Sometimes we need reminders of what is really important. We get bogged down in the day to day struggle of making ends meet, thinking we need this or that to be content and forgetting that life itself is enough.
So that brings me to the life lesson that I was so forcefully made to realize this week or maybe a better term is remember.
As you that follow here know, we went on a fun filled vacation to Disneyland and enjoyed ourselves just getting away from real life and watching the boys have a blast.
They got to meet all their favorite friends, like Pooh. Characters from Carsland (one of their faves) and get a thrill from the rides.
This has got to be my favorite photo from the trip. There is no doubt they are having fun.
My husband and I nearly backed out of going on this trip. A few financial set backs had unexpectedly occurred, expensive auto repairs that could not be put off, consulting work that had been expected to start in January was delayed until March and other little hiccups that can put a real pinch on an already tight as a tick budget. Taking this week to go on the trip meant I would pass up on work I could do, good paying work. The trip was already paid for so that was not the issue, it was not bringing in any moola for that week that was the dilemma.
We decided life was too short and this vacation was something our souls needed. A reminder of what is good in our life, a week of fun and no worries. We threw ourselves into enjoying this trip with abandon, and fun we did have.
Then life has a way of smacking you again.
The picture of health and having a good time.
One week later…rushed to the hospital cheating death, sounds rather melodramatic.
It would be if it were being exaggerated. Even I did not take it seriously even if I did feel like I was dying.
This all started with coming down with that horrid flu that swept America killing people. I never thought I could be one, I don’t get sick, I really don’t, not the have to go to bed kind of sick. Not even a cold for a couple years. If I do get something, it is mild, just makes me extra tired and achy for a bit and taking it easy a couple days clears it up in no time. I am not even sure if I am coming down with something or if I am just getting old and need more rest.
If you look at the reports, it is not the flu that was killing people, it was the complications from it.
Or possibly a severe reaction to medications to treat the flu symptoms. That is what happened to me.
I came home with the flu last Saturday from our trip. By Wednesday it had gone into my eyes and I figured I needed some help. So I went to the clinic and got some medication. the first two nights the meds worked great, the third night they made the symptoms worse they were supposed to make better. I decided to stop them completely and did. I was worse than ever. I could not sleep at all.
Yesterday, I had not slept in 48 hours, and by noon my tongue turned white and started to swell. With not being able to breathe thru my nose and now my tongue was cutting off my breathing thru my mouth we decided to head to a Urgent Care facility about half an hour away that is open on weekends. The clinics on this mountain are closed on the weekends so off we went. The Dr. debated on sending me to the Emergency room in a nearby town about 30 minutes further or give me a cortisone shot, keep an eye on me and sending me home. He called the Emergency room Dr and she had said they would do the same, give me the shot and keep me under observation for a couple hours and send me home. So we opted to just have the Urgent care Dr. do that rather than drive over to the hospital.
I have never had a cortisone shot before, those things hurt, not the initial injection, that is a mere prick but afterward that booger stings like a nasty big bee biting you with a vengeance and it goes on for a good hour.
The shot did help the swelling of my tongue but the Dr was still worried. He was not sure it was the medication I had been taking since I had stopped it the night before and usually if you are going to react to something it is not that long. Or I should say most of it, I had kept on using the eye drops for the pink eye and I don’t know if we told him that.
He released me gave us some paperwork that explained my condition and another sheet that had in big letters, GO DIRECTLY TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM IN A CASE OF ANOTHER OCCURANCE.
The shot did great, it even shrank the swelling of my sinus’ enough that when we got home I could breathe, so I went to bed. First I remembered to put in my eye drops, as I was to do that every 4 hours. I slept for an hour and woke up suffocating and disoriented. I did not know where I was for a long time, and all I could think was “oh my God I am dying” I have never felt like this before.
I made my way downstairs where my husband was doing something, being out of it I don’t know what. He was talking to me and asking me what was wrong but I was so loopy I could not make heads or tails of what he was saying. He asked me if I needed to go to the emergency room and I told him to “wait a minute, I can’t think, I can’t breathe”.
