Peg Gehring, FNP-BC, DPN

In a few days, I will “celebrate” my first anniversary of COVID. What are my thoughts about this past year?  The first thought I have is that if I can prevent, or at least alleviate, someone else from going through what I went through, I will.

I remember, and still have, the horrible abdominal pain. I remember sitting on the edge of my bed, staring at my vital sign monitor. I watched my oxygen level and heart rate slowly drop.  I have spent a lifetime watching those monitors and I know exactly what it means. I remember the “impending sense of doom” that came in the form of recalling everyone I have ever seen who was very ill, or that died, in my time as a nurse.

I felt relief when I heard I would have to be intubated and transferred to Boise.  At that time, I did not know how much my chance of survival was going to drop. Nor did I know that my intubation would be a traumatic event to my close hospital friends, who would have to assist in putting the tube in me so I could breathe.

I did not see my husband for over 15 days.  I returned home, frail and on oxygen. We Idaho county girls never want to admit that.  I was able to return to work part-time two months after becoming ill.  I returned to work full-time in another two months, and I could not do anything but work for six months. A year later, I still have the severe abdominal pain that drove me to get tested for COVID in the first place.  Eating is never enjoyable.

Many who refuse the COVID vaccine state that “natural” immunity is better than immunized immunity, but at what cost?  The cost of never enjoying a meal again?  Or people never being able to breathe right again?  Some members of our community are facing lung transplants, while others have died prematurely.  I am sure everyone in our community can name a person who has died from COVID.  Maybe it is “God’s Will,” but perhaps the vaccine was developed by scientists through “God’s Will.”  In history, the faith community challenged every major medical breakthrough as was it part of “God’s Will.” One of the medical breakthroughs challenges was the morality of anesthesia for surgery.  At the time, some argued that it was “God’s Will” that people have pain during surgery.  And even Jesus himself was accused of being from the Devil (Lk 8: 8-22) when he chased out demons.

I agree that the COVID vaccine should not be mandatory. What should be happening is that there are long lines of people awaiting the vaccine. I find my older patients who remember things like polio, measles, and rubella more willing to accept the risk of a vaccine than those who have never been affected by catastrophic diseases.  Those with the wisdom to understand vaccines, science, and health, should be trustworthy and explain the risks and benefits of vaccines, and explain the dangers of Covid. All should understand that we don’t know everything there is to know about Covid, and we likely never will.  As we learn, things will change.  For those who believe Dr. Ryan Cole, I found in his YouTube video that he applied science when it was convenient for his agenda, and ignored science when it was not convenient for his agenda.  This is happening all over the media, in every form.  The only agenda anyone should have when it comes to this virus is to keep our families, our neighbors, our communities, our country, and ourselves as safe and healthy as we possibly can.