Cozy room with Christmas tree and decorations

This Christmas, I received a surprise gift, one that I definitely wasn’t expecting. No, it was not in a neatly wrapped box beneath the tree, nor did it arrive in a colorful envelope in my mailbox. Moreover, the person who gave it to me remains anonymous. What is this mystery present? Well, I got COVID for Christmas. I was also kind enough to pass it along to my older son.

I am so thankful that our symptoms have been mild. My experience has been fever, body aches, sore throat, cough and congestion. I am very fortunate that I was not affected more severely, and I pray for those that have suffered worse symptoms.

It seems as though the worse part of this is being isolated in our spare bedroom. My son feels the same way, as he is isolated in another room. I now know what I am sentencing all my patients to when I tell them that they must self quarantine. On the bright side, though, I had lots of time on my hands (a rarity) and thus had ample opportunity to catch up on things that I had been meaning to do.

I am most definitely blessed to have my wife, Mayra, by my side (not literally next to me). She has been taking care of everyone in the house—the humans, the dogs, the fish and the plants. She brings all of us our meals and ensures that our needs are met. Besides mother and wife, she is also doctor, making sure that my son and I have obtained a near full set of vital signs for ourselves everyday.

A few days into quarantine, it seems as though I was getting a bit moody. Out of concern and love, Mayra was telling me about many of the things she had been reading about COVID. She was doing a lot of research and informing me of items that I should be cautious about. For whatever reason, I decided not to listen. I figured that I knew enough about this horrible virus from working in the Emergency Department and I did not not need any additional information.

Mayra, always perceptive and astute, inquired as to why I was distancing myself. I initially resisted continuing the conversation (yes, I can be stubborn). But I quickly decided to do the right thing and open up (I also eventually figure out when I am not being my best self).

We spoke and I listened to everything that she wanted to say. I apologized for being inflexible and agreed that she had indeed learned many intriguing and important facts in her research. I felt much better after that conversation.

I enjoy being friends with Mayra. As a bonus, I also have a wonderful teacher. She keeps me open and honest with myself. Furthermore, in this instance she taught me that I was not practicing humility. I am grateful that she helped me to see myself as I truly was, and how I needed to make myself better.

Yes, it was an atypical Christmas with an unexpected gift. However, I did receive something else, something that is actually present in my life everyday—the love and friendship of a wonderful woman. 🧡🎁

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