For the last 6 weeks or so, just before Christmas, I caught a cold. It came from the daycare heebeegeebees that Caleb brought home one day. I worked on getting him well while I attempted to stay clear of the cooties. By Christmas day however they got me pretty good. Although I continued to push through them though, getting to work daily, while juggling even more responsibilities at home during the holidays while Caleb was on winter break.
Then the 1st week of January rolled around and it finally happened, I couldn’t get out off bed. Between coughing, chills, night sweats, vomiting, and extreme swings between sleeplessness and insomnia, I could no longer function, I could no longer just push through. I stayed in bed for about 8 daylight hours, revolving around Caleb’s school and daycare hours. I actually needed a good 2 or 3 uninterrupted days, but I was not able to get my flight to the planet where they do that. And in actuality I HAVE NEVER had 8 hours in bed while sick while the sun was in the sky in Caleb’s entire 4.10 years of living. So I took what I could get.
Fast forward to yesterday, it’s now mid-January, I still have a persistent cough, still achy, still on regular meds, all while working and holding down my crazy schedule. But yesterday things went to yet a different level. I woke up with pain starting from the left side of my neck, left ear, and going all the way down my left lung. I made a promise to myself that I would do something about this pain if it remained for 24 hours. Overnight last night the was excruciating, and this morning after getting Caleb on the school bus, I went directly to the ER without passing go or collecting $200. I wrongfully assumed I could get out with a couple prescriptions and still make it to work. I realized this expectation was completely ridiculous as the procedures, tests, meds, and needles flooded into that hospital room. 7.5 hours later I was released with the prognosis of potential air pockets on my lung due to an unceasing cough. The symptoms of exhaustion staring me right in the face, or I believe the scientific term is known as Slow Down Girl-i-tosis. I was told to take off a couple days from my life, to take my meds, get some rest and drink lots of fluids.
Now here’s the thing, this is going to be a struggle for me even after my hospital visit. The reality of what my life calls for in this present moment is still reality, my responsibilities don’t change because I had pain in my chest. The reality that work missed today could put me in an unemployment line still looms. The missing any of the 3 required appointments that I need to make tomorrow, (yes, 24 hours from being hooked up to machines in an emergency unit), still have to happen. The one at 7:30am with Caleb’s teachers and therapists has been on the books for weeks and has everything to do with the next 2 years of his special needs therapies. And there are still 2 more after work at 4:00 and 6:30 that are mandated. So yeah, this slow down thing will have to come, well… slowly. Here lies the day by day challenges of the single mom, and then there’s the single mom with a special needs child, an altogether different level of struggle.
But taking from my airline industry background, we as mothers, in the face of an emergency have to administer our own oxygen before offering it to the children that depend on us. The reasons why are pretty logical but not ones that we can so easily apply. Mommie has got to get her air so that she can offer air to others. We have to be around so that we can give our kids their oxygen. So I will remind myself of that regularly until what I know in my head manifests itself in my life.
My first steps will be slow, but the priority is to slow down. For me one of four things must happen daily. If I do just one of these things I’ll be on the right track. Fruit or veges in every meal, 1 quart of water consumed, 1 gym visit, 7-8 hours of sleep a day. I figure the compound effect will take over at some point and I’ll do more and more to take care of myself if I start in small ways. So that’s my commitment and I’m sticking to it… slowly.