I know we all feel like March has been one of the longest months of our lives – but you guys, March has truly been a crazy ride for me. I’ll explain why.
Back in late January, Markell was diagnosed with an autoimmune blood disorder called ITP (info on it here). We had noticed extremely dark, unexplained bruising on his body and made a doctor’s appointment. The nurse practitioner we met with took his blood during our appointment, and then called me first thing the next morning urgently telling me that I needed to bring him to the emergency room. As this unfolded over the next few hours, we were transferred to another hospital’s pediatric hematology department and stayed for a few days. The issue with Markell’s blood is that he does not have any platelets. Platelets are what cause our blood to clot when we get injured and bleed. Without them, he is at risk of bleeding out if he got a serious injury. It would be bad.
The coming weeks were focused on trying various medicines and treatments. Nothing worked that we tried but we had a really great doctor and team who were confident that eventually something we would try would work.
Enter Tuesday, March 3rd. Markell was home with me in the evening and started heavily bleeding when he would urinate. This was something the doctor had told us to alert her to if it happened. We rushed to the emergency room and were admitted to the hospital. Over the coming days the doctors ran a plethora of tests on his pee and blood to make sure that we had the right diagnosis and nothing else was triggering the blood. It cleared up to an extent that we could be discharged, but that process took 8 long days. In the end, they found that he had a virus that may have caused the excessive bleeding. Needless to say, the emotions of having your child in the hospital are ones I would not wish on anyone. From feeling hopeless to angry to upset, as well as disoriented after spending so many hours in a hospital room, those 8 days were some of the toughest of my life.
In the meantime – still in March – I had a planned trip to England to go see Mark and I’s wedding venue and meet with several of our wedding vendors. I had already shortened my trip from nine days to less than five because of what was going on with Markell, which ended up working out since while I was literally on my flight to England Trump announced that UK citizens could no longer fly to the US. As a US citizen I would be allowed back, but from when the announcement was made there was a window of time to get back before airlines started to lessen their routes.
While I was in England the COVID-19 situation in the U.S. became even more serious that it had previously been. Upon my return to Dulles Airport, the CDC had us fill out a health form and questioned us about our travels. Since I didn’t exhibit any symptoms – and haven’t since, thankfully – I was allowed to go home.
Since then I’ve been in quarantine mode, more or less, at home. My colleagues and I have all been directed to work from home until further notice. I already worked from home a few days a week before that directive, so it hasn’t been a huge change for me. However, being at home all the time is a change. To keep my sanity I go for long walks daily, and have found a slew of home projects to keep me busy as well as a few new TV series.
Markell spends his days playing video games and shooting hoops at our local basketball court. Keeping him caught up with school was definitely a challenge at first, as he was in the hospital as the COVID-19 situation was ramping up and I had to get him caught up on what he missed from then. We’ve since gotten back on track, and now have a week off for “spring break” before we start distance learning in mid-April. We are still working on finding a treatment that will work for his ITP diagnosis, but at least his symptoms have improved.
Amid all the chaos of March, I am grateful. I am grateful that Markell was in good enough shape to get discharged from the hospital. I am grateful that I still have a job, amid this economy that is not currently stable. I am grateful that I have a comfortable home to spend time in, a creative mind that keeps me occupied, a full fridge, and friends and family who love me. I am grateful I was able to make it over to England, even if briefly, to plan my wedding (which hopefully will still happen in June 2021) and see Mark.
In times like these, I often wonder how I can help. It is difficult at present to do any volunteer work, which is usually my preferred way to contribute. So I’ve decided that weekly now – for every week I continue to have a job and this pandemic continues – I will donate to local charities in my community.
How have you been managing amid COVID-19?