Her triumph continues: Overcoming COVID-19

Alicia Colombo

By Jay Nachman


Victoria Huggins Peurifoy was hospitalized in November 2020 with severe complications from COVID-19.

Multi-talented Germantown resident Victoria Huggins Peurifoy, 70, is a poet, author, spoken-word artist, storyteller, photographer, soloist and public speaker.

She wasn’t going to let a hard bout with COVID-19 prevent her from doing what she loves to do. The physically and mentally challenging experience of being hospitalized in November 2020 inspired her to write “The Triumph Continues: A COVID Story and Poetry,” a book about experiencing coronavirus written to help medical professionals understand the patient’s perspective.

Because COVID-19 patients could not have visitors, Peurifoy used technology to connect with the outside world. “My saving grace was Facebook, Google Duo and my children calling me,” she said. “When they put me in the hospital, my daughter made sure I had my cell phone with me so I could communicate.”

Cause and the effects
Will make people change?
Change their hearts,
Change their desires,
Cause a new normal.

~ “Cause and Effect,” a poem by Victoria Hutchins Peurifoy

Her strong Christian faith has helped to keep her going through the most difficult times in her life. “I started talking to God … and questioned, ‘Why did you save me?’,” said Peurifoy, a member of White Rock Baptist Church in Philadelphia. “The response was: ‘Thy will be done.’ So, God’s will was for me to live and continue on to tell the story. He’s not finished with me yet.”

After being released from the hospital, she used her talents to help fill the time spent alone in isolation. “When I got home, there wasn’t anything I could do but write,” said Peurifoy, who retired from the Department of Treasury after a 35-year-career. “So, I was writing poems all during COVID. Some of the poems are written as a result of COVID, and being shut down and shut in. So, it comes from that place, too.”

Now, almost three years later, Peurifoy still must battle with the lingering effects of the disease. She now takes voice therapy to help her control her singing voice patterns so she can hold notes.

“I am classified by the medical community as a ‘long-hauler.’ Since my hospitalization with COVID, I developed an upper respiratory infection that caused me to cough continuously and not be able to speak,” she said.

But for the most part, Peurifoy, the mother of three and grandmother of eight (with another on the way) is continuing, undeterred, with her whirlwind of activities.

She’s picked up where she left off at Center in the Park, a PCA-funded senior community center in Germantown. Peurifoy has resumed leading the poetry and discussion group that she’s facilitated there for 14 years. In addition, she is the co-founder of “The Best Day in My Life (So Far),” a story writing group at the center. Aside from her teaching activities, she works as a ghost writer for “seasoned” citizens who want to document and share their life stories.

Peurifoy is also studying at Pierce College for a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership. She plans to graduate in June 2023.

“Anybody that’s known me for a long time says, ‘That girl’s not letting any grass grow up under her feet.’ I just have this propensity to do and go forward with my life,” she said. “If I’m lucky, I’ve got 30 good years left in me, and I want to take advantage of it to the fullest.”

Triumph

Revelry makes me sing,

Ivory-colored joy. I was

Undone, but COVID-19 has not won.

Magnificent survival, I beat all odds.

Praises be to God for a life restored.

Happiness will remain. Thank you, Lord.

~ An acrostic poem, written by Victoria Huggins Peurifoy, about her personal battle with coronavirus

Jay Nachman is a freelance writer in Philadelphia who tells stories for a variety of clients.

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