Category Archives: Perspective

I had Covid-19.

It started with a light cough after a week of work out of town, I was pretty sure it was just a cold. Now, It has been 3 weeks and I still have a cough, shortness of breath, and a bit of overall weakness. I had Covid-19.

I’m going to write about my experience, not because it was particularly interesting or I have anything inspiring to say, but because they are still people who think this isn’t real. When I stopped at the gas station yesterday the cashier asked me what I thought about masks and if this whole thing was real or not. I told him a little bit about my time in the hospital, and he ended up giving me a soup recipe to help me recover. I still regularly see people posting on social media conspiracy theories about how none of this is real and it’s all part of an attempt to take away our rights. So I’m sharing my experience. Draw your own conclusions about what is happening, but know that my story is true and that I am telling you the truth about what happened to me.

I started feeling poorly Saturday the 24th of October. I went to church the next day, certain it was just a cold, and I wore my mask and kept my distance from the people around me. I was in an isolated room for most of the time I was there and made it a point to not linger near anyone for very long. I called in to work on Monday, planning to go in on Tuesday and spend 3 days out of town on various projects. I didn’t make it in to work on Tuesday either.

The fever started on Tuesday night. A bit before this point I had started sleeping on the couch in hopes that my wife would not also get sick. For the next 5 days I was on the couch almost exclusively, only getting up to make trips to the restroom. As the fever continued to rage, I took regular doses of Tylenol in hopes of breaking the fever. The fever would calm down for a few hours, then as the medicine wore off it would return. The highest temperature I remember seeing during this 5 days was 103.3. I felt terrible, I had no appetite and I couldn’t breath. I had dramatic episodes of chills, followed by waking up soaked in sweat. I woke up several times over the 5 days of fever gasping for air, just trying to get enough oxygen to stop panicking and return to automatic breathing. On Thursday, Samantha and I took a Covid test in the drivethrough of a CVS pharmacy and we began to wait on our results.

It always seemed like the fever had to break soon, I was certain I would wake up the next morning and find that I was a few more miles down the road to recovery.

A few quick background notes. Before this experience, I have not seen a medical professional or even been to a family doctor since the year 1998. This is not an exaggeration, it has literally been 20+ years. I have been pretty sick lots of times, but I’ve always eventually recovered and I had hoped this would be the same.

On average, I have lived a life of average health. Over the past 10 years I have finished 4 marathons and 2 ultra-marathons (slowly) and have had years where I have run more than 300 miles in a season. I’ve done several long bike rides, I love to hike, and just this year I kayaked 34 miles in a day down the entire length of Cedar Creek which involved LOTS of scrambling over fallen trees hauling the kayak with me.

My job is very physical at times, and involves climbing through attics and basements and everywhere in between, often while carrying heavy loads. I was a bit overweight going into this illness, 10-15 pounds and I haven’t been as active this year as others, but I would say that I fall into the upper middle of the pack in terms of overall general health. I really felt like I was in a good position to be someone who could shake Covid at home.

It wasn’t just pride or arrogance that kept me from going to the doctor this time, although I have to admit that was a part of it. I couldn’t help but remember all of the times the news or the government told us that “most people will only have the symptoms of a very bad cold”. I still kind of thought that is where I was. I had a bad cold and I would get over it. I also knew that cases were rising dramatically across the state of Indiana and that the hospitals were going to start being overrun by cases that really needed help. I didn’t think I was one of those, so I kept waiting for the fever to subside so I could start recovering.

It was Sunday night, November 1st , a full week and a day past the onset of symptoms when my dad (an ER nurse at Dupont hospital) came over to see how I was doing. About 10 minutes after he got to our house, we were in the car on the way to the hospital. I had a hard time breathing on the way due to the mask, and I was brought inside in a wheelchair.

Heading in to the hospital.

I was rapid tested for Covid and was confirmed positive. (My CVS results still had not come in.) I was put on oxygen, given some Tylenol and a few other drugs, got a chest x-ray, blood tests, and various other vitals were taken. Interestingly, I think it was during the first few hours in the ER that my fever finally broke for the last time.

After about 2 hours, I felt ready to go home, so they measured my pulse-ox levels, took me off the oxygen, had me walk around the room for just a minute, retook my pulse-ox level and told me I would be staying the night. I was transferred to a room in the regular part of the hospital and was poked and prodded and tested off and on through the remainder of the night. In the morning, I was moved into the Covid wing of the hospital, which had just had a bed open up.

