You know that thing where you almost pass out at work and have to be transported by ambulance to the hospital in the middle of the day?
You know, THAT thing.
It’s pretty common, so I know that you get it. But in case you are one of the lucky few who hasn’t had this super fun experience, I’ll share with you the five important lessons I took from this road unfortunately traveled the week after Thanksgiving. I’ve written about it before, but this is the funny and moderately helpful version of the story.
1. You Can’t Will Yourself Well
You can’t will yourself to not be sick. Just because you have a ton of meetings on your schedule that does not mean you can be like “No… you’re good. Ignore your body. Fever schmever.”
Life doesn’t work that way. You can certainly do things to make yourself healthier, like drink water, rest, and take your multivitamin. But things that apparently do not make you healthy include but are not limited to: wearing a coat to meetings to get rid of the chills, “faking it until you make it,” handfuls of chocolate chips, whining to your spouse, and hour and half commutes.
This isn’t the first time I’ve taken the “I’m fine” approach to my health. But I’m hoping maybe it will be the last. That first ER trip I was 19, now I’m 33. Time to put on the big girl pants.
2. Spend the $20
Coming back from Thanksgiving travel I felt fine. I went to bed at 8pm over Thanksgiving, I even took naps! All was well. Then a couple days after getting back in the regular swing of life I started feeling not so fine, but whatever it was only a cold. So I carried on. There was a lot to catch up on with work, lots of words to write, and Christmasing to do. I dove back into it all, coughing all the way.
Part of the Christmasing included making a Shutterfly photo calendar and doing it before my free calendar coupon expired. For context a Shutterfly calendar costs $20. I could have gone to bed to help kick my cold in the behind, but I didn’t because I was trying to save my family some money.
But as it turns out, if I had instead spent the $20 I would have gone to bed on time. Maybe even gotten the sleep I needed to rebound. Instead after a couple days of not sleeping much, I was in the back of an ambulance getting a mobile EKG because I couldn’t stand up on my own… Long story short when it comes to your health, it’s a good idea to spend the $20.
3. Be Prepared
Here’s the thing. You have to show up prepared for your life. Like really take a look at your choices in the morning and think about where the day may take you.
If it’s going to rain, bring an umbrella.
If it’s going to snow, wear your boots.
If you are going to start crying because all of a sudden you can’t see straight, and you don’t remember words, and you are a little scared that you’re actually asleep and having a fever dream then you wear waterproof mascara that day. The more you know.
4. Real Rest > Fake Rest
There is a big difference between fake rest and real rest.
Fake rest is only standing at your new standing desk for half the day instead of the full day when you’re feeling under the weather. Fake rest is saying that you’re taking a sick day but then being on your email the whole day long. Fake rest is throwing in one more quick load of laundry, writing another blog post, and 25 minutes on the elliptical instead of 30…
Real rest is going to bed at 7:30pm after you put the kids down. Real rest is microwaving leftovers. Real rest is Netflix and three gallons of water.
I’m not very good at real resting. I have lots on my mind at all times. When I get real rest, I end up getting REAL restless. After this whole debacle and some medically prescribed relaxation I was so antsy that I needed to do something productive. Like writing this post for Her View From Home, a much more heartfelt take on this ambulance ordeal. But I only let myself write it until after I legitimately rested for a long time, because I owe that to my family.
Speaking of all this I’m going to bed tonight at 8…. 8:30…
5. It’s Not That Simple, Mama
Moms have a lot on their plates (she says surprising no one.) We’re jugglers, schedule keepers, RSVPers, fruit salad makers, meeting planners, chauffers, and confidants. These are great roles to play and I love this life. Yet it all goes to pot if I don’t notice the signs of illness and fatigue and then actually do something about it.
It should be as simple as that, but it’s not. That’s why I’m not turning this into a total self-care post because there are plenty of those. It’s more of a nod to the mom who is putting it all out there and sometimes forgets to do the simple things that keep the ship afloat. I see you. I am you.
I’ve learned some good lessons this fall. I hope I learned them well. But also, this is life. The life of a working mom that I have chosen. As humans we are going to stumble, mess up, forget, and stumble again. As working moms we are going to take on too much, go to bed too late, and beat ourselves up if we forget to bake cookies for the staff party/school party/fundraiser. It’s science.
So try to be kind to yourself, learn on your people, and try to get a little bit of sleep. It’s important. But if life happens, you forget to do ALL of that, and you find yourself in the back of an ambulance too? Well, tell the EMTs I say “what’s up?” They were super nice.
Want the tear jerking version of his story. Head over to Her View From Home for the article that elaborates on this ambulance story in more detail and gives one giant shout out to the moms who fix things.