Notes From My COVID Corner

On January 15, after two weeks of increasingly serious COVID symptoms, I was admitted to the ICU for treatment of low blood oxygen levels and debilitating limits on breathing and movement.

My entire family had been infected, and have all come out of it with ease, thank God. But I was helpless and spiraling, marking my first hospitalization as a adult (66 years old) with nothing other than a one-night stay for tonsil removal, when I was 9, as an inpatient resume.

Renee wheeled me into Emergency, and within minutes they’d strapped an oxygen mask on me and whisked me into a unit with barely a minute to wave to her. For the next two hours they tested and prodded, then my doctor requested a joint call with my wife. We turned my phone to speaker.

I was in serious danger, he explained, close to needing a ventilator which was often the beginning of the end. The odds weren’t good, nor was anything else. I asked for the bottom line.

“Doctor, are you saying that I’m in a life-threatening place?”

“Definitely life threatening.” He leaned close to me for emphasis. “You are a very, very sick man, Mr. Dallas.”

If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard that I could have bought and staffed my own hospital by now.

“Options?,” I asked.

“Aggressive steroid treatment in ICU to get your lungs back on track.”

Renee and I spoke privately, then I was wheeled into ICU. The moment was more pragmatic than cathartic – no violins or sentiment, just a simple, “Is this it? Do I fight or cave?”

Maybe it was time to cave. I’ve had a great run, we don’t get to decide when we get off, and I couldn’t complain if my number was getting punched. I’ve had more opportunity and blessing than anyone has a right to expect, and with the amazing wife and family I’ve been given, plus 33 years of work I will always be so grateful for, I would be the lowest of jerks to complain.

But nothing in me clicked when I thought about letting go. I have a new book coming out this Spring. I have projects already videotaped and ready to edit. I have a full clientele, my church is in an exciting transition I don’t want to miss out on, and ministry opportunities are multiplying.

My pastor called to pray. “You still have a voice,” he said. That counted, too.

Also, I’m watching my two awesome sons take their place here and in the Kingdom. I want to see more.

Most important, Renee. She’s godly and strong, and will do fine with or without me. But even when we were dating I always opened the door for her, letting her go before me while I walked close behind. I’ve never left her in the room alone. I wasn’t ready to break the pattern.

“So OK,” I prayed aloud. “Let’s crunch some COVID.”

That began a week of treatment which underscored some vital points I’ve needed to learn about the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer, His gifting in our lives, and how natural weakness is so often the precursor to godly power.

So this week, beginning tomorrow, I’d like to discuss with you three particular lessons I’ve been learning about life in the Spirit, courtesy of life with the COVID. I hope you can join me.

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Bren | Jan 28, 2021

I look forward to reading the three particular you’ve learned.

Adri | Jan 28, 2021

Excited that the Lord has sustained you and more than that He brought you to a better place. Looking forward to read what He has shown you.

Jstrauss | Jan 28, 2021

What shocking news, Joe. We’re relieved you are on the upswing health wise. Yes, we certainly want to learn from your account of going through this trial of all trials. To say you’ve blessed our family with your life’s work and friendship is an understatement of all understatements.
Warm regards, Jim & Cindy

Dan Roberts | Jan 28, 2021

Great to hear your voice Joe... God is always able and was certainly willing. I'm looking forward to the 3 lessons you have learned. Blessings on you and yours.

Sheila | Jan 28, 2021

Joe, I'm so so happy you are on the mend. Our life would not be the same without you. We love you friend!! You are such a gift to us and so many.

akaarlene | Jan 28, 2021

I had no idea of the battle you’ve been waging. I’m so happy that you are on the mend, and that you have gained more revelation of Jesus through the battle!

Rick Francis | Jan 28, 2021

Exciting times Joe! I love how you place things in perspective! Grateful you're doing better!

Geri | Jan 29, 2021

Looking forward to the three particular. Praying for your complete recovery 🙏🏻

Ron | Jan 29, 2021

Even as I read this post my eyes wet- like our brother Sy, your voice of truth has touched many lives including my own. I have prayed for your recovery even as I prayed for older brothers hospitalized with COVID. They too have come home. I am thankful for much!

Pwggy | Jan 29, 2021

So excited to hear what you have learned!!
♥️♥️♥️ So glad you are getting stronger!

Ann Lorraine | Jan 29, 2021

Oh Joe!, please don't leave us!

Wayne Cooper | Jan 29, 2021

Didn't know you were dealing with Covid, but I'm glad you're on the mend, and look forward to reading more of your godly wisdom.

Cindy | Jan 30, 2021

So thankful for all God has done in your life and continues to do. Pastor is right, you do still have a voice and God still has work for you and Renee. Love y’all and appreciate your teaching. Look forward to more...Praise God.

TerryW | Jan 31, 2021

Hi, Joe! You may not remember me but Laurie and I attended NMC for a couple of years and I was part of the tech team there, as well. I'm chiming in today because I also ran the "COVID gauntlet" back in November, just before Thanksgiving. My symptoms were WAY milder than yours, but I still felt like crap for two + weeks. Mercifully, I didn't have to go to the hospital, for reasons you described so well. Laurie caught it, too, and thank the good Lord her symptoms were milder than mine. She works for Kaiser and there's no telling where we got the bug, since we're VERY careful about masks, distancing, hand washing, etc. The point is you, like us, chose to go on OFFENSE against the bug, rather than caving in, and God will reward the efforts. Keep getting better, and we'll keep you (and Renee) in prayer!

P.S. Laurie and both got our first vaccine doses a couple of weeks ago, so we're DEFINITELY going on offense!

Louis | Jan 31, 2021

HE is an amazing God -- His ways we will never understand or know ahead of time. so thankful He has brought you out on the other side. This is an exciting time in our church's life, in your life, in our lives - May HE always receive all the glory as we walk with HIM, trust HIM and lean into HIM.

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