It’s so easy to forget to care for yourself. I learned this lesson yet again, and am reminded of how self care really is the most important care you can do.
The Official Story (aka, what I told the doctors)
One Monday night, I ate some leftovers for dinner then went to a poetry reading. By the time I came home a couple of hours later, my tummy was feeling weird. I immediately started drinking ginger tea, my number one answer whenever I have an upset stomach or digestive issue. I slept through the night and (TMI warning) had diarrhea in the morning. After that, I was fine.
Or thought I was.
Wednesday, I went to work and started to feel odd. A little tingling in my legs, light-headedness, and a faster heart rate. Eventually, I left the office, went home, fed the cats, and went to the local walk-in clinic. They lectured me about driving with these symptoms and sent me the six minutes to the local hospital emergency room.
With those symptoms, I was whisked behind the emergency room doors and swiftly had EKGs wires, beeps and boops on the monitor, and an automatic blood pressure cup. I peed in a cup, rested, and they put an IV in and started fluids. They diagosed me with dehydration, and sent me home after a couple hours.
I went home, rested, drank a lot of fluids, felt fine, and went to work on Thursday, only to have the same symptoms appear. I took the rest of the day off and went back to the emergency room. A friend joined me. More fluids, more blood pressure, more beeps and boops from various machines hooked to me.
There was a ride to the XRay room for a chest XRay, and two discussions with the nurse practitioner about how ‘our bodies change as we age and go through menopause’ and a couple of conversations with a different nurse. I don’t recall the doctor ever coming into the room; I definitely could be mistaken on that. They sent me home with two prescriptions, a written excuse for Friday off work, and the diagnosis of a UTI and anxiety.
Sounds like a fairly normal story, right?
It’s not, and I’m going to explain how I processed this experience.
I came home from the second emergency room visit. I took a long nap. I got the prescriptions filled. I started taking the medication for the UTI. A friend came over to check on me. I was in the process of setting up Netflix so I could watch movies all weekend.
Over Friday and Saturday, I stayed in the house and did absolutely nothing I didn’t have to do. I indeed did watch several movies, and even read a good chunk of a big book. I took long naps, and cuddled with the cats.
Sunday morning I woke
Furthermore, my friend had indicated that she’d seen the emergency room team discussing my case, and (most likely) deciding what to tell me. That made me suspicious.
Don’t get me wrong. The folks at the emergency room were fan-freaking-
However, my day job is in tech support. S
The emergency room staff did exactly what I would do in tech support: they gave me the best answers they could
But as I rested and reflected over the weekend, I thought about what had been going on in my life up until that Wednesday when my heart went on overdrive and my legs got all tingly.
And boy, I was not happy with myself.
Process The Story
In my last post, I talked about how to find balance by processing and using the techniques outlined in Leslie Temple-
My job as detective in my life was to uncover all of the things that led up to the emergency room events.
Of course in the heat of the experience, I wasn’t pausing to ask a lot of questions of myself. I was far more concerned about this beautiful body than I was about digging into the tiny details of why this occurred and what I might do to prevent this from happening in the future.
September Self Care
In retrospect, this experience was about manifesting things into physical reality. You can manifest joyous things: a new house, a new car, a pretty backyard filled with flowers. But – for some reason – I’d manifested pain and suffering.
And there were warning signs, of course, but I chose to not pay attention.
I’m sure you’ve never done that, right?
So let’s break this down. What behaviors were occurring to bring about two trips to the emergency room for a relatively healthy person?
Bitching and whining about everything. That’s right, I had my cranky pants on and refused to take them off. If it was sunny and warm, I treated it like a cold, overcast day. I pouted about work and finances and everything. I swam in the soup of my dissatisfaction.
Overwhelming myself with learning things online. I love learning new things and jumped into a couple of classes – all the while not taking the time to regularly write in my ersatz journal or meditate.
Or just, you know, stop already.
About that computer time. Being on a computer eight hours for work and then almost immediately upon arriving home doing another four or five hours of screen time. Just think – that’s twelve or more hours a day in front of a computer, working with multiple screens, and watching YouTube videos, reading blogs, scrolling endlessly through Twitter and Instagram and whatever else I could scroll through.
Reading big books after all of that computer work. Just because my eyes weren’t tired enough, I kept reading for at least another hour after the twelve hours of computer work. My eyes felt like muscles feel sore after overexertion.
Feeling out of sorts. All that crankiness and screentime made me not feel quite right, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
Retrospect makes me say, “well, doh.”
Not eating properly. Double doh. And especially not fueling myself throughout the workday. I’d grab a McDonald’s breakfast sandwich at 9, and call that good until 12:30, 1, or later. It’s not. I feel faint without a little something to eat. And I feel even better if I have fruit, then protein – hard-boiled egg, turkey, cheese – and then a good lunch.
Feeling like I’m in the movie Groundhog Day. You’ve seen this movie, right? It’s Bill Murray at the famous groundhog celebration in Puxatanny Pennsylvania. He lives the same day over and over and over until one day he doesn’t.
Wearing skinny jeans and then crossing my legs at the knee or in other odd positions – for all that time on the computer and reading.
Skinny jeans? Not bad. Crossing legs all the time: bad. And especially bad with skinny jeans that are tight on the legs.
One of those things isn’t bad. Heck, even two or three of those at the same time aren’t really that bad. But when you combine those, and carry on that way for a long time, you’re in trouble.
To Add Injury…
In the midst of all of this, I called to make an appointment with my regular physician only to find that, because I’m rarely sick and hadn’t been to the office in three years, I was no longer a patient. Furthermore, to get back in as a patient, there was a two year waiting list.
So I spent a few hours calling around to various physicians trying to get an appointment; I finally ended getting one at the end of November – the earliest any were accepting new patients.
And In The End
Anxiety? No, not really. Too much caffeine and not enough food? Definitely! All wound up over nothing? Without a doubt!
UTI? Doubtful. I definitely did not have classic UTI symptoms like pain when urinating, funky smell to the urine, and pain or pressure in my lower back.
I researched natural methods for healing UTIs. I discussed the whole situation with my friend and with my life coach. I gobbled a whole lot of herbal cranberry concentrate pills; opened and mixed with applesauce and cinnamon it was actually tasty-ish. There were no UTI symptoms whatsoever.
My first visit with the new physician went smoothly, and I got labs done. The test results showed me to be (as I expected) relatively healthy. My ‘bad’ cholesterol is a little high, but that’s cancelled out by my overabundance of ‘good’ cholesterol.
And here’s the really cool thing. I explained the emergency room visits and the steps I took
She liked how I listened to my body and my needs and
I supposed I should have something really insightful to say here or admit that I’ve learned something truly fantastic.
The insights I’ve had are tiny – like I said, they’re detective work. These tiny realizations are mini enlightenments or little light bulbs shining to help me learn to continue to care for myself better.
I’ve cut down on computer work after business hours. I’ve taken to wearing skirts or dresses and not wearing skinny jeans every.single.day. And yes, my 2019 annual physical is already scheduled.
These little changes are enough to make a difference.
What little changes can you make in your life to take better care of yourself?