Hello Again…

The virus millions are wrestling with.

Hello dear readers.

It’s good to be back. Or almost back. I’ve got a ways to go.
This blog was interrupted by Covid-19 and after 39 days in the hospital (mostly in ICU) I’m happy to be writing again.
It may take me awhile to get back to my two times a week pace but I’m working on it alongside my recovery.
During my hospital stay, I did my best to keep people posted on my condition via Facebook.
The outpouring of love, prayer and kindness was overwhelming. Not only did it help keep my spirits up during a brutal battle with a virus that can only be described as a beast, but it also gave me an opportunity to try and educate people on what it’s like to have a serious case of coronavirus.
My goal was to raise awareness and hopefully inspire people to take the virus seriously.
Many asked me to write a book about the experience and honestly I’m a little ambivalent about that prospect. I’m just not sure I want to relive the episode.
For me Covid, was a horrifying experience.
I came to the brink of losing my life. It was a lonely experience; painful, scary and scarring.
My lungs were battered by violent pneumonia, I lost my ability to walk and all of the strength was drained from my body.
Staring at the ceiling, alone, with a mask on my face to help me breathe, I thought of all I had left behind.
My wife, a few miles away but not allowed to visit. My children, just getting started in their lives and careers. My beloved father worried sick about me. My sister unable to choke back tears when she called. And my wonderful friends who I would miss terribly.
I have a good life and I didn’t want it to end.
I also thought about what  I still wanted to do. Before getting sick, I thought if I was fortunate, I might have 30 plus years left.
Now I wondered if I could last the night.
I felt like I was suffocating. Every breath was labored, my heart was working hard to keep up and I was overcome with sadness.
I had two episodes where I thought I might not survive.
The first happened as if it was a dream and it landed me in the ICU.
It was a surreal experience, I can’t quite describe it, but I felt that I was being urged by something to let go. It felt as if I was being given a choice but the emphasis was on letting go. It was palpable. I declined. And I decided to fight.
The second experience happened in the ICU.
I just felt like I was drowning. I also felt that somehow what was happening was all wrong. This was not supposed to be the end of my story. I was only 55. I never said goodbye to anyone. It seemed wrong, discordant.
I was determined to fight. I was determined to survive….
It’s a hard experience to revisit.
Still, there’s so much I can tell you about: what it’s like to be isolated for 39 days. The amazing health care workers who saved me. What it feels like physically to lose your ability to walk or even sit up. All that time spent alone left to think.
Maybe I’ll share more at some later date.
What I do want you to know is how important it is to stay safe.
Sadly, this pandemic has become politicized like so much else is these days at all levels of our life from Washington to our own little city hall.
So I’ve learned not to preach. Because once things become political it seems we become unable to change our beliefs. Regardless of the facts or the evidence.
But from the depths of my soul, I just want you to be safe, to take this virus seriously, to mind your health for symptoms and to protect your loved ones.
Not everyone will die from this hideous virus. But so many have. For me, they are not just a statistic—or number that increases day after mind numbing day. They are people. They have families and loved ones. I pray we have empathy as a society because we will need a whole lot of healing before this storm passes.
Not everyone will get as sick as I did. But the point is you can, it’s a possibility —so be safe.
This is all I can say right now as I am still processing my experience.
I have always been a grateful guy. I know I have been blessed in so many ways.  But this experience has made everything a little sweeter for me.
Driving west on Lake Ida Road after departing Bethesda Hospital the grass never seemed greener, the sky was never bluer and the entrance to my community never seemed so inviting.
I love my wife even more. My children too. I cherish my family and friends even more.
That part of this experience has been a gift.
The greatest I’ve ever been given.

Comments

  1. Mike Sneiderman says:

    So, so glad for your recovery. Your words are treasures, our gift is you! Welcome home Jeff!

  2. Diane Franco says:

    So happy to have you back among the living. While your actually illness was quite traumatic for you and for those of us who followed your near death experience and subsequent road to recovery; what I’m fascinated by is the spiritual aspect of all this.
    Maybe your just not ready to see the divine intervention and spiritual aspect that took place within and around you; and I dare say changed you forever more.
    I hope you get to the place where you can emotionally dwell on what took place in your human spirit. There’s a deeper message here. Sending love and peace.

  3. Roz August says:

    Thank you for sharing your personal story with this terrible virus. I am so grateful that you were “saved” and have the personal gratitude that has changed your life. I wish you continued good health and look forward to reading whatever you choose to share with your friends and neighbors. We are honored to hear your voice. Stay well!!

  4. Robert J Wieder says:

    Welcome back Mayor!!!!
    God is good
    And
    PRAYERS WORK!!!

    Chart your course and win.

  5. Jim Grubb says:

    Jeff, Welcome back. I’m glad to see you survived this horrendous virus. Thank you for your articles. Your insight is always appreciated. Jim

  6. Jacqueline says:

    Thank you for opening your heart to all of us as you fought this dreadful virus. Through the lens of Facebook, we all followed your journey and channeled our concerns toward prayerful, healing energy. The “Village” of your circle became evident as we all joined hands virtually to lift you up as you fought the fight.
    The world needs you to tell this story. Thank goodness you’re able to do so. Love to both of you.

    • Jeff Perlman says:

      Thanks so much. That village sustained me and proved how important community is to our health. I’m so grateful.

  7. Jeff, thank you so much for sharing your horrible experience as I’m sure it is very hard to discuss. Your perspective and insight will, hopefully, enable others to take this seriously for themselves and/or for others. So happy you are home resting and on the road to recovery.

