Picture by Min An from Pexels
In 2007, my entire life changed. I was going full speed ahead as a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and an employee of Union County Public Schools. That particular day was spent helping our new superintendent of schools get ready for his first school board meeting. Packets of information had to be prepared for each board member, food had to be picked up and arranged, and the room had to be in perfect order. As the conference room filled with people, I noticed I didn’t feel exactly right. I ignored the fact that I felt bad, but I attended to my duties. As the night progressed, I realized my throat felt strange. I continued to ignore my condition and greeted the public with a smile.
While taking the minutes during the business session, I continued to have that strange feeling…almost felt like I had a fur ball caught in my throat. After cleaning up the conference room when the meeting was over, I made my way home.
As soon as I arrived, I collapsed in bed knowing I had a busy day ahead at work. About 5:00 am the next morning, I awoke with a horrible cough—nothing like I had ever experienced before. That was the day my life changed. I coughed continually; about 6:00 am, I aspirated stomach contents into my lungs. My husband took me to the doctor immediately, and I was diagnosed with severe double pneumonia. Both lungs were filled with congestion, and I was basically bedridden for several weeks. The horrible coughing did not stop.
I went back to the doctor several times, and I went undiagnosed for about two or three months. To make a long story short, my doctor contracted the disease from me and gave it to her newborn baby. The pediatrician diagnosed him with pertussis or whooping cough. Through blood work, they traced it back to me.
I attempted to return to work after a few weeks, but it just wasn’t working out. I was too weak to do anything. While working one day, the doctor called and told me I most likely had had pertussis. She then sent me to a pulmonary specialist who absolutely didn’t believe I had experienced pertussis, but he did the blood test to determine the diagnosis. When I went back to his office, he wouldn’t even come in the room to give me the results…he sent his assistant in. I guess he was ashamed to admit that he was wrong. I had never met such a rude doctor. The test proved I definitely had experienced the childhood disease, whooping cough. Since I was 60 years of age, I decided it was time for me to retire due to the fact that I wasn’t able to perform my duties effectively.
My immune system became compromised, and I contracted mononucleosis while dealing with a severe episode of shingles…the horrible coughing continued. I deal with severe episodes of coughing to this day. I then found out I was suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Asthma. Being homebound, I had to find something to do. That’s when I discovered writing. I had never had an inclination to write. I spent a lot of time alone as a child. I would tell myself stories of make-believe, but I never wrote them down. I asked myself, “Who wants to read my stuff?”
Little did I realize how writing would change my life. To date, I have written five faith-based novels and have started a sixth one. The titles of my novels are Hope Returns, Terror on Waxhaw Creek, Fireflies on Waxhaw Creek, Family Secrets, and Unfailing Love. With God’s help, I’ve tried to turn my situation into a positive thing…basically, I’ve turned “my lemons into lemonade.” I’m now 72 years old and deal with many health issues, but God’s grace has brought me through this valley. I not only write, I research genealogy and always keep a puzzle book or my Kindle near me working all types of puzzles. I’ve found that staying busy is the best therapy in the world for me. The great thing about it is this…I don’t have to leave home to do it. I’ve learned to be content in whatever state I’m in. I’m reminded of the lyrics of an old, old song by Stephen Foster…
Gone are the days when my heart was young and gay,
Gone are my friends from the cotton fields away,
Gone from the earth to a better land I know,
I hear their gentle voices calling “Old Black Joe”.
I’m coming, I’m coming, for my head is bending low:
I hear those gentle voices calling, “Old Black Joe”.
I realize my journey in life is nearing the end. When my time comes to leave this earth, I will go down fighting and come up victorious. I can promise you that! God’s not finished with me yet. Stay tuned for more books!