Tim and Jane's Wood Stove, Nov. 2021 | Jane Boursaw Photo
Tim and Jane's Wood Stove, Nov. 2021 | Jane Boursaw Photo
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Hello, Dear Readers. As some of you know, Tim and I got sidelined by Covid this month. I posted a note here on the Gazette on Dec. 10 to let you know why there was no new content on the site. I could not drag myself to the computer, that’s why.

But first things first. As we’ve learned many times over the years, the Old Mission Peninsula community is the best ever. When word started trickling out that we had Covid, you guys took care of us as you’ve done so many, many times before, through liver transplants, botched kidney procedures, and three emergency Triple-A surgeries in a row in 2017. (That’s the medical term for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm, which we now know way too much about.)

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This time, it was that lovely virus that’s been the talk of the town the past couple years. After experiencing a stuffy nose and light cough, I took a home test on Dec. 1 which revealed I was Covid-positive. At the time, we thought Tim might have escaped it, so I quarantined upstairs and he kept me fed and hydrated via the stairway. But alas, a few days later, Tim also tested positive for Covid. We did ok for the first few days. It seemed like a bad cold/flu, and the symptoms even got a little better over the next several days. Well, this isn’t too bad, I thought. I can handle this.

The joke was on us! When the initial symptoms calmed down – stuffy nose, a little cough, low-grade fever – that’s when things really got interesting. I managed to document things up to Day 6, and that’s when my journal entries stopped. There is a phenomena of the “Day 8 Decline” I’ve been reading about, and that certainly was the case with us (though let’s be honest, Covid is an unpredictable passenger).

Moving any distance became difficult, and eating became next to impossible. Not just because we literally couldn’t get to the kitchen to warm anything up, but because we had absolutely no appetite or desire to eat anything. I lost 15 pounds – which, ok, not a bad thing in most instances, but as Mom always said, being sick is not the way you want to lose weight!

It’s an odd feeling to go days without eating, simply for lack of energy and desire. I think we both did pretty well at keeping hydrated, and we tried to eat bits of food here and there. But it was a struggle.

Thank You for Having Our Back Once Again

Thankfully, our OMP community and church (my life-long church, Old Mission Peninsula United Methodist Church) came through in amazing ways. Food started showing up at our doorstep. Our neighbors Pat and Deb were the drop-off point, and Pat would walk care packages up the driveway every day. I don’t know how many miles she logged, but it was a lot (our driveway is a bit of a challenge in the winter, but Pat loves to walk and is my fitness goals person).

Home-made soup, ready-made sandwiches, casseroles, muffins, breads, cookies, Ginger Ale, and all manner of comfort food – including a box of Janis Haine’s gourmet Christmas cookies that I won via the Old Mission Women’s Club raffle!

My dear friend, Marge Long, even supplied me with a beautiful little Christmas tree from The Red Dresser in Traverse City. I love all their plants there. Well, ok, it’s actually a Lemon Cypress that I can water and take care of all year, but to me, it’s the prettiest, most thoughtful Christmas tree I’ve ever had. I think the ornaments she included are the same ones on our tree at church this year, which makes me feel even more connected since I haven’t been to church since, well, since the pandemic started.

Lemon Cypress, aka Christmas Tree, from Marge Long, The Red Dresser | Jane Boursaw Photo
Lemon Cypress, aka Christmas Tree, from Marge Long, The Red Dresser | Jane Boursaw Photo

Thank you, also, to my beautiful group of writer friends across the country, who provided emotional support through it all, and to Kris Hains, my partner in crime on the Old Mission Coloring Book, who took over shipping when it was clear that I would not be able to handle that with our brand new super-cool product in the OMP Store (great timing, Covid). More on the coloring book anon.

Thank you to everyone who continued to donate to Old Mission Gazette (including the ”anonymous” gift-givers!), even though no new content was posted in weeks. I always like to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth, with a goal of posting something every day. So it about tore me up that I couldn’t get to the computer to post photos or write up stories, other than that short one alerting you guys that we had Covid.

And as always, thank you for the prayers. I am a person of faith and believe mightily in the power of prayer. But even if you are not so faith-inclined, there is something very powerful about knowing that a huge group of people are praying for your health and recovery. It’s so comforting, and reminds you that you’re not alone in whatever struggles you encounter.

