Since the Christmas holidays I have battled with what I first thought was a simple cold which developed into a full Asthma crisis. I couldn’t sleep without coughing, I couldn’t talk without filling like sandpaper was in my throat, my body hurt in everyplace imaginable and the worst of all – my breathing machine was not helping me to breath.
I was in a full blown crisis and had to get medical help. I’m still not where I want to be but I am definitely a lot better than what I was. But this experience left me with a few life reminders that I won’t soon forget.
“The first wealth is health.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
- My job can replace me but my family can’t.
- The fear on my families’ faces and the inability of my kids to relax is torturous.
- Returning to health is harder than taking care of your health.
“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live in.” – Jim Rohn
So for transparency sake, I have been sick before but I always bounced back in 2-3 days. To be sick for two weeks and then after injections, breathing treatments, almost finishing a round of steroids & antibiotics to continue feeling week; well that is no fun. I have felt like I am losing my mind and I haven’t had the focus to even read a book.
Now for those who know me, they know my ability to read a book in all circumstances is legendary. With my attempts to return to normalcy, I just couldn’t see the words. One of the things I spent time considering was how I could prevent myself from jumping back into life quickly. I needed to make sure I gave myself a pep talk of what to expect. Below is a snippet of my internal conversation.
5 Things to Consider When Rebounding From Illness:
- Embrace your weakness. Use this time to get back in touch with who you want to be as a person. That means away from being a spouse, parent, employee, business owner. Who are you? What do you want to leave behind? This is an opportunity to do absolutely nothing but rest with no sleep on the horizon – so I gave yourself permission to sit and rest. (Interestingly, I couldn’t find anything to watch on TV.) Your energy level is likely low but you can pick up a pen and paper to leave memories. I spent a little of my time journaling and I began writing recipes I wanted my kids to have. I needed to do something but didn’t have the energy for anything more strenuous.
- Develop a self-care plan. You won’t bounce back from being down and if you have missed work, your inbox and to do list is likely pretty daunting. Remember, stress will hinder your recovery and then you will find yourself back in the same or worse state as prior. This is a good time to reflect on what you wanted to happen this year and consider how each day you can implement preventative & proactive measures. Do you want to stop drinking caffeine? Guess what you probably did. Now keep going. Did you want to stop skipping meals? That’s probably something else you had to do if you were prescribed meds that require meals.
- Celebrate your wins. Yes you can have wins while being sick. You just have to change your perception. I give myself credit for waking up at the same time each day. Granted I probably didn’t fall asleep the night before but though I had no deadlines, I still got up. I have been working on this goal for a while with limited success. A few other wins – I didn’t work late; I am hydrated from all the water; I was able to walk down my house stairs without sitting. On one particular late night Coast Guard Alaska viewing morning, I found myself feeling guilty & depressed. Watching someone get pulled from the ocean changed my perspective quickly and I picked up my trusty pen & journal and started celebrating my wins.
- Spend more time alone. The introvert in me is celebrating this tip but the wife and mother is cringing. But here is another thing you likely are not considering. No one can be sick with you – it is a solitary event. People don’t tend to spend all day sitting next to the sick person’s hand unless they are terminal. And even then, it’s not all day. That means you were forced to get comfortable with yourself. Don’t lose that now that you are recovering. Take the break from others’ expectations and spend a little time away to just sit and be. Or take yourself on a date.
- Make a when I am sick again plan for the future. Its not outside the realm of possibility that you may find yourself feeling under the weather again. What didn’t you like about your current experience? Did you have people around you who supported you or stressed you out? What about food? Who took care of that for you and helped you get your meds? If you don’t like your responses, it’s time to plan ahead. Think of it like having an emergency action plan so your focus isn’t divided. While this experience is still fresh in your mind, put together a plan for the future. You may want to spend time creating a Health Care Living Will also known as an Advance Directive.
“Those who think they have no time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.” – Edward Stanley
It is my hope that this may be of use to someone other than myself. Take your time as you adjust to your health challenges and know that each day that you are able to rise is a win.
Til next time,
“If you want a new tomorrow, then make new choices today.” – Tim Fargo