  8. Hilary Lynch says:

    You’re words, as always, are so poignant and meaningful and I pray they will be heard. Thank you for sharing your story! I, as well as our family, are so thankful you are recovering! While this pandemic has created such darkness, your story shows there is some light and joy for us all in your recovering!

  9. Mary Curtis says:

    So glad to hear you’re recovering. I live in Mount Dora, so I’m a few miles away. I’ve isolated since March, much to the chagrin of my former friends who think they can carry on with little change. Several years ago, I had a bad case of flu, and because of that experience and my age (79), I take this very seriously.
    Any life style change is difficult, but those who are flexible will do it. Unfortunately those who aren’t are making life that much harder and isolation that much longer for those of us who have made this change. It will be interesting to see what will still be in place as we move toward recovery.
    My personal life will have fewer friends. I will continue to enjoy solitude ( it can be very pleasant, actually). Unless there is a vaccine, I will continue to stay out of buildings, and predict that some commercial real estate will take a dive. I doubt that I will ever go to a grocery store; Instacart is a blessing. I will continue my hour long walks every day, and do a little gardening when I want to.
    Please continue your blog because it helps all of us through these difficult times.

    • Jeff Perlman says:

      Thanks for sharing. I find great comfort in your words. I think you are doing the right thing, especially the walking. I’m hoping to be well enough soon to take walks. I deeply appreciate you sharing your experiences.

  10. Guus van Kesteren says:

    Glad to have you back, Jeff, and thanks for not giving up. Now work hard at that recovery so that your next 30 years can be lived even more intensely!

  11. Jeff,
    So happy to see you’re moving forward in your journey to recovery! Continued progress!!

  12. Stacey A Winick says:

    Oh Jeff it is so joyous to see you writing once again! You have been missed! We look forward to hearing more about your experience as you have the energy to write it. Thank you for your valiant efforts to keep us informed on FB. Your journey has left us being more vigilant about how, where and who we move with in life, especially during this trying time. Please stay safe and healthy, one step at a time to total recovery!

  13. Patricia Sciarillo says:

    Glad you are home and on the mend. Take it slow. We are all happy that you overcame this horrible thing. I have been in the house since March only to venture out to my Dr. appts. And necessities. Its hard but for me I know I’m doing the right thing.

  14. This was serious stuff – and scary – you know how much I love to “roast” you and maybe before I die we might find something funny about COVID – we ain’t there yet. What you went through scared the “you know what” out of all of us. Don’t ever do that again!

  15. Ron Gilinsky says:

    Jeff.
    I told everyone, Jeff is a tough man & a True Fighter.
    We’re all continuing to prayl
    Continue to recover every day My Special Friend ‼️💯👌👍😷

  16. Jeff – it’s so good to know that you’re back! What an experience! And only the wisest can make this ordeal an asset, like you did, gleaning the valuable positive message in all of it.

    My wish for you is to continue on your path to complete recovery. My thoughts and prayers will not cease for you and your dear family.

  17. Glad you are feeling well enough to resume writing! Good to have you back. Just keep getting a little stronger every day. Soon it will be time for some at home musical therapy. 🙂

  18. Lainie Lewis says:

    Jeff,

    Sounds like you are definitely on the mend. I’m so happy, actually we’re so happy… Norman says hi!
    Love to you all,

    Lainie

  19. It is so good to be able to share this side of your journey with you. We have lived just a few houses away from you for many years, however I feel like I truly know you now. You allowed me to really understand what this fight is about not what some people want us to know or not know, for that I will always be thankful.

  20. Stephanie Molyneux says:

    You certainly are special, Jeff. The fact that you so eloquently shared such a difficult emotional and physical experience to help others just amplifies why we are all so thankful you’re still here!
    You hit on such an important fact also, that we often sadly discuss Covid-19 in numbers…these “numbers” are people. Very special people.
    Thank you for taking the time, energy and having the kindness in your heart to share and open more eyes to understand what this virus is capable of. ❤️

  21. Glad you’re on the mend. In this month of Elul, leading up to Rosh Hashana, I hope you continue your recovery and we ALL find good health in the New Year!

  22. Susan Ruby says:

    Jeff…so happy you have come through this as I was truly worried about you. And I want to thank you for letting us know from time to time how the virus effected you. You have saved lives I’m sure as yours was truly a cautionary tale to take the virus very seriously. Love to you and Diane.

  23. Nancy Clutts says:

    What a gift you have! I firmly believe we all have a special gift, if only we knew it and then contributed to others with that gift? You know yours and you’re contributing to others with it. Thank you, Jeff. Godspeed to you for a complete return to health very soon. (Happy belated birthday & cheers! to you for many more!!🎉🎈)

  24. Marusca Gatto says:

    Welcome back, Jeff ~ The world needs your words, wisdom and vision. Rest and take good care of yourself as you heal; we’re all looking forward to seeing you around town again soon. Much love to you and Diane. <3

    • Jeff Perlman says:

      Thanks so much Marusca. It’s good to be back. We will see you around town soon. I’m working on getting better. 😊

  25. Melissa Carter says:

    Hey Jeff… I hope each day is getting better for you. That was quite a send off from Bethesda; one you fought really hard for! Between your courageous FB posts, the news coverage and now your blog I know you have impacted lives and hopefully saved some. Tim and I wish you all the best as you continue to recover and heal. Hugs to you and Diane.

  26. J.D. Vivian says:

    Great column, Jeff — truly from the heart!
    J.D. Vivian

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