My Dance with COVID

My Dance with Covid 19

I sat in the Living Room with my mask on. I could feel my lungs struggle ever so slightly to breathe deep. I must admit, I was a little afraid, but more disappointed; my mind raced through different thoughts: Why did this happen to me? What didn’t I do to prevent this? I’ll be so embarrassed if EMS arrives with sirens blaring…what will the neighbours say about me, or our family?

The EMS came through the door looking like actors from the movie, Gravity – all space suited up in full PPE. Her voice was calming and gentle as she asked me questions about how I was feeling. Her gloved hands were soft, reassuring, yet strong enough to give me confidence that everything would be ok. I was struggling, but as she mentioned, not like others she had tended to. I saw my wife leaning on the wall, mask on. Her eyes…I’ve known them for 35 years – told me: “I’m scared, what if something bad becomes of this? Please come home!” My son, with his limited abilities, hid in the kitchen as he tried to make sense of what was happening, imagining the responsibilities and role that awaited him in what could be, a fatherless family.

It all seemed surreal; a moment frozen in time – a time that seems bigger than all reality, because in reality, Covid is the world’s new reality.

“Do you think you can walk to the front door?” the EMS asked. I chuckled “of course I can walk!” How grateful I was that they allowed me to maintain my dignity by walking to the waiting ambulance. The neighbours were watching….they saw the flashing lights…I held my head up confidently, knowing that I would be back home soon; nothing could keep me away from the life I have, the people I love and the dreams yet to come to fruition. I blew a kiss to my wife, as I was loaded into the ambulance; she waved and turned quickly to hide her sadness from me. She always thinks of others, she’s a good woman and the love of my life.

Regardless of where I was on the conveyor belt of medical care, I couldn’t help but keep asking “what happened”?

Long before the pandemic began, as a Holistic Chef and Food for Wellness Educator, my life regimen was filled with the best decisions and choices to support good health. I don’t drink – I just don’t fancy the taste or effect, I work out regularly and I align my eating with the principles I teach: “Everything in Balance, Moderation & Variety.” I feed and educate some of the best Athletes in Sports. The nutritional support I share with them is the same I offer to my friends, my family and my community. Did I neglect or miss something in all this information and inspiration?

Since the pandemic began, I cranked up my intake of certain supplements to support Immunity – including a phenomenal product called ImmunoCare. It’s been on the market for years and has had some notable success with many. I took it religiously as per the instructions of the proprietor, Jack Davidson. I was also religiously enjoying the amazing immune support of a newer product, Muna Gold – a lozenge with technology that helps to fortify the immune system at the molecular level, through the mouth, allowing it to head straight to the blood stream.

Yet despite all this effort & support, my body succumbed to one the most infectious and deadly viruses of a generation, if not our history.

Or so it would seem….As I lay in the hospital bed, I could hear the mocking words “See, you go through all that trouble of taking care of yourself and look, you still got sick”! They’re absolutely right, I did get sick with Covid 19.     Yet, my symptoms were nowhere as severe as the others around me. Here I was, with only 2% oxygen (on for 2 days out pf 6), walking and eating like a champion race horse. Granted I was very grateful to have medicines to protect my body and speed up my recovery. I am very very thankful for the amazing care I received at the new McKenzie Vaughan Cortellucci Hospital. It’s an incredible facility with a very knowledgeable and caring medical staff!

Unfortunately, there were many around me in the hospital room with struggles that quite frankly, were very frightening. I saw people, younger than me with an oxygen mask on, shuffling ever so slowly to the bathroom, coughing and wheezing as they went along; people my age, gasping for air, drooling from the mouth as they simply tried to stand up from their bed, with nurses assisting their every move. It was terrifying, heart wrenching and quite frankly, sobering. What is this monster?

In one of his most beautiful compositions, Fragile, Sting wrote in the final line of the song: “How Fragile We Are…”

Indeed, all humans are fragile in some way, at some time; susceptible to physical, mental, emotional damage…struggles that impair us for a time or longer.

