Well, kids…it has been an interesting time to be alive. That is. for. dang. sure. When COVID-19 first made the news I wasn’t too worried. I thought it was only a few cases and far away! In China! I was glad that we weren’t still living in Shanghai, but I thought it was contained and not very worrisome. And then it started popping up in the United States. I grew worried.

I went last week to Miami where I met with my surgeon. She looked over the labs that I get every other month and noticed that my Vitamin A, E, D & Iron were low. This was frustrating because I thought that all of my levels were normal but she found some labs that were not included in my online database. Because I have short-bowel syndrome my body has a hard time absorbing nutrients from a diet a person with all of their small intestine would have. I probably only get about 1/2 the nutrients you get. My food digests in my system in about 12 hours whereas the normal person takes 24-72 hours. Don’t tell me how I know this, but it involves corn and I’ll just leave it at that.

So why do I tell you this? Due to my condition, my immune system is compromised. In the past two years, I have been hospitalized 19 times and have had about 15 surgeries/procedures. I have had pneumonia three times and various infections due to my body having a low level of resistance to viruses and bacteria.

At my appointment, I told the receptionist that I had a lingering cough. No fever and no body aches just a cough. They led me to a small tent outside of the entrance where they monitored me for 20 minutes taking my blood pressure and temperature frequently. I was surprised but it was also reassuring that they were doing what they could to prevent the spread of the virus.

I asked my Doctor how she felt about the virus and if I should be worried. She looked at me and nonchalantly said, “Well for you, this would kill you.” She’s a peach, let me tell you. She really gives you the warm and fuzzies.

In the news, you have read that the people that are most at-risk are people that are old and those who have underlying health conditions. This is me. I am that person. I am the one that would get this virus and I would not be able to fight it. I have been in that hospital, I have been on that ventilator. I have had a 106.7 fever and I have been so depleted I could not find a reason to live.  BUT through countless prayers, fasts and therapy sessions I have found that reason. My family. They are what is the most important and I want to be here on earth to see Samantha finally learn how to tie her shoes, I want to see Preston using complete sentences. I want to be there for my kids for every break-up, wedding and school dance they go to.

I am the reason that you are staying at home. I am the reason why you are homeschooling your children. I am the reason why you are now forced to work on a laptop while sitting on a bed. I am the reason that you have been forced to play Candy Land for the 986th time today. You are isolating yourself because you want to save me, and I adore you for it.  I have been able to see many beautiful things during this isolation period. A neighbor posted on the Facebook page that she would run errands for those who are compromised. Beautiful. A sunset that I enjoyed because I had to go outside to get fresh air. Beautiful. The nurses and doctors who show up to work not knowing if they will come into contact with the virus but to save people on a daily basis. Beautiful. A man in Spain was leading a rooftop jazzercise class that people could join in by looking out their windows and following along. Beautiful. People are sharing their talents by providing kids online resources for free. Beautiful. Celebrities are taping themselves reading children’s books and posting them online. Beautiful. In Paris, people open their windows and applaud medical professionals for keeping them safe. Beautiful. My neighborhood is having everyone draw sidewalk chalk masterpieces so that children can go on a scavenger hunt on their walk. Beautiful. This morning I sat and played LEGOS with my kids because we didn’t have anywhere to be. Beautiful.

If this isolation has taught me anything it has taught me to be still. To be present with my children. To prioritize and assess the needs of my family. I encourage us to spend this time to relax. The world is becoming increasingly distracted and busy. Be still. Have a diet coke. Take a nap. Watch too much Netflix. Play that board game you haven’t opened since getting it at Christmas. Bake the cake. Read the book. Do these things because you care and you want to help. And wash your hands while you’re at it!

So please, I beg you, stay home. Protect me. Protect Grandma Sally. Protect Shannon who is fighting cancer. Protect Danny who has type 2 diabetes. Protect Gina who has a heart defect. Do it for us. Old Navy can wait.

This post originally appeared on Gutlessly Hopeful.