My goal for this blog is to lay out what happened in our home when the Rona hit. It is written from Ryan’s perspective. Also, we will add a link to Brock’s blog so you can hear from him, it was a journey shared. May the Lord be glorified through this story…it’s all about Him!!
The Summer program here was a success. Things were going so well that Mynor, the Rolfe’s, and our fam were not present for a whole week. Staff ran everything. Laura and I took the kids to the coast and enjoyed the sun and God’s creation. It was so good and refreshing.
We were back home on Friday, July 16. After returning from Hannah’s worship practice, Laura came home and went to bed. Body aches and fever started that night. She tested positive for COVID on Sunday. “Okay, we are good. Quarantine the fam, follow CDC guidelines, take care of mama.” We knew we would miss the start of the Johnson and Kimball’s trip but by God’s grace, we’ll be with them soon, or so we thought. We started dropping like flies. Next the virus hit me, Rachel, Paul, Luke, Caleb, and Hannah.
I tested positive on Thursday, July 22, the day the Johnson’s arrived. Our quarantine was pushed back more. My symptoms started mild. I threw the softball with Hannah the first few days. Laura was the one suffering…103 temp, body aches, cough, and chest heaviness. The kids had mild symptoms, nothing too bad.
Then BAM, I started feeling like absolute garbage on Wednesday, July 28. That night was rough. I couldn’t breathe and I felt like garbage. I woke up early, checked my oxygen level and it was 85%. What?! I didn’t wake Laura…I got this. ‘I’ll read my Bible, I’ll deep breathe, chill and be good.’ I kept monitoring it and my O2 would fluctuate from 88-91%. I didn’t wake Laura. I got this. Once Laura got up, she jumped into nurse mode and started caring for me. She didn’t like my vitals or how I looked, but I was okay. ‘I’d just chill and be fine.’
Laura is scurrying around. I know she is concerned. I kept telling her I was okay. Then I did FaceTime with Matt and Brock…the screen didn’t look good. I was pretty white, couldn’t breathe while talking. ‘Okay Ryan just rest. Sit and chill.’
My wife and everyone are now telling me to get ready…”You are going to the hospital”. ‘Nope. Ain’t gonna do it.’ I’m resisting, “You got this babe…nurse me back, I know you can, Call Doc Carlos, see what he can do.” I knew the ramifications, I might not come back.
“There are protests all over, the roads are blocked, an ambulance can’t get here. We gotta go!! We were going to need to take back roads to get to the hospital. Brooke called the hospital, and they are waiting.”
It all happened so fast. I’m telling the kids ‘Goodbye’…hoping that I will be with them again, hoping that these aren’t my last hugs. We loaded up in the 4Runner and off we go. We meet up with Doc Carlos and he guides Brock to some back roads on the other side of the mountains. Imagine in your mind an unpaved, uneven, rocky, mud slick path in the woods, rain forest…on the side of a mountain. On one side of the road, a straight ascent with trees, with the other side a deep ravine.
Cars are getting stuck in front of us. Brock kept plugging. The 4Runner was great. We kept praising God. We kept singing worship songs. All we could do was focus on God our King. Our only hope is in Him. What does the next bend hold?? Is it accessible?? Is it blocked??
Praise the LORD!! We get to Mixco. We are close. There’s paved roads. Traffic is mild comparatively speaking.
Brock: “Oso, we are close. Won’t be much longer.” The song, “Is He Worthy?” is playing. Jesus, You are worthy. I trust. The thoughts are hitting me, I don’t know if I will go back to BV. Jesus, I can do nothing but trust in You.
By God’s guidance, we arrived at the ER in the heart of Guatemala City. It’s a nice place, the resident is kind and he speaks great English!! That was the soft entry, and it was not cool after that. Blood draw time…the lady dug around on the left arm and didn’t get what she needed (I still have the bruises). She moved over to the right, dug some more. Here comes the nasal swab. I’ve never passed out before, but I did and I don’t remember how I got to laying down. Laura was great, she loved and cared for me.
I had eaten very little and drank very little to this point. My body is spasming and the pain was ridiculous. Finally, I got a protein bar down (Thank You Hannah for your foresight and care). The ER started me on some O2 and that helped. “Mr. Wilson, you need to be admitted. Your bloodwork is elevated, you need oxygen, and a variety of medications to help you. You will be here a minimum of 3 days.” What?! Nope, not 3 days. 3 days is a long time in a hospital…a Guatemalan hospital. This place was nice, but it still isn’t a suburban medical center…it’s not Memorial.
They now proceeded to stick me 6 times to get my IV. Throughout, I’m telling Laura that ‘I’m done, Let’s go home’.
As I’m getting into the wheelchair, the nurse is saying that I can’t take my bag back nor my phone. ‘Ain’t gonna stay then…let’s go’. I snuck my phone in my pocket. There was discussion about the bag and cooler heads prevailed. Now I’m staring at some doors which enter to the COVID unit. Brock and Laura pray over me. All I can think is: ‘God help me…will I come back out?’ I interned in the ICU during PT school. I knew the statistics. I knew the chances of catching something else or an error occurring.
The COVID unit was a different world. They were professional, very clean, and very informative. God blessed me with an English speaking resident. Things were getting better. I settled in and set my mind to relying on God and filling my mind with Him, His Word, and praise.
The first night was restless. My doc, Dr. Anleu, enters Friday morning. “Mr. Wilson, there is no cure for COVID. We will treat your symptoms and hope that you get better…and you will be here for a minimum of 5 days.” He was straightforward, direct, and truthful. 5 days is gonna suck. God, it’s in Your hands.
The next several days the Bible was coming alive. Paul’s wrestling of heaven versus here in Philippians 1. David and his crying out throughout the Psalms. God ordaining our days, Psalm 139. Jesus words of being the Bread of Life.
God is showing Himself faithful. Folks in many places and churches are praying. God faithfully answered. God and I are wrestling. God is winning. God is humbling. God is breaking me. God is making me fully dependent on Him. It is one thing to read the Bible and to know what it says, and it is a completely different thing to live it, but, that is what suffering does. Trials make the Bible so real.
I was in the hospital from July 29 through August 3…6 days and 5 nights. God sustained me through.
God…allowed…me…to…live. That is not an exaggeration. God allowed me to live. How do I know? First, the Bible teaches that He ordains our days. The Bible teaches that God is Sovereignly in control. Secondly, God spoke to me through a note from my new friend Fernando.
On my last day, the nurses told me that Don Fernando wanted to speak to me. Not knowing what I was getting into, I walked down to Room 7. I met a 23 year old COVID patient who handed me a note. He and I had not spoken to this point. God had led him to write a note of encouragement to me. God spoke to me through those words. Fernando had no way of knowing the wrestlings that God and I had several days before. The words on the note gave me COMPLETE assurance that God was speaking to me and He allowed me to live. God met me in so many ways. God made Himself real in so many ways that week. That note was a sweet culmination.
By God’s grace, I’m back home. By God’s grace, I have hugged my wife again. By God’s grace, I have been given my kids back. By God’s grace, I am a different dude. By God’s grace, I will have joy in the process!!