— Jake Kutina
So, unfortunately, I had Covid.
I was lucky enough to have recovered from it after only a few days of sickness. I say lucky because I know it affects each person differently, some more heavily than others. I never lost my sense of smell or taste. I had a fever for 36 hours and a sore throat for a few days after that. I can see why people that spend an extended amount of time in quarantine can take a while to recover and recuperate. Solitude takes a toll on you not only physically, but mentally if you are not prepared for it. After about 2 days you’re like “Alright, when can I get out of here?” Being an active person with plenty of energy. in a big city, you can imagine these were my thoughts during my isolation. But the constant help and support of the residents here at St. Anselmo gave me the strength and peace of mind to make a full and fast recovery.
Right from the start, I knew I was in good hands. I began isolation on a Friday and by noon on the same day, the lead chef and workers in the kitchen had sent a care package to my room. A tray filled with fruit, bread, marmalade, honey, juice, water, and… cookies.
Over my isolation period, the highlight of each day was receiving meals. Three times a day I got a knock on my door notifying me that a freshly made meal was ready for me to eat. What a blessing. I can’t thank the kitchen enough. Every day they provide meals for the house. They make food to serve 80 people. Daily. They save us time. They provide us energy with consistent, balanced meals. Not to mention the food they make is delicious. The volunteers and monks who helped deliver the food were also a big help. Each day they took time out of their day to bring food trays to those who were isolated. I’ve now been on both sides of the exchange. It is a simple gesture, but when you’re on the receiving end, you’re extra thankful for the delivery.
Thinking back to the days right before my quarantine, I remember being especially anxious. I was stressed about a few things in my upcoming schedule that I kept putting off. Now obviously I was exposed to Covid and that’s why I tested positive, but I think this added stress affected my body in a negative way. I had a few rough days in the beginning, and I think the stress had something to do with the severity. Turning that idea on its head, after I accepted my Covid-riddled reality, I took advantage of the stress-free situation that I was provided with during my quarantine.
Sant’Anselmo was well prepared to take care of someone with Covid. It was evident that it was not the first time they have dealt with this. I called the guest-master on my way back from the hospital (after finding out that I was positive) and he immediately checked me into a guest room. Each room in the guest house has its own bathroom, so it’s perfectly suited for someone that needs to isolate. I was repeatedly checked on and made sure that I had everything that I needed. They provided me with a thermometer, tylenol, and cough drops to help with the symptoms.
I’ve mentioned this word in a previous journal and it’s also relevant in this situation: community. One of the many advantages of living in community is if you go missing for a day or two, people will notice. This is another thing to be grateful for. Throughout my isolation, I had many people ask if I was okay. I received some text messages and emails. One day I even received a bottle of white wine as a gift. It’s another simple act. It lets you know that you are not alone. You have people around you that care about your well-being. All in all, we are living in the midst of a pandemic. It’s okay to share a little grace.
As it says in Chapter 36 of The Rule of St. Benedict, “Let the sick on their part bear in mind that they are served out of honor of God, and let them not by their excessive demands distress their brothers who serve them. Still, sick brothers must be patiently borne with, because serving them leads to a greater reward.”