My Covid Diary: Updates and Musings

Bruce Reyes-Chow
12 min readDec 16, 2022

First, Covid sucks.

Moving on, below are updates regarding my initial bout and ongoing battle with Covid-19 that began on August 25, 2021. I’ve posted these around the socials, but will now use this post as my primary hub for significant updates. For all the in-between posts, feel free to follow me on The Gram. I’ll be adding and editing past updates as I have time, but you can always look back via my IG Covid Highlights, which contain most of my updates.

For those who have walked with me during this time, thank you!

12.16.22: COVID UPDATE XXVII

Me to my spouse, “Do you want the good news or the bad news first?”
Robin, “Does there have to be bad news?”
Me, “I’m dying.”
Robin, “We’re all dying, what were your results?”

This is where we are with Covid, an unwanted and overstaying guest that is not the butt of our health and mortality banter.

You can catch up via past updates and my one-year big update, but basically, we are trying to keep my Creatin Kinase numbers low enough to keep my kidneys unaffected Apparently, we need those things :-). Over the past year, especially since I was diagnosed with #LongCovid, my doctor and I have been playing with levels of exercise that will allow me to be physically active and not risk kidney damage.

So the good news is that my kidneys are functioning as they should be.

Bad news my CK numbers returned to June 2022 levels after slowly coming down over the past six months. This was not HUGELY surprising as I had just completed the OrangeTheory #12DaysOfFitness Challenge and worked out six times in nine days.

#OrangeTheory #12DaysOfFitness Challenge Prize! FB Update

So yeah, I had exerted myself quite a bit, but unlike previous times, I was feeling pretty good. Sure, I am still experiencing random bouts of fatigue and unwelcomed nap demands, but I genuinely was feeling, dare I say it, “normal.” After workouts, I am sore, but a good sore, and I no longer find myself sleeping for 14 hours two days after a workout. I was cautiously optimistic about my state of Long Covid, but alas, “normal” is still just a bit out of reach. I’ll get there, but just not quite yet.

After talking with my doc, we will stay the course in my treatment. I have been given permission to increase my exercise patterns — though I am def not keeping up that six sessions in nine days pace — and I will blood test every month. I will continue to have conversations with my body and spirit in order to find those speed spots of harmony that allow me to be as active and outward as I can. What I am discovering, I think, is that on the days that I work out, I have to work less. While I definitely am feeling better, the idea that I actually have a finite amount of energy to expend has been fascinating and helped me to budget my movement and time.

All-in-all, I am doing well. Do I wish I was all good, sure, but in the spectrum of how others are experiencing Long Covid, I cannot and will not complain. I have had to make adjustments to my life and pace for the immediate and foreseeable future, but I am still able to do most things I was doing before. I may not be able to move at the 100mph that I love, but I am still moving, serving, and hopefully causing just the right amount of good trouble in the world.

Again, thanks for hanging out with me for the long haul, but as you pray for my family and me, please also hold in your prayers the many who are suffering in silence and isolation. Long Covid lends itself to self-gaslighting, so be gentle with yourselves and others as this is real.

08.31.22: COVID UPDATE XXVI

This was a long one-year update posted here on Medium.

“This could turn really quickly, so I think it’s time you go to the emergency room.”

One year ago today, with my breathing so bad I could not complete a sentence, my Covid doc decided it was time. While I was never in mortal danger, I know many of my friends, family, and colleagues were scared. Oh, who am I kidding, there was a good hour or so after those words hit me that I was deeply worried that I would not make it.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE XXV

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE XXIV

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE XXIII

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE XXII

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE XXI

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE XX

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE XIX

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE XVIII

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE XVII

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE XVI

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE XV

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE XIV

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE XII

To be added from the original update.

09.04.21: COVID UPDATE XI — The Plea

Tomorrow I will mostly like go home and for this I am immensely grateful.
At the same time my heart is heavy for the larger community that I am part of has simultaneously been holding up Lewis Washington and his fight against Covid. Lewis was also vaccinated. Lewis died. Lewis will have no chance to go home. Lewis’ community will not get to celebrate a quick and speedy recovery. Lewis’ community will now mourn and grieve his loss. Lewis, like too many has found himself yet another victim of a pandemic that had needlessly stretched on because we human beings cannot see beyond our own self-interest, personal conveniences, power-preserving politics, and a warped sense of personal freedom.

I did not know Lewis personally, but because I know those who where loved by him, I do know him. I know him as a sibling of the body of Christ, a lover of life, a poet of song, and part of my global human community. My heart breaks for his dearest friends whose tears flow this day; his community directly touched by his music and his love.

#RestInPeace
#RestInPower

In the same way, many of you did not know my grandmother who died in December, but you do because you know me. Countless others, dead, dying, recovered, and recovering, we know one another because we are all part of one body, intrinsically woven together whether want to know and believe it or not.

But some of you still choose to know only yourself, what you have, and what you choose to protect. You have given yourself a false sense of immunifortification and convinced yourself that you, your life, your comfort, your survival, your ability to move about the world without responsibility to the common good is somehow your right — that your freedom is more important than the health of other humans around you.

This is misguided and you are wrong.

