In the House of COVID-19

Everywhere I look around my home, I see the magic that is my husband Dan; the lights, the gardens, the fountains, the peace. I look at his now empty chair and feel his presence all around me, his sweet smile, gentle spirit, and wonderful sense of humor. He is my twin flame, my soulmate, and my heart will not feel complete until he is home with me again.

Yesterday afternoon the news we had been dreading became real; Dan, in the hospital again for complications from his emergency appendectomy earlier this week, was confirmed to have the dreaded COVID-19. My stomach dropped when he shared the news; though my sixty-seven-year-old yoga-teaching husband was healthy and strong, the damn virus has changed everything. An invisible foe that is keeping us apart and threatening everything we cherish.

The Gaineys are now at war, and though I’m not able to be at his side and am now quarantined myself, I will be the General of his Army to help him fight to get healthy again. I spent yesterday informing family and our closest friends, doing yard work, and shedding a lot of tears. I have seen far too many horror stories of how quickly COVID-19 can take down an otherwise healthy person. I have stopped watching the news- I just can’t deal with it right now and need to focus my energies on trying to stay positive and advocate for Dan. I will also have to be tested for the virus myself (again) so that I know how quarantine will work when we are both at home. I will do whatever I have to do to help him be comfortable and heal well.

Waking up to Shiva…

Thankfully Dan’s breathing issues have improved, and now they are working to combat the awful nausea and vomiting that are keeping him from getting any sustenance. His temperature spiked to 103 the other night, but has since improved, though he experiences hallucinations at times. This morning he was told that he will have to have an awful procedure called a NasoGastro to break up an impaction in his upper intestine, the source of his inability to keep anything down. He told me he is in the tenth circle of Hell, each day bringing a new torture. I am just grateful he is not one of the many people on ventilators in UAB’s COVID Ward.

There is hope; Dan was told that when they can get his symptoms of nausea and a few other issues under control, he can be released to quarantine at home. Even though he’s just been gone a few days, it feels like weeks since I last saw him, last held him. We FaceTime as the hospital WiFi will allow, we call, we text when Dan has enough energy. Other than that, Dan only sees nurses and doctors in hazmat suits. He has gotten wonderful care from his nurses, and we are so grateful for that blessing.

My constant companions…

As for me, I feel numb. I am stressed and worried beyond belief. I have had to distance myself from social media for a bit, as while the number of people keeping us in their thoughts and prayers is an amazing and very appreciated gift, trying to return the many many private messages has proven to be absolutely overwhelming right now. It is about all that I can handle to keep up with updating our family and close friends, along with trying to keep the house, yard, and animals taken care of, and attempt to teach my students online during this bizarre semester. I feel like I am a juggler, dropping balls everywhere, no matter how hard I try.

This morning we had a Gainey family Zoom meeting, which was a wonderful way for us all to connect and support each other in our worry for Dan during these extraordinary times. I also got to speak with my sister and messaged with my small and tight circle of closest friends. What would I do without them? My goal is to continue preparing the house to bring Dan home when he is finally released, sanitizing every surface, changing bedding, scrubbing. I am waiting to find out when I can be tested. I’m doing my best to exercise each day and eat well to keep myself healthy and burn off some stress. At the end of the day, I will go to the top deck with Marley and a good book to look out at the city, my husband in a hospital bed just blocks down the hill, wishing I would see two glasses of wine rather than one, wishing that my Dan was home with me, well again.


44 thoughts on “In the House of COVID-19

  1. Thinking of you both and hoping you feel the good wishes for complete recovery and health as soon as possible coming from far and wide.

  2. Don’t worry about any of the balls you think you’re dropping. You’re keeping the most important ones up—taking care of yourself so you can care for Dan.
    Give yourself grace for all the other balls.
    Sending strength and love. ❤️

  3. I can only think of you, and Dan, these last few days, Denise.
    Prayers, and healing thoughts, are with you….
    Sending you hugs, and healing energy, to Dan.
    Thank you, so much, for the update. We are all with you, both…💑💝🙏

  4. Denise,

    Since I am not an avid facebooker, and just found out about Dan late yesterday, I have not been able to
    think of anything else. I left you a long vm on Dan’s phone. Please keep us posted. Please tell Dan, The Sykes are praying for him and I am so hoping you get positive results from your test. It sounds like Dan May be on the upswing now and will be safely back at home with you really soon. Please keep me in mind to do anything you need my help with – my work is basically cut off for a month or more so, I have plenty of time.

  5. Denise, thanks for blogging about Dan’s condition and what you’re going through. I just found out about Dan. Such crazy scary times. Please take care of yourself, and Dan when he get’s home. Much love to you both!

  6. Denise, sending a virtual hug and prayers for Dan’s recovery and continued health for you.

  7. Balls bounce back up again when you drop them. You have so many people behind you. It sounds like the prayers and positive energy are working in Dan’s favor. You’ve been on my mind. Keep hanging in, and be kind to yourself as well. Sending love.

  8. You are managing a Herculean task here with grace, elegance, and a beautiful spirit. Just concentrate on you and Dan. Everything else will sort itself out. Sending love to you both and lighting a candle. You are amazing. ❤️❤️ —Julia

  9. Thanks for sharing this, Denise. You and Dan remain in my prayers. I am confident that Dan will pull through this,and it’s really awesome how you’re sanitizing everything at home to prepare for his return! Love, Tod

  10. I read this and my heart dropped. Please know that I too am sending prayers and positive thoughts for your (because there such oneness) safety and healing. Virtual hugs to you!

  11. Thank you for writing about your life in such a beautiful way Denise. You make everyone who reads your words feel like they are important to you, your real friend. I am worried for you and Dan and if that counts for anything, he’ll be home in no time. Love you so very much! Please tell Dan Cliff and I are sending the best vibes on the planet! ❤️

  12. Praying for Dan and you Denise. Your writing is beautiful and touched me greatly. I hope today has some good news. Sending much love ❤️

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