My hospital home for 6 days.

I was started on antibiotics, remdesivir, a ton of vitamins, and I was on an IV constantly. I was on a heart monitor my entire stay in the hospital. I was told to spend as much time on my stomach as possible, as my right lung had an infection that looked a lot like pneumonia. I was on oxygen almost the entire stay in the hospital. I was started on the basic nose cannula, but I wasn’t doing well enough on that, and they moved me up to a high flow cannula instead. The next step beyond that would have been a ventilator, and thankfully it didn’t quite come to that for me.

At some point during one of the nights, my heart freaked out and my heart rate was in the upper 30’s. The next morning I was placed on Eliquis and some blood pressure medicine. I even got a fancy test that was a lot like an ultrasound, with the gel and everything!

Through all of this, I was well cared for by the various nurses and techs assigned to me. Each one of these nurses was fully decked out in protective equipment, some wearing multiple masks, and the ones specifically assigned to the Covid ward were all wearing soft helmets that had a ventilation system that was strapped to their back like a fanny pack. The hospital wing itself was held under negative pressure, an entire patient room converted to a giant air handler that had half a dozen blowers constantly pulling air in from the rest of the hospital and then exhausting it outwards through a converted window to ensure that Covid would not spread back into the general hospital population. The entire time I was in my room, the blowers were constantly running and it was reasonably loud. I can only imagine the emotional and psychological wear and tear all of these PPE requirements and noise puts on the staff of the hospital.

I’m not much of an artist…but again…boredom was a thing.

It was 6 days before I finally stabilized enough that they allowed me to go home. I went home on November 7th, 15 days after I first started feeling ill. I lost roughly 12 pounds during my experience, I’m just now able to speak normally, and I still have a bit of trouble transitioning from laying to sitting or standing as my body has to breath quickly to catch up. It’s now been a week since I left the hospital, and I really felt almost normal yesterday for the first time. I still have lots of bruises from the various blood tests and shots I received, but they are starting to fade.

They say that it is likely I’ll be dealing with the effects of Covid for up to 8 weeks. So maybe by the time 2021 rolls around I’ll be back to normal. There have been a few cases where someone who has been infected is re-infected. Usually the 2nd round is worse than the first, so if that happens to me I’ll be trying to get to the hospital early.

As far as I can tell, no one really knows yet exactly why some people are more impacted than others. I have had coworkers who were sick for a week and back to normal. It seems that is the most common story for most people who get it. My wife, Samantha, tested positive and her symptoms were much more mild, and she didn’t need to see a doctor. Overall, she pretty much feels like she had a cold or a stomach bug and that was it for her.

Since no one really knows why certain cases are so much worse than others, there really doesn’t seem to be a way to know how Covid will effect you until you have it. Again, I’m a reasonably healthy person who is only 36 and this is the most dramatic illness I’ve ever had and the longest hospital stay in my entire life. I would argue that my wife is not as physically fit as I am, but she was not impacted nearly as much.

I have been pretty consistent about wearing a mask, but I also know that I had stopped being as diligent in washing my hands and using hand sanitizer after I was in a public place before I was infected. I suspect that my infection probably was the result of unclean hands or overnight time in a hotel room that wasn’t sufficiently cleaned. I’m trying to retrain myself to be more deliberate in hand washing and sanitizing again, because even if I have immunity now (which isn’t guaranteed), I can spread it to others who do not.

When I arrived and left the hospital, they were out of Covid beds. Once my room was cleaned they immediately moved someone new into it. The doctors and nurses were all very professional, but they were not hiding the fact that things were getting intense and they were out of room and running out of energy. Each healthcare worker was exposing themselves to some level to the risk of Covid, and I am so very grateful for their sacrifices to take care of those who needed it. So if for no other reason, wear a mask and wash your hands so you don’t have to go to the hospital. Wear a mask and wash your hands so you don’t add to the already heavy work load they are experiencing.

If you feel like your personal freedoms are being attacked, please remember that God has called us to a life of service to himself, a life of denial of our own self. Jesus allowed himself to be put to death for sins he did not commit. He held nothing back from protecting us from the consequences of our own sin.

Please be sure that you are pursuing what God has asked of you in this moment, not a desire of your own heart to be free needlessly. Peter, Paul, and other apostles and early leaders of our faith submitted themselves to prison and even death in order to honor God with their lives…surely a mask is far less of a cost.

