This blog is mostly about my health journey. It is about how, in less than a year, I was able to transform my health and maintain it. The story of my transformation began one year ago today.
From the beginning of the COVID19 pandemic, I have been worried about my brothers. They both have significant health issues due to Trisomy 9. They are very vulnerable to viruses. What I had read COVID19 indicated this was a bad virus.
I was hoping this virus would fizzle out like the Swine flu in 1976 and 2009. But as numbers began to grow in South Dakota in late August 2020, so did my concern. Though the staff at his home took many precautions, on September 4, 2020, I received word that my oldest brother, Jefferson, was confirmed COVID19 positive. He was quarantined in his home and monitored. Staff checked on him regularly and took his vitals. Because of the nature of the virus, nobody was allowed to visit. I received frequent status reports on his progress. For the most part, things were looking good. After 11 days with no major symptoms, I hoped the worst was behind us.
Around 4:30 pm on September 14, 2020, I received a text update regarding Jefferson. It said “Oxygen 92% . . .Temp 99.9 Eating well. Was little agitated this afternoon so Tylenol was given.” This was the last update I would receive.
At approximately 2am on September 15, 2020, I was sound asleep when I was awakened by my dog barking. As I stumbled out of bed to discuss the inappropriateness of barking at 2am, I heard an electric buzz. It sounded odd. I didn’t know what it was. When I got to the main floor of my home, there was the dog still barking. Somebody was on our porch with a flashlight. It was just a bit freaky. Quickly I found the source of the light when I saw a uniformed police officer through the window. I immediately knew why he was at my house. I opened the door and he asked if I was Jason. I said yes. He asked if I had a brother name Jefferson. I said yes. He then informed me that he had passed away in his sleep. Dead at 59 from Covid19. SIDENOTE: I never got the name of the police officer. But I do want to thank him. I can’t imagine how awful it must be to tell someone you don’t know about the death of a loved one. Also, the buzzing was due to the doorbell breaking and needing to be replaced.
Statistically, my brother was COVID19 death number 200 in South Dakota. We now have nearly 2,000. His death unleashed a torrent of emotions that are still flowing through me. I am sad because he is gone. I am angry because I couldn’t stop his death. I am mad that we can’t seem slow this virus down and many more will die. I am pissed that the virus has become a political game to many. I am happy he isn’t in pain. I grateful for the perspective all of this has provided me but frustrated that I have even less patience for BS.
But mostly, today, I am sad. I miss him. I miss his smile. I miss his hugs. I miss talking with him. I miss the perspective he gave me. I didn’t visit him enough, but each visit made a difference for me (and I think for him). He will never know that I am the person I am today because of him. It is not coincidence that it was only a couple of days after what would have been his 60th birthday that I began this journey.
So today, I ask my readers, take a moment to reach out to those that you love. Tell them you love them. Give them a hug because you don’t know when you won’t be able to anymore.