I’ll start out this week’s column by praising God for answering so many prayers and healing Cassie McCool-Solis. I have mentioned Cassie and other members of her family many times in the past. She is the great-granddaughter of Preacher Bill and June Craft. Just about everybody in Letcher County knows Preacher Bill and his family. This information is something Cassie herself posted on Facebook and her grandmother, Billie June Richardson, asked me to post her story. When I opened this on my Facebook page and started reading it right after Cassie posted it, it brought tears to my eyes. I knew how dangerous her job was and we all were praying for her to stay safe throughout her shifts. These are Cassie’s own words.
“Earlier this week, I started having an occasional dry cough. I had worked three nights in a row, with little sleep in between, so I chalked it up to allergies and being overly tired. But then the cough got worse. And then a fever. And body aches. And the worst headache of my entire life. And I woke up and couldn’t taste anything. So Thursday I was tested for COVID-19 and got the phone call yesterday (on Noah’s third birthday) that I’m positive for COVID-19.
“We’re so grateful that Drew McCool-Solis and the boys aren’t showing any symptoms, and are praying that they stay healthy. Drew is taking great care of me.
“I’m sad that I don’t have the breath to read a book to the boys, sing them a song, or finish a conversation on the phone with my mom. And I’m sad that all over my social media, people still think the pandemic is fake, while I’m paranoid every time my husband or kids make a noise because I think they’re next.
“Guys, I never thought it would happen to me. Even when our hospital got its first COVID patient months ago, I never thought I would catch it. Even as the hospital got busier and busier, I never thought it would happen to me. When I heard stories of how bad the COVID test was, I brushed them off because I didn’t think it would ever happen to me. I’ve only been at work and at home, no outings, shopping, or seeing friends, and I still got this. Y’all, please, I don’t know how else to tell you. Just wear a mask and wash your hands. I’ve literally only been home and at the hospital, because I’ve been trying to protect my family and my community since I’ve been working the COVID unit so often.
“And guys, if you need any other incentive to help keep your family healthy, just remember that Hamilton is on Disney+ now and if your wife is sick, she decides what to watch. Shout out to my husband who has watched it with me every night this week.”
After she was beginning to feel better this was her next entry about the virus.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, my biggest fear was bringing the virus home to my family. As y’all know, my biggest fear happened almost two weeks ago, when I tested positive for COVID-19. By the grace of God, I’m feeling back to myself.
“Miraculously, Drew and the boys have stayed healthy. I’m thankful for each of your prayers. I know the Lord has been working in our family. There were a few nights where I was afraid my body would fail me. One night my chest hurt so much, that while Drew was tucking Noah into bed, I made him come sit with me because I was scared. I saw Drew worry when I was so short of breath I couldn’t carry a conversation. And the lingering cough that occasionally still sneaks up on me. My gracious. But even with the scariest of my symptoms, I’m so lucky that I haven’t been more sick.
“There are lots of people who can’t say the same. I’ve stood by the side of COVID patients who are afraid and alone. It’s heartbreaking to see the fear in their eyes.
Again, I’m so grateful for each of your prayers. Your messages and comments have been a balm for my heart during this time of isolation. I’m thankful for the kind words, flowers, packages, meals, gift cards for food delivery, and activities for Noah. Our family has been shown so much kindness during our quarantine and we’re so grateful. Y’all have loved us well.
“Please continue to pray for healthcare workers across the country. Many of my fellow caregivers are also scared.
“One final thought: my family’s state-mandated quarantine ends later this week. If you see me in public, I’ll be wearing a mask (as I have been for months!) BUT, imagine if you saw me without a mask. Would it make you uncomfortable? Would you avoid me, knowing I recently tested positive for COVID? Would you be a little nervous that maybe I’m still contagious and can pass it to you or someone you love? Would you wish that I was wearing a mask? You don’t have to share your answer, but I hope you’ll reflect and consider wearing a mask if you’ve previously been against it. Because you, just like my husband and kids, could have been exposed, capable of spreading it, and be asymptomatic and unaware. No politics, just consider it.”
There’s more news this week from this same family. Cassie’s younger sister Cori Riffe and her fiancé Austin Johnson were able to have their household shower. It was nothing like what they had expected. Instead of having the shower inside the Millstone Missionary Baptist Church kitchen, they had to have it outside in the parking lot. I drove up to the entrance to the church and spoke to Austin and Cori and handed them my gift. Cori’s mom, Celesta Richardson Riffe, took our picture from the other side of the car. Then they handed me my meal, which included a beautiful cupcake. This pandemic has stolen so much from so many.
I also stopped at our good friend’s house on Millstone on my way home from the shower. James and Lita Melton have been asking me to stop by and see their daylilies for a month or so now. It was unbelievable to say the least. She has patches of lilies all over their property, some of the most unique ones I have ever seen, and so many different colors. There are also all different types of birdhouses that James has made. They love to just sit and watch the birds as much as we do at Mom’s house. I wish I could get Mommy to go with me to visit sometime, when this pandemic is over I mean.
One of my first cousins, Linda Sharon Adams Boggs, has a new granddaughter. Her son Wade and his wife Chrystal Boggs now have two grandchildren. Wade and Chrystal’s son, Jordan Boggs, and his wife, Ariel Boggs, have a new little girl, born July 23. They named her Everleigh Layne Boggs and of course she is a beauty. Jordan was one of my students many years ago. Congratulations everybody.
I saw one of my good friends from Letcher County Senior Citizens last week in Food City, Rose Collier. She asked me if I had known our good friend, David Williams, had had heart surgery again. He used to tell me he hadn’t had the least bit of trouble with his heart since his surgery many years ago. Heart trouble isn’t something you can predict. Six months before I had my surgery I had a perfect stress test and EKG. Anyway, Rose said he is doing better now, but he had a really hard time at first. Please keep him in your prayers.
Other people in our community that need our prayers are Charles Ralph Sexton, Leon Blair, Bob Hall, Suzanne Craft Ramsey, and Towonna Jones. Leon is home now but is still very weak and in bad shape. Bob Hall is also home now and doing well. Towonna had a knee replacement on the 24th. Also remember all those that have lost loved ones, especially my mom in the loss of her sister, Linda Pennington Hall, last month.
Happy birthday to Connie Hogg on the 24th, Brittney Adams on the 27th, and Georgia Armstrong Hall on the 23rd.
Once again our church services have been cancelled and are only online now. I kind of figured this was coming because of all the cases that were being reported. So, we will do what we can to stay strong in the faith.