About Those Monoclonal Antibodies

In the first days of our Covid adventure, I called Munson’s Covid hotline and talked to the nurse on call. She told us that monoclonal antibodies might be available to us, so I answered a few questions regarding our health, age, etc., and sure enough, we were eligible. The only problem was that the only available infusions were either in Frankfort or Grayling.

Ok, that’s not happening, I thought. When moving even a few feet is next to impossible, driving halfway across the state was simply not in the cards for us. I told her that, and she said she’d try to get us on the home infusion list. That’s where a nurse comes to your home and hooks you up to an IV right in your living room.

As luck – or more likely, prayer – would have it, we managed to get on that home infusion list. On Day 9, a lovely nurse showed up at our house, hooked us up to the infusions, and then waited about an hour to make sure everything would be ok. Everything went fine, and she was very encouraging.

We waited for the miraculous recovery we’d heard about after the monoclonal antibody infusions, but alas, our recovery did not come. If you find yourself with Covid, I suggest getting on the monoclonal list as soon as possible – even if you don’t think you have it that bad. Because chances are it will get worse even after it seems to get better.

Our monoclonals happened on Dec. 9, and we struggled along in the days afterward, hoping we’d start to feel better. By Dec. 16, it was clear that wasn’t going to happen. And remember, we really hadn’t eaten much in days, so that made us even weaker. I made the decision to call 911, and our amazing Peninsula Township Fire Department (PTFD) showed up with two ambulances.

It’s Ok to Call 911

You know, calling for an ambulance is never easy. There are sirens, flashing lights and all the emotional chaos that comes with that (I texted our neighbors to let them know what was happening). But our team with the PTFD is calm, reassuring, and professional. The crew, including Chief Fred Gilstorff, arrived at the house, took our vitals, and it was immediately clear that Tim was in much worse shape than me (as mentioned above, he’s complicated). I’m very glad I decided to make that call, and should have made it days earlier.

Yet, I wasn’t exactly sure what sort of shape I was in either. So we both took rides in separate ambulances to the Emergency Room at Munson. I asked my awesome EMT riding with me – Kyle Sarber, who was recently promoted to Lieutenant (way to go, Kyle!), if I could take a picture out the back window. Hey, you know me. Gotta document everything. He said that’d be fine.

Here’s the picture I took as we headed south down Bluff Road. Those are my little hiking boots. Oh, how I’ve missed hiking the OMP trails.

Jane's Covid Ambulance Ride with the Peninsula Township Fire Department | Jane Boursaw
Jane’s Ambulance Ride with the Peninsula Township Fire Department | Jane Boursaw

Again, Kyle, assisted by recent hire Fred Danielson, were nothing short of amazing. When you are the lucky winner of a ride in an ambulance, you want the best, and that’s our team at Peninsula Township Fire Department. It also drives home the importance of having three fire stations in our oddly-shaped, oblong township. When you or a loved one need an ambulance, you want it to be quick.

Here’s another little bit of trivia. Kyle told me I was one number short of being their 700th call this year. Tim was 698 and I was 699. But we kept it in the Bluff Road family. Number 700 was a tree that fell over and smashed the roof on my friend Marcia Hudson’s cottage just south of us. So, so sorry, Marcia. This has not been an easy year for you, and having a tree crash into your cottage is never a good thing.

A Visit to the Emergency Room and a Fierce Wind Storm

At the Emergency Room, they checked me over, gave me some fluids, and pronounced me well enough to go home. So I called our son, Will, who came and picked me up.

Tim did not fare so well. We went to the Emergency Room on Dec. 16, and he’s still there at this writing, Dec. 26. Since I recently had Covid (I tested negative a couple days ago), I am not allowed to go see him. And to be honest, we’re both fine with that. We have both spent so much time in hospitals over the past two decades – either here in Traverse City or at U of M Hospital in Ann Arbor – that we’re both ok with me not coming up to see him. But we talk on the phone a couple times a day, and he sounds stronger every day. They are still working on his oxygen levels at this point, but he’s doing better.

After my short stay (and nice quiet nap) in the Emergency Room, I came home to – what else? – no power! A fierce wind storm knocked out power to most of the Old Mission Peninsula (and caused that tree to crash into Marcia’s cottage), so I came home to tend the wood stove and keep some heat going. In the early days of our Covid adventure, Tim tried to keep the fire going, but we gave up on that idea after about a week (us not being able to move played heavily into that decision). We do have a backup propane furnace, so we just let that hum along.

