As nurses we tend to spend an enormous amount of time treating our patient’s disease process. From the way patient’s respond to treatment to the way their illness impacts their lives and those they love, nurses invest most of their time addressing the needs of others.

For many nurses, very little time is dedicated to the thought of getting sick and not being able to do what they have been trained to do. For many, taking care of patient’s is simply something you do on autopilot.

Recently I was faced with the very real possibility that I could have contracted the Coronavirus. On a day that started out as a typical day, I started experiencing symptoms that normally I would not have been concerned about in the middle of allergy season. First there was the sore throat, then came the chills, next followed the body aches, the shortness of breath and finally the headache that simply would not go away.

I did what most nurses do and pushed my concerns away. “How could I possibly get sick now,” I thought, as I dismissed any possible warning bells; However, knowing what I know, I thought, “What if I’m wrong, what if I had contracted the virus that could potentially and devastating change my life? “

I decided to play it safe and went into our outpatient clinic and almost immediately due to my symptoms and high risk factors they sent me to the emergency department to be screen for COVID 19 testing. Of course at that point I was sure that I would sail through this process in a matter of minutes without a concern and be on my merry way.

To my surprise, the nurse practitioner advised , “I think you need to be tested because you are at risk and with your symptoms, I’m concerned.”

I agreed to the test and was told that I couldn’t go back to work until my test results came back. I gathered my belongings and my fear of what those results could mean to me and my children and drove home. During the drive home I had to face the reality that the test results could possibly mean life or death for me in a matter of weeks.

I only had two choices at that point, I could choose hopelessness and dive into the potential of dreaded bad news. The other choice was to remain hopeful that no matter what the test results revealed I would get through it. What was I going to do?

Since the test results would be back in only 24 hours, I didn’t have a lot of time to decide how I was going to face this potential crisis. I had to decide and I had to decide fast. In that moment, I remembered something that I learned some time ago about finding hope in the middle of crisis.

It was the one thing that had gotten me through some of the toughest times my life. It was the one thing that got me through one of the longest 24 hours stretch as I waited to hear what my coronavirus fate would be.

As a single mother of three children, I’ve had to learn how to hold on to hope because my children where depending on a mother that couldn’t afford to give up on it.  My hope has been the light at the end of some of the darkest tunnels in my life.

The lesson of hope was my lifeline as I faced a potentially deadly diagnosis that could leave my children without a surviving parent. I had to fight for hope because any other option was simply unimaginable.

One of the biggest  lessons I’ve learned and perhaps the most important thing  to hold on to hope is to CHOOSE  to live in hope.

With negatively surrounding us every day it’s hard to remain hopeful.  Choosing to live in hope, however, IS the first step in achieving hope in the middle of crisis. Once you make the choice to choose hopeful over hopeless that ‘s when the power switch turns on.

When we make a conscious choice to seek hope in spite of our circumstances, we are inviting hope into our lives. Once hope is allowed in, it takes root in our lives and begins to grow. During this difficult time,  find ways to grow your sense of hope by proactively seeking out hopeful stories and situations.

Seek out stories of triumph and victories during this viral storm. Seek out survivor stories and stories that showcase the tenacity of the human spirit. Read those stories at least once a day to become hope infused.  

Choosing to live in hope was the main thing that helped me as I waited to hear my fate. It is the one lesson that you can take away as you face your difficult season.

Fortunately, my journey at this point had a happy ending. My test results were negative.

Even though schools, classes, travel plans and social outings may have been temporarily cancelled remember that doesn’t mean that your faith and your hope in your future should be cancelled too.