Trying to hold onto hope

Ever since I got the call about my dad getting really sick and coming down with all the COVID symptoms… it’s been rough. Like I mentioned in my last post when it all happened, it’s crazy how your life can change so quickly with just ONE phone call, from trying to figure out my Fourth of July plans, to concerned for the life of that someone I love.

That first day, I probably spent a good 4 hours straight on Zoom with my mom, just calming her down and talking her through what to do next. For context, the longest we’ve spoken in the past two years has been quick 3 minute phone calls here or there.

As a quick backstory, my relationship with my parents is a complicated one, to put it mildly. The way I was raised, a “good daughter” doesn’t say ‘No’. She doesn’t question anything, especially their religion. She just does everything she is told to do. Instead, my parents were given me… and I’m not that kind of person at all… I’ve always been the one to break the mold. Initially, my fathers reaction was to beat that out of me. When that didn’t work, instead they started telling me I wasn’t good enough. In short, in their eyes I’m the rebellious daughter, even more so since I left their religion. Over the past 2 years they’ve mostly “cut me off” which means they don’t speak to me unless they want my financial help, all in the hope that it’ll inspire me to return to their religion. I’ve helped take care of them from afar. Really the only time they acknowledge me is when they need something. It’s not even something I have any resentment over anymore, this is just… how they are with me. They’re my parents, and I love them anyways, even though I’ll never understand it all.

Getting him seen by a doctor and to get him COVID tested

So that first day… I helped talk my mom through everything. Convincing her to move to the guest room and quarintine my dad in their room. I guided her through disinfecting everything he had touched. While I spent hours on the phone trying to get him an appointment to see the doctor and let me tell you… that was *NOT* easy, especially factoring in it was a holiday weekend and everywhere was closing.

I was able to snag us an emergency tele-appointment on Saturday, and after going through everything and all my dad’s symptoms the doctor said that he was 90% sure it’s COVID, but they need a test to confirm the diagnosis. They’re especially concerned because of my dad’s health conditions and age. He’s really at risk.

I’m concerned, because my dad’s fever and headaches are getting worse, then last night he started to get shortness of breath. His oxygen levels are pretty low, but not quite low enough to get him admitted to the hospital.

That doesn’t even factor in the madness of trying to get a COVID test right now. The doctor discouraged it, said we should just treat it as if it’s COVID and not worry about the test, which basically means keeping hydrated and keep an eye on oxygen levels. He couldn’t even get him scheduled for a COVID test for at least 2 weeks, since testing centers are closing down and appointments are hard to come by.

Usually, I’d accept that… but no. He’s got ALL of the symptoms AND he’s at high risk. If we get him an official diagnosis now, that could help streamline his care later, especially if his health nosedives.

My parents were literally turned away from an Urgent Care, because they didn’t have the right insurance despite displaying all the symptoms and me calling and offering to pay cash today. Today alone, I’ve spent a solid 5 hours, hustling my ass off to get him an appointment to get tested. Everything was booked for weeks, few places accepted walk-ins, and no one prioritized those that were displaying symptoms and were high risk. I finally was able to snag him a test for tomorrow afternoon that accepts his insurance, and get my mom in to be tested today with a Rapid COVID test (which we had to pay out of pocket)… since she couldn’t sleep last night she was so scared she had it too. (Thankfully, her test came back negative.)

Here I am, hustling my ass off… and it makes me think… what about all those people who don’t have someone advocating for them? That are too exhausted to function? It shouldn’t take FIVE HOURS of calling doctors and researching online forums for leads on places offering testing. It should *not* be this hard.

Then an article by the NY Times came out today, showing the data behind it all… Black and Latino populations are THREE times more likely to become infected, than their white neighbors. We’re also TWICE as likely to die from the virus! I can’t just let my parents be another statistic. I won’t.

Maybe I’m overreacting because I’ve already lost FOUR relatives in death to COVID (2 in Italy and 2 in LA), and I just can’t even handle the thought of losing my dad or my parents too. I’m so… angry… and terrified for them. I really am.

Crushing Guilt

I know I shouldn’t be surprised or frustrated by all of this… but I really am. Even though I’m in Maui, I have worked INCREDIBLY hard to keep my parents isolated. I buy all their groceries and have them delivered. I taught them how to clean every grocery or package that arrived. Their rent is taken care of, so they don’t need to work. I check in several times a week to see what else they need. There really is nothing they needed to leave the house for. My brother who lives near them, drops off whatever else they need.

