A little after five in the morning last Thursday my husband was jerked awake by a loud thump. It was thundering wildly outside and the sounds almost blended together. At first, he thought our three year old had fallen out of bed (not uncommon), but the sound this time was much louder, much heavier. He noticed I was not in bed, and saw our master bathroom light was on.
“Honey? You okay?” He didn’t get an answer, and when he tried to push the door open he was met with resistance. I was the resistance, my body sprawled out on the bathroom floor. I can’t tell his side of the story, but I’m sure it was a terrifying discovery.
I remembered going to the bathroom, and I remember sitting on the toilet (this is not a glamorous story). But I have no memory of standing up, or falling. I did come to, and was very confused at first. I slowly realized I was laying on our bathroom floor, which felt very hard, with my head near our shower. My husband’s face was in my face, his phone in his hand ready to dial 911.
We did end up going to the emergency room, after my mom arrived to watch the kids. When we arrived my blood pressure was extremely low and I was running a fever. I also got sick while being triaged (my apologies to the nurses!). I felt weak, tired, achey and cold. After several hours and lot’s of tests I was released. The diagnosis – a viral infection. Doctor’s orders were to go home and rest.
I’m very lucky that I was not home alone when I passed out. Or even worse, driving, or carrying a child down the stairs. I’m also very lucky that despite this incident I’m a healthy person. I have no way of knowing if the trip to the ER could have been prevented, but I do think there were several warning signs that I ignored.
The Signs I Ignored
Wednesday evening I was feeling bad enough that I wanted to go to bed extremely early. Like immediately after I put the kids to sleep early (I think I was in bed by 8 pm). All I wanted to do was lay down.
As exhausted as I was, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t sleep because I was freezing cold! It’s summertime in Virginia, and though we do love our air conditioner, the temperature in our house was not frigid. I was cold and I could not get warm no matter how much I bundled myself up. I was shivering. I even got out of bed and took a hot bath (stealing the kids bubble bath), and it only helped warm me up temporarily.
Several hours later I woke up drenched in my own sweat, covers kicked off completely. Chills and shivering had been replaced by night sweats. But I did sleep, and in the morning I didn’t make much mention of my overnight symptoms.
Early in the morning somewhere between diaper changes and preparing breakfasts I felt dizzy. Not so dizzy that I sat down, or probably even stopped moving but dizzy nonetheless. Lightheaded. Woozy. Just for a moment.
The whole family went to the gym in the morning. We didn’t have to. I could have stayed home and rested. I have been on a weight loss journey and have learned to love my workouts. But I haven’t learned to take days off, and honestly couldn’t tell you when my last one was. Despite feeling achy, sore, and generally tired, I still went to the gym. I said “I’ll just walk” but I didn’t. I walked and ran – over 5 miles (which took a little over an hour)!
After the gym, lunches, and showers, I took a nap when my youngest went down for his. A nap? For me, the perpetually sleep deprived mama? Jackpot! And I didn’t just take a little nap, I took a serious nap. Deep and long, drool on the pillow. My husband had to come wake me up from the nap because I was sleeping so deeply. My body clearly needed the rest. But we had errands we had planned on running – the productive day we were having needed to continue!
While we were out, we ate dinner at Chick fil a. Before I even finished my last bite I declared “this was a bad idea.” I chalked it up to just the side affects of greasy fast food, but my tummy was not happy. I started to feel a little nausea.
One of our stops while running errands was Target. We treated each of the boys to a small toy (a giant bouncy ball for one and two small angry bird figures for the other). As we were leaving I tried to buckle my toddler in his car seat, but I just couldn’t. My hands wouldn’t work. They were physically unable to complete the task of buckling my son into his seat. I felt so weak. Now I don’t have the strongest hands in the world. I struggle with opening jars all the time. But this was completely different. I couldn’t muster ANY strength or effort. I had nothing to give in that moment. My husband stepped in, easily clicked the buckle, tightened the straps, and our day continued.
Listen, Know Yourself, and Rest
If you can take anything from my story, please let it be this: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.
(by the way, are you following me on Instagram yet?)
I truly believe we are given so many signs that we often ignore. You may feel weak, but you have a project to finish. Your head may be throbbing or your heart racing, but your kids have a soccer game they really can’t miss. There’s a nagging pain you should have checked out, but when on earth will you have time when your to do list is miles long? Your appetite may have changed or your vision is slightly blurry, but your friends are counting on you to come out tonight and you’d hate to let them down. Please. Listen to your body and give yourself permission to rest. Sit down. Lay down. Take a breath. In those restful moments, evaluate the decision and decide if seeing a medical professional is needed. Better safe than sorry.
This absolutely relates to the Summer of Self Love. I am guilty of not resting when I need to. Of not listening to my body and just taking a freaking break once in a while! The to do lists will wait, the gym will be there tomorrow, the kids will be okay if you skip a bath or a craft or a birthday party once in a while. Let’s all try to love ourselves a little more, and care for ourselves a little better.