I never knew I could juggle. Of course, I can’t juggle bowling pins, but I juggle many things in life. I am a mom, a wife, a teacher, sister, caregiver, friend, publicist, fashion consultant, nap taker, tea connoisseur, the list goes on…
So, I juggle.
I feel like I get things right about 60 percent of the time. I feel like I balance way more than I should, and if I were on a tightrope, I’d probably fall off.
Monday, my body let me know that the juggling stuff—well, it needed to stop.
I went about my day as I normally would. This morning was rough, hitting snooze twice, slowly climbing out of bed, but I was getting there. I had some tea, made a protein shake, packed lunch, and was ready for the day.
My first stop: SIU Press where I work as a freelance publicist. I had a meeting and a fairly productive day planned. I needed to get some work done, book some spots at conferences, work on press releases, and touch base with some authors.
I was tired by 12:30. Feeling like I needed a nap more than I needed to update some social media for the Press, I turned on the Turnpike Troubadours and got to work.
I still wanted a nap.
After working on some tasks, crossing things off my to-do list, I entered grades for some of my online students. I worked on checking more things off, and then decided to head home.
By the time I got home, I was exhausted. I felt like I ran a marathon (can we say red flag?).
Sam got home from work, and we both just felt like we had “those days,” work on this, work on that, and neither of us felt like cooking, so 17th Street it was! We took a quick trip to Sam’s Club and I started getting a bit of a headache. Not because you can go in and buy 12 things and pay over $100 for it, but I just had a dull headache. I wanted my bed.
We got home and I felt terrible. Terrible like a truck hit me, but left me spinning…and I was somehow still standing. I told Sam I was ready for bed, changed my clothes, and I felt worse. I was hot. The room was spinning, or was I spinning? All I knew is that this was not good. I scared Sam. I took my blood pressure and it was higher than usual.
I somehow made it to the kitchen to get a drink and then to the bathroom to get some medicine for my head. How was the bathroom spinning and why did my head weigh 49723 pounds? I had to lay down.
Once I got in bed I began to cry. Everything hurt. I couldn’t move without hurting something. This was sudden—just thirty minutes ago we were driving home and now I was lying in bed clutching a pillow because I thought my head was going to explode.
I took my blood pressure, but not before Sam could sit me up and hold me upright to do so. I wanted to scream and cry, but I couldn’t. My blood pressure was too high. The top number was alarming. Sam called my Dad, loaded me into the car and took me to the emergency room.
I hate hospitals. I hate waiting rooms. I was still wondering what was spinning—it was like being on some type of ride at an amusement park, but it was not fun. I was able to go back to be evaluated pretty quickly, and suddenly I began to feel very nauseated. I wanted to throw up, but I cried instead. What was going on?
Once I got into a small “room” (let’s be real, a curtain is not a door, folks), a nurse came and took almost all of my blood, I’m sure of it. She didn’t do a super great job as she somehow didn’t get the IV secure, capped, closed, or something because all my blood began seeping out of it and onto my bed sheet (which I laid on, bloody, until I said I needed to go to the bathroom). I cried even more. She was wasting my blood!
My head was pounding, and on the scale of 1-10 I was at a 15. It took some time for a doctor to come, ask questions, and while I kept the tears to a minimum, he said “we’ll give you something.” How thoughtful.
My blood pressure kept rising—it was a mystery. I was afraid Gregory House, M.D. would have to be called in…but, after two shots, an IV, and little to no rest, it was lower than it had been since I arrived at the hospital. There was talk of admitting me, but I was able to come home. My Dad and Sam stayed with me the whole time.
Today involved all the rest. Showering and eating was an accomplishment. I follow up to see what the deal is, but I know that my body hates the juggling I do. I am too old to do all the things, I know that. I need to slow down, I need to say, “no.”
Stress is no joke. For real. Life gets crowded, and we need to avoid the crowd, have the strength to say no, step away, let someone else take the lead, and do what is best for ourselves…look out for yourself. Listen to your body, take cues, and take them seriously.
Life is hard, but we can do it—I’m incredibly thankful for Sam. This was his turn to be the caregiver, and you guys, he was nervous. He felt like he didn’t know what to do. I don’t get my care at the VA, so the “civilian” hospital was a new experience for him. He had to answer questions about me, know a little bit of my health history, and folks—if you don’t know that about your spouse or significant other, I urge you to talk about it.
My dad drove over to the hospital and stayed with us the entire time. I know that he and Sam chatted a lot, I know they watched my every move. I can’t put into words how grateful I am for a dad who, at 70, still cares for me as much as he did when I was a tiny infant. I’ve heard people say “I’ve raised my kids,” or “I don’t talk to my parents,” but that’s not me, and that’s not my dad. He’s a keeper.
Listen to your body. Know that the juggling can be too much. I know I can be stubborn, but when it comes to health, one can’t be so stubborn.