But my dad was going stir crazy, so he “ran away” and went to an outdoor nursery to buy new plants for his garden, and there were some people there without any masks that didn’t keep social distance. We think that’s where he caught it.

Even though I know, I literally couldn’t have done anything else to keep them safe and that I am doing my very best. I feel so much guilt, it’s the whole “I’m just not enough” feeling. The first night after we got the news… I cried SO hard. I just sobbed and sobbed, because it hurts so bad. It’s so scary. And I feel like I need to be there to help take care of them. Davide pointed out that it *not* my job to save everyone. That I have done WAY more than most people would, especially considering how they treat me. That I can’t go back to the mainland, I’d just get infected myself and then no one could help them. So at this point, I need to focus on just having peace with the situation. To do what I can from here, and let go of the rest. He’s right. I know he is. It was just hard to hear. Even tougher to process.

Sometimes, it hits me out of nowhere and I start tearing up at the thought of anything bad happening to my parents. It’s just overwhelming. I really struggle, because it feels like, especially with them… my best is never enough. I am never enough. And in this situation, even though I know I did everything humanly possible, I feel so much guilt for that reason. Maybe I’m just really beating myself up again… but it’s kinda hard to think straight in the middle of all of this.

Leaning on my friends

I feel like a zombie at this point. I don’t sleep very well. I started adding in a second workout before before bed, so I could just completely exhaust myself and fall asleep.

I’m also trying to be smarter this time around, for my own mental and emotional health. So I’m reaching out to my best friends, telling them what’s going on. Making myself go out with them and hangout. Really leaning on Davide.

But, when I’m out… my heart isn’t really in it. I’m glued to my phone, terrified of what news the next call is going to bring. I’m just not my usual happy go lucky self. I’m really scared.

I didn’t even want to go surfing yesterday… I was worried about being away from my phone for too long. What if my mom called and needed me? Davide finally convinced me to go, and that he’d call me in to the shore if my phone rang.

Jennica dragged me out into the water and got me talking. She started asking me questions about my childhood and my parents. I hate questions about my childhood, how I grew up, and my family because there is no easy way to talk about how fucked up it all is.

How can you tell someone that despite all the love you have for your dad, it’s kinda hard to forget that he used to grab you by your hair and throw you into a wall? Or how my brother was taught that it was his job to “punish” me too and would treat me like his punching bag? How no 12yr old’s life goal should be to make sure your dad doesn’t beat up your little sister too?

Yeah, I’ve been through hell and back. Worked through years of therapy, so I could find peace with it all. So that I don’t hold onto resentment, so I can break the mold and not be like them. How I fear that I’ll have anger issues like them, or end up in a relationship where I get abused. Or that I feel like I’m always trying to “catch up” to everyone else around me and just “be normal”, when inside I feel like I keep getting wrecked.

After telling her about all of it, she gave me a big hug and let me cry.

I’ve learned that, I don’t like to process really painful stuff, out in the open with everyone. I tend to keep it really really close to my chest because of the way I’ve been so hurt by people I’ve really loved and trusted. Now, I like to process things by writing (here) or talking with a therapist. It’s even rare for me to really completely lean on someone.

Then of course there are the people who say they’re friends and are around to help, but they blow you off or magically disappear when you go through a hard time. To me, that’s a clear “I don’t really care about you” sign, and I tend to not really open up to them even when they do come back around. I just don’t like wasting my time with fake friends.

I know the friendships I have and the support of the people I surround myself with, is the most important thing for me right now. This situation is too big and too scary, for just me to deal with on my own. I need my support system more than ever. But at the same time, I have no idea how to even explain everything I’m going through. Which is why it’s always been so much easier to pretend like I’m fine.

Hope

Despite the hard seasons I seem to be finding myself in so consistently, I have this deep belief that I won’t be in a hard season forever, but I am in one right now and that’s okay.

All I can really do, is hold out hope, because there truly is SO much hope. The odds are that he’ll pull through this.

I keep telling myself that Hope is a state of mind. One that I need to live in right now, because there genuinely will be a better tomorrow. And despite all of the tragedies… I genuinely believe that.

I just keep putting one foot in front of another… and I feel like right now, I need my friends more than ever. They’re helping hold me together, because gosh… I feel like I’m starting to fall apart.

And to everyone reading this… this pandemic is SUPER real and dangerous. Why are testing centers closing down when this pandemic is getting worse? Wash your hands, wear a mask (if not your sake, then for the sake of people like my dad), and be kind to everyone you meet.

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