Wood Stoves and Silver Linings

You know, any time there’s a crisis, you’re forced to step back and take a look at your life. Since Tim’s been in the hospital, I really haven’t had the TV on much, and instead have spent time reading, de-Coviding the house as my energy allows, spending time in prayer, and tending the fire. Tim is our wood stove person, so during this time, I ventured out of my comfort zone to keep the home fires burning, literally. I’m not great at starting fires, but I can keep a fire going like nobody’s business. The nuances of tending a fire are really intriguing, and I think I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with the task.

Sure, I could just let the propane furnace take over, but I love the coziness of the fire (and, you know, propane is expensive!). Plus, tending the fire gave me something to focus on, and it helped to build my strength up. Tim showed me how to decrease the airflow during the night, so that the fire idles along on its own. Still, I have to set a timer a couple times during the night to toss a log in there. It’s kind of a full-time job.

As for reading, I always love re-visiting favorite book-friends from my childhood, especially during a crisis. So I am reading “The Melendy Family” series by Elizabeth Enright. Here’s the first in the series, “The Saturdays.” She’s one of my favorite authors who tells stories of this sweet family from a bygone era. I wouldn’t say times were simpler, but they were definitely more innocent.

During this Covid experience, I kept wishing I could call my mom, the registered nurse who always knew what to do (plus her birthday falls on Dec. 18, smack in the middle of our adventure). But oddly enough, as friends and family were texting me and checking on me, little phrases that Mom used to say would pop up in their messages. I’m pretty sure she found a way to talk to me in her gentle, reassuring way.

All in all, Tim and I are progressing along, heading in the right direction. I hope you are all doing well. No one knows what tomorrow or next year will bring, but with family, community and love, anything is possible.

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35 COMMENTS

  1. So sorry to hear of your challenges with covid. Prayers for much better days ahead and a quick and complete recovery for you and Tim.

  2. Jane you and Tim are in my thoughts. What a scary time. I’m glad you were together and both on the mend. Keeping you in my prayers.

  3. So Sorry you both got Covid. It seems to have taken over everything and everyone. Hope you and Tim get better each day. Healing thoughts coming your way.

  4. Thanks for sharing the intimate details of your illness. I think it’s helpful for people to know how devastating this virus can be and how we need to take care of each other. We will never get through this pandemic without each other. Sending healing thoughts to both of you. Please everyone: get vaccinated and boosted and check on your neighbors.

  5. Jane, I got teary reading this. So glad your nearby friends and neighbors were able to help.

    And I totally get rereading The Saturdays! I have several Melendez books, too, and love going back to them.

  6. This would be the perfect time and place for you to emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated. You have the platform to do it.

  7. Most of us feel totally helpless in being able to help you both. Thanks for the update! Those people who were there for you, to feed and comfort you, are pure saints. But that’s how they are and they don’t think twice about extending a helping hand. This type of thing is what gives us all faith in each other. It is the essence of all good people everywhere. Continue to heal, and us bystanders will continue to care and love our Michigan neighbors who treat us visiting travelers so well. From northern Indiana, john and Cindy

  8. Jane: I am so relieved to hear your voice again in the gazette. We have been worried about you and Tim and wecontinue to pray that Tim is recovering ok. Bless you both and all you bring to the community. And keep that fire glowing!

  9. Jane – This is quite a story! Even with all of that going on you got a photo of the ambulance ride for your readers. You are amazing! Glad you are recovered and best wishes to Tim as he recovers too.

  10. Jane, I agree with Sarah Thomas that you should advocate for vaccines and boosters. You have many readers who could avoid the experience you just suffered.

  11. Jane, thanks for the update , although I m reading this on the 30th. I will be keeping you both in my prayers, glad you r home and hope Tim is able to come home soon. 🙏🙏❤️

  12. so glad you are back home and on the mend! didn’t know it was that bad for you guys.
    sending thoughts and prayers up to you and tim.

  13. So glad you and Tim are on the rebound Jane. What an experience! Thanks for updating your readers. Certainly enjoyed reading the details as only you can write them. I wish this story could be published to a larger audience. It might wake a few people up to take better care of themselves and other family members. Our community is fortunate to have you. Looking forward to having you back to full strength, full time.