Those words were the ticket. He had me loaded into the car in a flash and we drove, we live close to a paramedic station and he debated taking me straight there or on to the hospital himself. The hospital is a good 50 minutes away. He checked my breathing and though I was struggling I was getting air so he decided to drive me.
About half an hour down the road I could breathe a little easier, told him I thought we may be a little hasty in going to the hospital and maybe we should just go back home (I am super woman you know) but he was having none of it.
We walk into emergency and I fully expected to be kept waiting, from past experience in ER’s. Nope, we walk up to the window, my husband slaps down the first paper and says “this is what she has” then slaps down the next that tells us to GO DIRECTLY TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM IN CASE OF ANOTHER OCCURANCE. The gal behind the glass makes a call, immediately a guy comes out the door and walks us into a room and states, “we have been expecting you, we have your bed and iv’s set up”.
That took us by surprise. The nurse walks in and continues the explanation as she gets me hooked up. The Urgent Care Dr. did not feel good about my situation and he had called them to let them know he really did think once that shot wore off I would end up there sometime tonight and being we live so far away it would be a critical situation by the time we arrived. So they took the precaution to have things set up so that they could get me what I needed in the shortest order to time. (even though I feel so horrible I am still not connecting why everyone is so concerned)
They hook me up to epinephrine, Benadryl and cortisone (the same stuff I had a shot of earlier), take xrays, blood and then let me rest. The iv cocktail did the trick and I started breathing like I had not been able to breathe in a week. It felt wonderful. I fell fast asleep for 4 hours. My husband sits next to me streaming Netflix to his iPhone (the hospital has free wifi) and waits. A young man brings him some coffee and tries to make him as comfy as possible too. Did I mention the entire hospital staff was wonderful? I should send them a thank you card.
Finally, 6 hours later my oxygen level and heart rate stabilize and the Doctor is content that I can go home. Getting to breathe and sleep like I did I felt so much better it was unbelievable, and I told the Dr. I was glad my husband did not listen to me halfway to the hospital and take me back home. She rolled her eyes, as if praying for patience then put her face directly in front of mine, she was nice, but firm. “I am sending you home with an epi pen, it is now your best friend. You are reacting to something and we have not nailed down what it is, until we do this may well happen again. Each occurrence is worse than the last and you will need that pen to get to the hospital in time. Do you understand?”
I blinked a couple times as it sunk in. This was more serious than I had accepted up to this point. Maybe it is false pride that makes us think we are not as vulnerable as others or maybe a disbelief that this could happen us. Who knows, but it was the wake up call I needed to get it thru my thick head that I needed to accept I can die from this and I needed to take it seriously.
By the time we got home it was 4 in the morning and I could tell how much better I was, so much better. I slept hard, my husband slept fitfully, trying to keep one ear on my breathing and I slept about 5 hours then the phone rang. I got up made coffee then breakfast and reveled in the difference in how I felt. I had not felt this good in a week. My husband though looked like death, of course, I had slept at the hospital while he stood guard plus the stress of worry had taken its toll. I told him to go back to bed, I am fine, so very fine today, and he has been asleep since, it is now nearing 5pm. I am hoping his flu (which he has had too just not as severely as I did) will not worsen because of all of this.
Now the moral of this long winded story is this or maybe I should say what I have been reminded of and learned:
Though this event and forced time off from work, much less piling medical bills will be financially trying it is not as bad as dying. If I have my health I can whittle away at debts and still enjoy life.
Learn to accept that you may need help, and you are not as tough as you think nor are you above personally facing a life threatening situation, if you wake up feeling like you are dying and I don’t mean you just feel bad but really think it, you probably are, even if you try to rationalize that thought away.
Thank God for everyday you wake up. See past the hurdles of the day to see the little joys that grace it.
Now that I have said that I think I will go bake a cake that I have been dying to try and relish it with zeal, not one worry about the calorie count.
Until next time