I’ve learned that while “taking care” of yourself, “watching how you eat” and other wellness euphemisms, is important, foresight, planning and routine are definitely crucial. True, even if we do our very best to stay “healthy”, we can become ill.

However, the chances of having severe symptoms during time of illness can potentially be less traumatic. Furthermore, your body’s ability to recover from illness can also potentially be much quicker, because it has been regularly cared for prior to the illness.

I had regular visits with Doctors while in isolation at the hospital. Each visit began with, “you’re recovering very well Mr. Muto.” Your vital signs are near perfect, blood work shows that everything internally is in order. You can go home tomorrow”. Good thing…I think they were starting to run out of food because I was eating so much (I already have a voracious appetite – steroids don’t make that any better lol)

Both the hospital Dr. and the follow up Dr. commented on my recovery:

“I would say you are very fortunate to have come out of this unscathed Mr. Muto….most people your age have great struggles with Covid symptoms. However, looking at your chart, your line of work and health history, I am not surprised.” Neither am I surprised.

Complacency? I think not…As I lay on that Ambulance stretcher, I had no doubt that I would be ok. While I sat in the emergency ward waiting for a hospital bed, I had complete confidence that my body was prepared to fight. In my isolated hospital room, I was convinced that I would bounce back from this episode of illness. Was it complacency? Over confidence? An altered Reality?

Not at all; I’ve put in the very hard work, the dedication and commitment to care for this amazing creation called my body. Through daily Smart Eating choices & regular physical activity, my tireless efforts to maintain good health gave me the confidence that I would succeed.

A positive attitude, supplemented my wellness, gave me the mental and emotional fortitude to overcome adversity and conquer. In fact, it’s been said and proven that positivity has a beneficial effect on our health. We can’t forget that good food and Smart Eating habits are the foundation of wellness, but mental & emotional health are also major contributors to our Holistic Health.

Sometimes though, we allow that positive attitude to become the driving force behind the energy needed to carry out the day to day demands of our “go go go gotta get things done now” fast pace life. However, running at that pace continually will wear the body down and create a negative environment that can foster “ill health”.

I personally, have always had a positive outlook on life and the sense of humour to go with it. I have also taken advantage of my endless energy to “get things done”. I must confess, being a little too high strung has had some negative effects on my wellness. As it has for many, Covid isolation has taught me that it’s ok to slow down and keep stress in its place; I thought I knew this long ago, but I’ve had to, as of late, relearn it. Dancing with a disease that can damage if not kill you, has deepened that lesson;

I am also grateful for the support of my beautiful family and many amazing friends that came to my side. I must make honourable mention of my good friend and incomparable Chiro, Dr. Mike Prebeg, who threatened to come to my home and drag me to the hospital if I didn’t call 911 on the day my oxygen dropped to dangerous levels. Of course of note, a dear friend and incredible Naturopathic Doctor, Valeri Franc. Dr. Val saw me threw my 14 days of Covid shipwreck. Her professional advice and her confidence in me were a beacon of light at the end of a very dark journey.

Of course, if you believe in a superior being, well then I am eternally thankful for how His tenderness, loyal love and support was demonstrated through all the amazing beautiful and irreplaceable people that came to my side to lift me up.

To those that would dismiss this insidious disease, walk cautiously. It is a monster! I recall vividly as I was being loaded into the waiting ambulance, the voice of my friend and neighbour say “Holy Crap, this thing is real!!”

Indeed it is real Ray, very real….

Covid can infect anyone, anytime, anywhere – often without rhyme or reason. It happened to me and also my daughter. This was the greater fear to know she was now dancing with Covid. As a father, naturally I struggled with it more than my own experience. If I could give her measures of my health, I would gladly do so for my child. Thankfully she too came off with little residual effects. Maybe she was actually paying attention to me all these years lol!

It is my solemn wish that you keep your health to the forefront of your life. Your precious body is the means by which you live your life each day, carry out your work and live your dreams and plan for the future…

Your body is not a machine, not a vehicle or a temple, it’s a gift…care for it like a precious gift and it will last you a lifetime!

Good Health to You!

Chef Andy Muto

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