Thank you for reading…if you have any questions I would be happy to try to answer them. Thank you to each person who prayed for Samantha and I during this illness, and thank you to everyone who reached out to offer help. We are so so grateful for all that each of you have done. .

The sun came out the day I was able to go home. It was incredible to be outside again.

Related Reading:
In Sickness
In Health
Cancer Free Soul


The kingdom of heaven is like Chuck E Cheeses.

For anyone who may not have ever been to a Chuck E Cheeses, it is basically a place parents take their children to play in ball pits, various tubes, and slides.  There is pizza and a cast of animatronic characters.  It also features an arcade with a variety of skilled and video games.

When I was young, it was a common staple of birthday parties to get to go to Chuck E Cheeses.  (Henceforth abbreviated as CEC since it’s ridiculous to type.)  At the time, it was a blast.  I’m sure if the day comes that I have kids of my own, I’ll be over it by then, but most of my memories of the place are fond ones.

I’m forgetting something though…

The tickets.

You see, there was a prize counter, and if you played the right games you would earn tickets at the end of the game.  You would collect the tickets and turn them in for prizes just before you went home.  Each prize cost a certain number of tickets and it was often my goal to earn enough for a Nintendo or a bike or one of the cooler, bigger prizes.  The problem is that the amount of tickets you earned was directly related to how well you played the games.  A perfect performance would gain you far more tickets than the performances I was able to turn in.  So while I wanted the Nintendo that was 1000 tickets,  I was usually able to scrap up about 72 by the time we left for the day.  Enough to get me some sort of fake gold ring, and maybe some candy or some other equally worthless trinket.

It seemed like no matter how hard I fought to win tickets…I couldn’t earn enough to get what I really wanted.

No matter how hard I try to be good enough, I’ll never earn my way into heaven.

An imperfect performance in the games meant I wouldn’t get what I wanted.  An imperfect performance in life has separated me from the life I could have lived, and the future I could have had.  A game is a game, but this life thing…it’s serious.  This ‘sin’ thing is serious.

Sin isn’t messing up in a game of skiball, but any time I’ve disobeyed or deliberately hurt someone, that was an act of rebellion, an act of sin.  I’ve been found in rebellion against God and his commands in my life more times than I can count, and the end result is that I will not earn my way into heaven.

That’s why Jesus stepped in.

Imagine a father taking on the games in our place.  Earning the tickets we could never possibly earn.  Imagine this battle to win tickets costing him everything.  (Probably not too hard to imagine if you’ve ever been to CEC)  The father finishes the game victorious and walks up to you to hand you all the tickets you’ll need to redeem for the desire of your heart.  He hands you so many tickets they have to bring you a bag to keep them all in.

Imagine a father, sending his son to fight the battle for perfection on our behalf.  Earning the reward we never could, never will.  Imagine the son giving everything to earn this perfection for you.  The son, hanging on a cross, bleeding and beaten, hands you a white robe and tells you you’ve been made clean as he breathes his last and closes his eyes.

Now imagine you take that bag of tickets and go home, hiding them in your closet.  You leave them there until it’s too late to redeem them, and they are thrown out into the garbage.

You see, you didn’t redeem the tickets.  They’ve done you no good.  Having the tickets is one thing, but you can turn them in for something far better.

Jesus has bought your forgiveness, but will you redeem it?  Will you accept the new life that he is offering you, that he fought for and bought with his very own life?

Turn your tickets in.

Be redeemed.


I stumble around Youtube from time to time, and occasionally something really captures my attention.  I was wandering about Youtube yesterday in fact, and found a compilation video of a theoretical physicist named Michio Kaku.  To summarize and simplify the first few minutes of the video, Michio shares that everything in the universe is like Schrodinger’s famous cat problem.  For those of you who are unfamiliar, Schrodinger posits that if a cat is placed in a box and unobservable, it must be both dead and alive simultaneously.  It is only when the box is opened and the cat is observed that it becomes either dead or alive.

Schrodinger’s cat is known for seeming to be illogical but theoretical physics has found that it is a viable interpretation of how our world is working at the atomic level.  MIchio takes this concept a step further and talks about how nothing in the universe can even exist if it hasn’t been observed.  He states that the observation of something is essential to it’s creation.

Creation.  Perhaps the biggest argument of science and faith.  How were we created?

Genesis 1:4  And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. 

God saw the light that he created.  God observed the difference between light and darkness and then continued creating, seeing that each new thing was good.  God “sees” 7 different times in the first chapter of Genesis.  In the beginning, God created, God saw.  He observed that which he had made, and called it good.

Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.

God saw me when I was unformed, when he brought me forth into this world.  He saw me then, and he sees me now.  I am seen, and I am known.

Perhaps one day we will see that science itself points to our creator, and perhaps in that day we will no longer only know in part, but instead see the entirety of the truth that God has created for us.


We are always trying to live full lives.  Everyone is fighting to fill their wallet, to fill their stomachs, to fill their homes.  Everyone I know tries to fill their time with as much as they possibly can, racing from one activity to another, making sure to squeeze in as many episodes of their favorite TV show, or spend just one more hour at work.  Many people like to fill their life with experiences or new adventures.  Everyone wants everything to be full.  FULL.  FULL.

I must admit that I am constantly pursuing a state of fullness as well.  I want to have a full relationship, filled with adventures and excitement.  I want to be full of feelings, until they are gushing out from my lips because I can’t possibly hold them in.  I want to have access to whatever I need to fully fill myself.  So I fill my days with work so I can buy new toys, I fill my time off with social media so I can feel loved.  I fill my quiet moments with news so I can be well informed.  I fill my stomach with food so I can feel safe from famine.

I’m always trying to fill myself up.


The Fort Wayne Quarry on Ardmore. Canon 5dMKIII and Rokinon 14mm. Copyright Joshua Stairhime 2017

There is a concept in art known as negative space.  Negative space is space that is not filled by the subject of the art, but is essentially the nothing that something exists in.  Good graphic design demands that you pay attention to the negative space.  If your artwork is full of stuff, then the whole purpose of your creation can be lost in the extra fluff surrounding it.   Your work goes from something like the Mona Lisa to a  “Where’s Waldo”.  Creating something without negative space makes it hard to really appreciate the beauty of what you are creating.   It makes it hard for others to appreciate what you are creating as well.
One day I was shown the quarry down the road from where I work, and ever since then I keep going back to it.  A quarry doesn’t sound that interesting, it is a place where people dig up rocks and sand.  Instead of filling up, a quarry is a place where people work to empty something.  As the quarry is dug deeper, more and more of the quarry is removed, but at the same time, more and more of the quarry is revealed.  I’ve not yet been to the Grand Canyon, but I know that you don’t go there to see the things that fill it up, but rather how empty it is.  Yes, there are boundaries, but without those boundaries you couldn’t know how empty it is, and you couldn’t be moved by how incredibly large it is.  When something is emptied out, a beauty that can not be taken away remains.


A secret location in northwestern Ohio. Canon 5dMKIII and Rokinon 14mm. Copyright Joshua Stairhime 2017

God is a master of using negative space.  He created the sky, something inconceivably large, but something that seems so incredibly empty.  Or at least it seems empty as we run about trying to fill our lives with something.  It isn’t until you stop to appreciate how empty the night sky is, that you start to see the beauty it contains.  It isn’t until you turn off the lights, and slow down that you can see the stars poking through the inky blackness you’re surrounded by.  We couldn’t see the beauty of the stars if they were jammed in tightly next to each other.  It is in the negative space of the sky, that those little pinpricks of light can shine out from and make us feel so small.
I’m hoping to start accepting that emptiness isn’t the curse we’ve made it out to be.  It is, after all, a still small voice that speaks after the wind, after the earthquake, after the fire, that is the only voice that can truly fill us.  After Elijah had confronted the prophets of Bail, after he had won the Superbowl of spiritual confrontations, he had to go somewhere to be emptied out.  He couldn’t handle being full.  He needed a rest, so he hid himself away from the world, and it is in those moments that God spoke to him.  He found peace in those moments.  He found himself in those moments.

So maybe it is time for you to stop trying so hard to be full, and to instead allow yourself to be empty.

Make room for something bigger.

Make room for the breath of God to fill you.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

To be hungry, you must be empty.

Be empty.

Snake Bite

I wasn’t supposed to be there.

I knew I should leave.  If the growing sickness in the pit of my stomach wasn’t an obvious enough indication of the danger I was facing, then I suppose my brain never had a chance as it begged me to stop, to turn around, to run the other way.

I didn’t.
Not only did I not turn around, but I moved closer to the danger.  I drew the danger closer to me.  They say you should keep your friends close and your enemies closer, but there is very little reason to hold a poisonous snake by the tail.  I wasn’t just holding the snake by the tail, I was putting it in my lap, expecting it not to bite.

I had been warned.

I didn’t listen.
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