Whether holding shaky anti-vaccines stances, setting unrealistic goals for scientific certainty, fighting mask mandates, or reinforcing wild conspiracy theories about motivations, you are exacerbating how long this will go on.
Sadly, I can’t ignore you because your actions have consequences and impact my life and the lives of my communities. Breakthroughs like mine, the infections of unvaccinated, immunocompromised, children, economic justice, educational equity, food justice, emotional well-being, future variants — all of this is connected . . . to you. You hold the power to shift the trajectory. More than enough of us have already chosen your health and the health of others over our own pleasures and conveniences, not to say anything about those who have had no choice but to risk their lives every day serving, delivering, healing, and teaching.

There are some who might wish death upon you, have no sympathy for your life, or empathy for those who would you grieve your death. Still others think the only way you will change your mind is if you experience the death of a loved one. And yet others believe, in the depths of your soul, there is no redemption or change possible.

I refuse to see these as the only options for our future. I refuse to rejoice in the death, sickness, or suffering of others. And I do not want you to have to see that in your loved ones, your neighbor, your friends, your community. I choose to believe that we can collectively be better. We don’t have to agree with about all things, but can we not agree that less death and sickness is better than more?

I refuse to see you without compassion, intellect, empathy, and the willingness to change. For me to choose any other view of you would be disengenuous to my character and would pain my soul, for you deserve just as much human dignity and respect as I hope you will extend to me.
That said, I can be angry, frustrated, and finally to the point of publicly pleading for you to change your mind and choose another way.
Please, take a breath and deeply consider a shift, even ever so slightly: get vaccinated in secret, ratchet down the rhetoric, practice mitigation, and, if you cannot, please allow others to do so without fear of retribution or attack.

My journey to recover and getting “better” will be easier than some and more difficult for others. And I hope a vast majority of people never get close to knowing any part of this Covid experience.

I plead with you today, not only because I want you to join a cause, but because if we do not do this together, too many more will needlessly suffer and die.

If all goes as planned, I will see you from home tomorrow as I begin my recovery, thanks be to God.

09.03.21: COVID UPDATE X

Other than my world class athlete wife casually mentioning walking down the entire hallway all at once and just getting a little winded, it’s been a welcomed, uneventful day.

Seriously, Robin and I are killin’ this Empty Nest, Sandwich Generation, Breakthrough Covid, Pandemic lifestage. Don’t be jealous, it’s taken us over 30 years of marriage to get this level of exciting. 🙂

The picture of me was taken after about a gazillion hours of laying on my stomach to help open up my airways. Being prone for hours on end is not exciting, but it’s super helpful to help get oxygenation numbers up. It’s awkward, uncomfortable, and I’m always afraid I’m going to moon the next person to walk in, but my numbers are improving and I could string together multi-sentence thoughts on the phone.

My prone time had me watch all four episodes of “What If?’, starting KDrama, ‘Hometown Cha-Cha-Cha,” and spending three minutes contemplating reading one of the books I tossed in the bag.

After last night’s update I didn’t want you thinking Breakthrough Covid life was all panic eyes and drama; nope there’s also hours of tedium and humdrum . . . and that’s just fine with me.

Hope to return tomorrow with another to non-eventful report from the Kaiser Covid Ward.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE IX

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE VIII

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE VII

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE VI

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE V

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE IV

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE III

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE II

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: COVID UPDATE I

To be added from the original update.

00.00.00: Hospital

To be added from the original update.

08.25.21: Infected

Added from the original IG update.

Boo Covid. Feel like crap, but all in all okay and grateful for vaccinations.

A portion of my letter to @fpcpaloalto.

While it would be great to know the exact details about when we were infected, we can only make educated guesses. As you know, our family has been extremely careful these past 18 months and I have encouraged our congregation to follow suit. It is clear that the Delta Variant is not playing around and we must all take as many precautions as we can.

What I do know is the following:

None of us is an exception. Our family has been careful, we have continued to mask, we do not eat inside, but still, we were infected.

The pandemic is still going strong. Sadly, until we as a country and world figure this out and rediscover a commitment to the common good, we will live in this unknown space for a very long time.

I could be much worse off. While COVID has definitely leveled my 52-year-self (fever, cough, headaches, etc.), because I am vaccinated, I know that my chances of being hospitalized or dying are low.

I do not want to preside over your funeral. I genuinely want you to get vaccinated if not already. What we know is that those who are unvaccinated are much more likely to die if infected. This is not overreacting or shaming, but simply a plea that I hope you will heed.

We must remain diligent and disciplined. In order to keep one another healthy and those who have sacrificed for us, we must continue to mask and distance, especially to protect our children, those with other medical issues, and anyone else not able to receive the vaccination.

I know that many of you have very strong opinions about vaccinations, the pandemic, and the politics of it all, but let me emphasize that, at the end of the day, we must see one another as members of the Body of Christ — when one part suffers, we all suffer, when one rejoices, we all rejoice. Our compassion and empathy should not be contingent upon political agreement, so please continue to hold all — ALL — who are being impacted by Covid-19 in your prayers.

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Bruce Reyes-Chow

he/him | working for the common good: writing, speaking, pastoring, coaching, parenting, seeking, observing, loving, amplifying, marching, laughing, napping.