One Long Covid Year Later

Bruce Reyes-Chow
5 min readAug 31, 2022
Mid hospital stay, September, 2021

COVID UPDATE: XXVI

“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.

To be fair, the previous December we lost my Grandmother to covid, the Delta variant was creating havoc, and two others in our circle were in the hospital. We all had every reason to be scared. Thankfully, I am still here: often cranky and generally achy, but I’m here.

Feel free to read my life update from a few weeks ago or relive those first hours, days, and weeks via IG updates, but today, I am reflecting on how my life has changed and where I am now.

One Long Covid year later.

  • I left my job, a calling that I loved, as the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto. With that decision, we left a house, a city we were just getting to know, and yes, a regular paycheck.*
  • “We would expect to see these numbers from someone who had just run a marathon, in the heart, and without water” was the assessment of my Creatine Kinase numbers this summer. After some experimentation and many, many, many blood test, it turns out my body is hypersensitive when it comes to physical exertion. And even better, trying to push through only exacerbates the discomfort and could damage my kidneys. Awesome.
  • On most days, I sleep three times a day: through the night, once in the morning, and then again in the late afternoon. Yes, napping is good for the soul, but these naps are not short, welcomed, or chosen interruptions, rather, they are a constant reminder that my fatigue has more control over my life than I would like to give.
  • Publically, most folks would guess that I am all better because, well, I want to feel better and am not willing to long Covid all over every space that I am part of. That would be exhausting for all of us. And while I am doing far better than many others who are experiencing long Covid, I feel pretty good for just enough hours in the day to be frustrated when I don’t. I am slowly figuring out when and how to best use my daily 4–5 hours set aside for public consumption and still have time to be a pleasant and helpful husband, father, son, and sibling. I fail most days at this, but I am definitely moving in the right direction.

What exactly is next, I am not sure. I do know that I am not retired and that I am not headed back to full-time work, but other than that, I am remaining open. I am working on a new book, I will be re-diving back into content creation, and I will be open to short-term, part-time Bridge Pastoring. My days and weeks are now filled with much more alone time, I am finding a good groove with my Orange Theory Fitness and nutrition patterns, and I am settling into a new groove with my writing and podcasting. I’ll primarily focus on answering the financial, professional, and physical question, “What is enough?” Most importantly, I am working on being gentle with myself when the frustration gets the best of me and remaining open to the many new “normals” that will come and go along the way.

Lastly, two others in my community were also admitted when I went into the hospital. I was the only one to come home. Politics and punditry aside, the reality is that Covid has created holes in people’s lives that will forever be filled with grief and loss. Please be gentle with yourselves and one another for you never know the loss that has been experienced.

So there you go, Covid with Bruce, one year later. Thanks to all those near and far who have expressed their support and love in so many ways over the past year. It has been a ride. Special thanks to my spouse, Robin, my kiddos, Annie, Abby, and Ev, the extended family, and my faithful pup, Nurse Vespa.

Peace,
Bruce

*One of the reasons I have tried to share as honestly as I can about this entire ordeal is because I have the luxury and privilege to do so. Not everyone has the resources and support to take the time I am taking to avoid crises and find healing. So many people connected with me to share their Long Covid struggles and their inability to find the time or support to heal. As the world moves on, please remember that someone close to you is probably dealing with all of this in silence and isolation. And if that person is you, you are seen by me and others.

Being prone sucks, but it’s better than not being able to breathe, so…
Nurse Vespa made sure that I rested upon my return home and the Long Covid Apothecary.
First day home and first day in the outside.

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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.