‘Tis the season…
Three and a half weeks ago, I came down with what felt like the flu and it progressed into this coughing, bronchial, coughing, low fever, no energy illness. Did I mention the congested coughing that did not go away but got worse?
My husband is working from home and in the process of completing some training for a new business endeavor and so he is home often and was able to take care of the kids and most meals most of the time. Which means that I had time to rest or as much time as a mother of an active toddler and two older children can rest. I got to stay in my room or in a recliner in the living room (since sitting up seamed to be much better than laying down) yet the illness lingered far longer than any illness I’ve had.
Unfortunately my favorite go to health practioner, a chiropractor who practices Traditional Chinese Medicine and who I have been going to for 10 years, was out of the office for the first week and a half of my illness. I did begin to slowly get better but it took three visits to her, many herbs and more rest and as I type this I still have a cough and will likely schedule one more appointment early next week just to be sure I don’t relapse again. I had one day where I felt good enough to take my children to the park where our friends were going and enjoyed myself but then felt 10x worse the next day.
So where am I going with all of this?
I haven’t been able to get out of the house for my weekly time away to myself and writing time. I did manage to use my lap top at home but mostly to play games and busy myself with Facebook just to pass the time. Sometimes you don’t know how sick you really are until you get better. I really had no energy and so I feel far less guilty looking back on the time I spent watching Grey’s Anatomy and playing games because I just did not the have the energy to do much else.
I still need to pace myself. Today I worked 4 hours at my outside the house job where I haven’t been in almost a month due to being sick and then got my hair cut and my husband took the kids so I did some Christmas shopping but then felt myself getting very tired. I am tired as I write this, yet it is more relaxing to be sitting here at this restaurant wi-fi spot writing than to return home where there is always a child who wants my attention or needs my help.
I think where I am going with this is….
…learning to pace myself
No matter how busy life is, how many things we need to do. And do we really need to do all those things on our list?
I had a big fat reminder of what is important in life, my crash course in perspective, just 6 months ago when my husband had a nearly fatal massive heart attack. And out of the blue, I might add as he had no health history other than a family history of heart disease but like many people, he thought he was fine as he was eating very well and exercising.
When he was in the hospital, it was all so clear: what was most important in my life- taking care of my husband and my kids. I asked for help when I needed it and for those 12 days when he was in the hospital, I was asking often!
Then he came home, and new challenges arose as we renegotiated our roles and figured out how to live our “new life”. People ask me if my husband is “back to normal”. There is no going back, no more normal. He is physically doing great and better in that way, but life is different now and will always be. A sudden, serious life threatening event, changes life as you know it forever. In many ways, that is a good thing. Yet, it brings new challenges and new issues and there remains the lingering fear of what if that was not really there before, not in the magnitude and reality that it now exists.
Time passes from the “event” and you find yourself in a similar mode as you functioned before the “event”. My husband tells me every one refers to his heart attack as an “event”, and I just find that funny. In this case, I use it as it could refer to many different kids of life changing, traumatic events.
Then I became frustrated that I appeared to be “back to the way things were before”, but not really because when he was in the hospital, I swore that life would be different or at least I saw a new perspective of life and knew I would never be the same.
And so, 6 months after his heart attack, I came down with a respiratory illness, infected lungs…so fitting from a metaphysical perspective because lungs process grief. Sometimes there is delayed grief or lingering grief. Sure, my husband lived and made an amazing recovery and I am forever grateful for that. Yet, I do not need to deny myself or anyone who has gone through a similar experience, that there is still grief. There is still the lingering memories and questions and fears and doubt and worries. My husband remembers very little about his heart attack, he didn’t even know he might be having one and then went into cardiac arrest and so remembered nothing for about 4 hours until he was in recovery in the CCU and his memories of those days in the hospital are sketchy and even his initial return home is a bit of a foggy memory for him.
I on the other hand, remember most of it all too well. Sure, I was in shock initially and so my recall of the initial hours are a bit different from how my son remembers it and surely he was in shock too. Yet, once we got to the hospital, I can feel it and recall it like I am still there as well as most aspects of what transpired before they took him to the hospital.
I feel like I have written about this so many times before. Somehow, I have a need to tell this story and share my feelings and experiences. I think it is my way of processing my grief, my lingering grief. Maybe what I am saying sounds much like when I have written about it before and yet for me, each time I write, it helps me move forward and release those aspects of the experience that hold me down, weakening my immune system, allowing a cough to take over my life.
I think the biggest lesson I need to take from all I have written tonight is to continue to…
To slow down, no matter what is going on in life and not matter how important I think the tasks at hand are to me or my family.
For nothing is more important than health and life.
If we do not take care of ourselves, our body, mind and most importantly, our soul, then it will have an effect on us. Maybe not immediately or even in the near future, but it will in some way, impact us and most likely in a negative or possibly harmful way.
I have something new to add to my mantra….
The past is behind me, keep moving forward….AND… pace myself !