A Scary Trip to the ER + The Warning Signs I Ignored


listen to your body

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.

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.

How’s your self care so far this summer? Do you need to take a rest?

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  1. So scary! Glad you’re ok. Take care of yourself 🙂
    Nicole @ The Professional Mom Project recently posted…My Favorite Easy Sweet and Sour TofuMy Profile

  2. Ah this is such an important reminder. It’s hard as moms to take the time to rest – or even be ABLE to rest with tiny feet running here and there. But sometimes we need to ask for help and just take a darn day off! I’m glad it wasn’t something acute but I’m sure it was very scary for you and your family.
    Tori recently posted…Helpful Solutions for Treating Your Baby’s EczemaMy Profile

    • Thanks Tori! It is really hard to find the time to rest. My babies are at the age now where I can at least lay down on the floor and let them play around me. 🙂

  3. Oh Erin! So scary girl! I can get like that too, just busy and not listening to my signs. I’ve gotten better about it since having the baby cause I learned to pay attention to my body’s signals. I was sick for the first half of June and it was rough being alone and worried I might not be able to take care of the baby at night by myself, or what if I fell (also had dizzy spells with some nausea). That made me really take a step back and try to rest more and do less because knowing that my kiddo is counting on me and I have no one else to look after us keeps me mindful of self care a little more than usual.
    Julie @ Fab Working Mom Life recently posted…15+ Recipes that Boost Lactation for Breastfeeding MomsMy Profile

    • So sorry you’ve been sick this month Julie! 🙁 I’m glad you’re feeling better!! <3 We really need to listen to ourselves for our families! We can't do anything for them if we're in the hospital, or worse!

  4. I am so glad you have ended up ok. We moms are you hardcore sometimes – always.
    Kellie recently posted…The Pinterest Game #49aMy Profile

  5. Glad you are ok. Thanks for the reminders…we all tend to ignore signs that we need to rest or take a break.

  6. First off, I am happy that you are feeling better, but how scary this is! I am as guilty, if I can keep going I do. But I know that doing it all, day after day, begins to wear on you, mentally and emotionally, and then all of it gets too much physically. Huge hugs to you. I hope that things will get easier and that you will be able to stop and take a breather here and there along the way.
    Nikki Frank-Hamilton recently posted…Stunning Shots…Bearded IrisMy Profile

    • It’s so hard Nikki (and I know you know this personally) because there is so much in life we want to accomplish and so many things we so urgently want to do for our friends and families. Squeezing it all in and still taking time for self care feels almost impossible at times!

      • But Erin, don’t feel guilty for taking the time. We can’t care for anyone else if we are sick or incapacitated. And your sons will watch you and learn, if they see you caring for yourself, they will learn to take care of themselves. And they will want their wife and mother of their children to do the same. If you can’t give yourself permission right now to do for you, do it for them until it becomes easier for you to admit that you need to take care of you, first!
        Nikki Frank-Hamilton recently posted…Tiger Lily! Stunning Shots.My Profile

        • Such a great point about my sons watching me Nikki! I really need that reminder so I can learn to say “mommy needs to rest!” <3

  7. That is so scary! Yes, rest when your body is telling you to! Glad you are okay.

  8. I’m so happy you are okay. That was a very scary thing that happened. I wonder if something is going around because our family came down with something like this a few days ago. Then another blogger wrote about her son getting a weird virus.

  9. Oh my I love this post. I am so sorry for your health problem, but I love that you are telling people to stop ignoring the warning signs and to do a little self-care. As a health coach for women over 40 I see this type of thing all the time. Women go and go and don’t listen to what their bodies tell them. We put ourselves last. We can feel so much better if we do a little self-care and pay attention to the signs. Even though we might be feeling normal, it is not normal to have symptoms, something is not right and symptoms are the warning signs. Thanks for sharing. Maybe it will help someone else to take care of themselves before a major problem happens.

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed this post Karen! I really was never taught about self care so I am learning it the hard way now!

  10. How scary! I’m sure glad that you are OK. Get some much needed rest and take care of yourself.

  11. You should definitely listen to your body. I know when I feel tired or am getting ill I have to take some time out to let my body recover. I’m glad it wasn’t anything more serious!

    Sally @ Life Loving

    • I know you are right Sally! And if I listened to those early warning signs I’d probably get sick less often and need less rest!

  12. I so feel you on taking breaks from workouts. I’m having to make myself do that now. I’ve injured myself – but I kept doing my workouts – taking it easy on my arm. I still was not getting better and am now just taking a complete break. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve done in the last year.
    Alicia Taylor recently posted…Summer Skirt Must-havesMy Profile

    • I hope your arm has healed by now Alicia! It is so hard to take breaks from working out, especially after losing weight like I know we both have. You don’t want to lose your great progress! A complete break would be really hard but I’m glad you’re doing it.

  13. You have been through the mill! You need some self loving and relaxation 🙂 #lifelovinglinky
    blabbermama recently posted…Baby Milestones: Baby talks back! The beginning…My Profile

  14. Hi Erin, it is so easy to go into auto drive and refuse to acknowledge what our body is trying to tell us, even more so when we have a young family.

    I do take intentional breaks from working out, and now it’s summer I follow a three days running one week and four days the next. It works for me helps keep niggles at bay.

    I have gotten pretty good at listening to my body and how I feel (now I’m older), but it’s taken a lot of practice and lessons learned!

    Debbie recently posted…What Leaving The EU Means For SomeMy Profile

    • Debbie I love that you have a set schedule for your running, that’s a really great tip. I think that is one of my problems, that I don’t have a schedule for my workouts. If I knew certain days were for rest or taking it easy I might do better!

  15. I am so so sooo glad you’re okay! Hopefully you’re getting all the rest you need now. And I really hope no one else caught your bug! The mom in me wants to say something like, “I hope you learned your lesson!” but I probably would have done the same thing as you. All that matters is that you’re okay now, and we can all learn a little something here. 🙂
    Samantha @ Momma Wants Java recently posted…Why Moms Should Never Feel Guilty for Me TimeMy Profile

    • I need those “moms” in my life Samantha! 🙂 lol So please do say it! I think I learned my lesson, but to be honest, I still am not good at resting!

  16. This is so scary – and true! As mamas we SO tend to ignore symptoms that we would take seriously in anyone else!

    • It’s that funny Nicole? If any of our kids had the same symptoms we’d be all over them! Rest! Fluids! Doctor! But for ourselves? We just brush it aside! That really has to change but it’s so hard.

  17. It must have been so scary! I hope you’re feeling lots better now. It’s so true though, we all push so much, in all sorts of ways, and only rarely listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us. #FridayFrivolity
    Jess Powell (Babi a Fi) recently posted…Review: Japan FunboxMy Profile

  18. Ooooh how scary! I’m glad you’re okay now, and great points about listening to your body…. so important!! #FridayFrivolity
    Sarah Eliza @devastateboredom recently posted…#FridayFrivolity – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly… My Reality Lately! ;PMy Profile

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