  14. Jane (and Tim),
    Thank you Jane for sharing yet again, your transparency and honesty is so valuable to all of us. What a journey you’ve been on. (We had breakthrough cases most of November…but are fine now). We will keep you both in our thoughts and prayers going forward. Don’t rush the process (keep reading) and remember that many of us are wishing you both, the very best recovery possible.
    Thank you again, stay strong!!

  15. Jane I’m so sorry I had no idea that you and Tim were Ill from Covid!! I pray you continue on your path to wellness and Tim comes home soon.
    Love ya Shirley

  16. Very sorry to hear you and Tim were so ill. Glad you are sharing just how serious and scary this virus is. I lost a very dear friend to it last year. By sharing your experience I hope it encourages others to get vaccinated! It is free, safe, and is our best shot at eradicating this terrible illness.

  17. I agree with others who ask whether Jane and Tim were vaccinated. What Jane describes so well begs this question. It would be good if Jane answered it.

  18. I felt compelled to write and respond to a question / comment that I have repeatedly seen come up on your blog.

    “Yeah, but are you vaccinated?”

    There seems to be this underlying suggestion that being unvaccinated is justification for a person becoming deathly ill…as if they “deserved” it. And in some ways, it feels like any well wishes, prayers, etc are withheld until the confirmation of vaccine is given.

    While I have no idea of your vaccine status, I’d like to shed a bit of insight into something that maybe some are unaware of: not everyone who is unvaccinated is doing so because they are bucking science or making some sort of political statement.

    Some of us are just trying to stay alive.

    You see, some of us are born in bodies that simply don’t play nice. They overreact to things that normal bodies take in stride. Whether that’s foods, medications… or vaccines. Anyone who has ever been stuck with epinephrine or waited out the symptoms of an allergic reaction, lives with a fear that most are lucky enough to never have to experience.

    Imagine living during a pandemic and being faced with this decision: a virus that might kill you OR its vaccine which might do the same thing?

    I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see what’s behind door number three, Monty.

    When faced with such difficult medical decisions, the only thing you can do is consult with your doctor / medical team; the people who have cared for you, pulled you through previous life-threatening episodes, and guided your care. And if that doctor determines the vaccine is not in your best interest or could in fact be detrimental to your health and well-being, it is not anyone else’s job / decision to question or second guess your doctor (or to throw in your face that you should get a second opinion). Who would you trust? The doctor who has treated you for years and knows your entire medical history OR a second opinion doctor who will make a split-second decision based on a 5-10 minute meeting with you?

    Asking someone whether they are vaccinated can be complicated. A simple no is never accepted as a response and therefore is asking that person —sometimes repeatedly— to relive personal medical trauma that they might not be comfortable discussing with strangers.

    I do not know Jane’s or Tim’s full medical history. I have followed the Gazette long enough to know that Tim’s is a very complicated one. I can only assume that whatever choices he has made medically (regarding vaccines or anything else) probably comes from the recommendation of a very long list of doctors and is not something he decided based on the advice of a blogger with a platform.

    To be clear: these are not easy decisions. Not getting a vaccine is not diminishing the seriousness of the pandemic. It’s not mitigating the importance of doing what we can to mitigate its spread. But sometimes that means different things for all of us

    • Thank you, Anonymous, for your wise and kind post. We are not all born in the same bodies, and, as we mature, they become even more wildly divergent! There are so many medications and foods that my body can’t tolerate. Luckily, I could tolerate the vaccine–three times!– but for those who cannot, this miserable pandemic offers no good preventive choices other than masking and distancing and trying to stay baseline healthy.

      My heart goes out to Jane and Tim, good people who are struggling with the worst of it. We will eventually be on the other side of this siege but that is probably cold comfort to them right now.

    • Great explanation. Thanks for educating everyone. However, instead of folks who can’t just saying “no” maybe they could say “I can’t”. Most people understand allergies and other health issues. In the political climate we have found ourselves in, it’s easy to misunderstand a simple no. I should think an “I can’t” would say it all.

      • I agree. We all understand citizens not able to get the vaccine due to medical conditions. If that was the reason, everyone would understand and be sympathetic. I am so very sorry that Jane and Tim suffered so terribly. But this is still a great platform to advocate for the vaccine if you have no medical contraindications to receive it. 🙏

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