Monday, November 29, 2004

LEARNING TO TAKE IT SLOWLY

I've always been a Type A kind of girl. I tend to focus in on a goal, and run myself into the ground in the process of getting it accomplished. That's how I finished my bachelor's degree with 3 kids, the youngest in kindergarten when I finished.

I've been pushing to go to work every day, regardless of how I felt, since I was working as a long-term sub, and I was due to get more money once I had 40 working days. It was tough. The second week, I sprained my ankle, and I hobbled to work for 2 weeks on crutches. A week later, I developed bronchitis. Although I improved, I never really got back to feeling GOOD.

Day by day, I found it harder to move. I showed up every day, but then nearly fell asleep at lunch. Sometimes, I had to stay an extra half hour after I finished at the end of the day, just to get up the energy to move. I dragged myself home, then fell asleep early, only to wake up in the middle of the night coughing uncontrollably and gasping for breath.

Finally, I lost my voice entirely. I drove to school, asked another teacher to call me in (I couldn't even squeak), and went home to try to heal. By 4 pm, it was clear that I wasn't going to be able to do that at home. I gave in, called my husband to pick me up, and went to the emergency room. I have HMO coverage, and when they insisted that I stay, I knew I was sick.

I spent 5 days, getting many tests, all of them negative. I was finally weaned off the oxygen after four days and a few nosebleeds. After that, I sucked it up and started walking around the perimeter of the hallway. I'd walk about 50 feet, then rest, then walk again. Finally, the doctor released me, having decided that I was not suffering heart trouble or from an autoimmune disease, but from competing infections that had left me drained, weak, and in asthmatic distress, and I tottered home at last.

What did I finally realize? I can no longer push to the point of exhaustion. If I don't take care of myself, and attempt to get more balance to my life, I will become dangerously ill. My illness was a symptom of the imbalance I had allowed to develop.

So, I am learning to pace myself. I work for a while, then take the time for other things:
  • time to write
  • time for family and friends
  • time to play
  • time to exercise


I'd like to be more productive with the blogging, but I won't kill myself to do so. And, anyway, I had a wonderful surprise when I returned from the hospital. I found that I had email about the blog. Sometimes, I feel as though I am shouting into a deep well. It's nice to know that's not true.

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