together and alone. Here we are, rolling toward the shore and floating away. Here we are, a glimmer of light as the stars in the sky.

By Arlene Wing. Arlene is a registered nurse with a master of health services administration degree. She is also a certified hypnotherapist.

Thank you, Arlene

I think your beautiful poem articulates what a lot of us are feeling. Thank you for putting those feelings into words. And thank you for sharing your personal story. Keep getting better. The world needs you, Arlene.

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Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.