When Life Knocks You Down

The last week has been a rough one for me. About a week before I flew to NYC, I started noticing I was having a lot of facial/sinus pain, along with left ear pain. These are the same symptoms I experienced a little over two years ago. In mid-December 2016 I thought what I had was a really bad head cold. Several people around me were sick and we all seemed to continue to pass it around to one another. I ended up going to one of the walk-in clinics in town to get checked out and discovered I had a bad sinus infection and was put on round of antibiotics because my sinuses were completely clogged and there was fluid behind my ear drum. Once I finished the antibiotics I was still having issues with my ears and with getting migraines. Not a fun combination.

I was referred to Otolaryngology (also known as Ear, Nose, and Throat) for a consult. I was started on a round of prednisone and ear drops for my ears. That made for an interesting experience. While the prednisone and ear drops helped with my right ear, my left ear was left unchanged. And on top of that prednisone gave me mild steroid psychosis. That’s not something you want to experience when you are the sole care giver for your dad, or when you are dealing with patient’s health everyday at your job. My left eardrum was retracted and pressing up against the first bone behind the eardrum. I was scheduled to have a tube placed in my left ear. This was the first time I ever needed a tube and it was done as an in office procedure, which was not fun at all.

When I started noticing these symptoms again, I went to get checked out. The doctor took a look in my ear and told me the tube was still in there. So I said, “It’s still in my eardrum where it’s supposed to be”, only to be told that it’s not and it’s just chilling in my ear canal. Fantastic! Over the last few weeks my migraines, face pain, and ear pain have returned with a vengeance. My medications haven’t really been helping the symptoms. I was home more this week than at work because of the migraines and not really being able to function. Today and Thursday have been the two days this week where I’ve felt pretty good. I go in in about a week and a half to have a new tube placed, which I’m dreading because I know it’s going to be super uncomfortable, but I’m also ready to get relief again.

As the title of this post indicates, life has knocked me down this week. I haven’t done much cooking this week because pulling pots and pans out of the cabinets is not pleasant when your head is pounding. I’ve bee drinking more caffeinated beverages for the extra caffeine, I’ve not bee drinking as much water as I should, I haven’t exercised in a week, and I’ve just been down because of not feeling well. Today I’m finally starting to feel normal again and I’m hoping this continues until I get the new tube in. I know feeling crappy is only temporary, but in the moment it seems like it will never end.

Dont-be-so-hard-on-yourself-quote_daily-inspiration

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Uplifting

There are some days when you open your email and see a message and it just makes you smile. I previously wrote about the nurse I nominated for The Daisy Award and who won. After the ceremony I received an email from her and how appreciative she was for me nominating her for this award. Well, after dealing with migraines for  two days, when I came in to work this morning I had a reply from her. In her original email she told me she would like to visit my father’s grave. I let her know that I had him cremated and that I would be more than happy to make a trip in to the hospital with his ashes. In her reply to me today she told me that she didn’t want me to do that and that instead whenever she thinks about my dad she will look up at the sky and pray for him. Seeing that made my emotional, but in a good way. I will be forever grateful for her.

If you don’t know what The Daisy Award is, I will give you some background. The Daisy Award and The Daisy Foundation was created by the J. Patrick Barnes family as a way to honor extraordinary nurses in the nursing field in November 1999. This award honors nurses in such an amazing way. There’s so much information on their website including all of the winners of this award and ways to support this amazing foundation. If you are interested you can check it out their website at The DAISY Award.

 

Re-Introduction

Hi there, and hello to all of my new blog followers. My name is Sarah and I live in Illinois. I’m an only child who has lost both of her parents. My mom passed in 2011 to a brain aneurysm, and my dad in 2017 from sepsis and endocarditis. Below are pictures of me with my mom and dad! I miss them every day.

 

When I initially started this blog, it was to document my life as the caregiver to my dad. And while I will still post about that stuff, this blog has turned into a place where I can share my life experiences since losing both parents. I love that I am getting to experience new things in life and that I have a place to share my growth as a person now. I had a friend give me homework after my dad passed to see how much time of my life I have back now that I no longer need to take care of my dad, and it’s amazing how much time I truly have back. Don’t get my wrong, I would do it all again in a heart beat, but there’s something very liberating about finally getting to live my life fully for me.

So to share a little more about me, I live with my two cats, Socks and Shadow (pictured below). These two have been great to have and have helped so much with my anxiety and dealing with the loss of my dad. Besides having two fur babies, I’ve got several friends who are the best. They have helped me through some of the hardest times in my life and I don’t know what I would do without them.

One of my more recent posts was about my first vacation in eight years to NYC. You can read that post on an earlier blog. I’m making this year a year to focus on me and what will make me happy. I’m working on getting back into shape, taking trips, even if just to see family, because life is too short to not spend it with family. I also have a couple of other major trips I am planning on doing this year. One will be to California, and it will be my first time being on  the west coast. The second I’m still waiting on details, but one of my friends is going to be doing a retreat and I was told last year that I have to go this year, and I’m more than happy to oblige with that request. One of the smaller trips I making is actually this weekend for my cousin’s third birthday. She’s having a mermaid party and the kid in me is excited for that!

Thank you all so much for the follows and likes on my posts thus far and I can’t wait to share more! Feel free to share this with others and have a great rest of the week.

Positive Influence

Over the weekend I found out something that made me happy and that I wanted to share. During my walk with coworkers and friends, we ended our 6.7 mile walk at a small restaurant in a town called St. Joe. While we were all recovering and refueling from our walk I had the chance to talk to the director from the emergency room I used to work in. I saw him briefly last month at The Daisy Award ceremony for the nurse who took care of my dad in his final hours.

What I learned from him on Saturday made me even more grateful that I took the time to nominate this nurse and that she won. He told me that she is a travelling nurse from Japan and that she really wasn’t sure she fit in here or that she had made the right choice to come here. He told me that after she won the award that it made her feel like she had made the right choice to come here and that it made her feel more a part of the team. This means the world to me. I saw not only how she interacted with my dad and I, but with other staff members. She is truly one of those nurses that is one in a million.

Never underestimate how you can make a difference in the life of someone. I nominated this nurse because of the care and compassion she showed. I didn’t know a lot about where she was from or that she was a travel nurse here. I’m glad that my show of gratitude and appreciation helped make a difference in her life, as she did in mine. Things like this just make my heart so full and make me want to continue on this journey of finding a way to make a difference in the lives of others, while also allowing me to make my life more fulfilled. The next time you think a gesture is too small, but you still want to do something for someone, do it. You never know how big that gesture could be to the person and that it could be life changing for them.

Progress

Over the course of the last two weeks, I have proved to myself that I can do anything I set my mind to, and that I need to not let that little voice in my head tell me otherwise. Last week when I was in NYC I did so much I didn’t think I could do, but the one thing I wanted to do more than anything was complete my first half marathon. I fell short of that goal due to a blister. I wasn’t disappointment because I completed eight miles. For me that’s the farthest I had walked/jogged continually in my life. That achievement alone made not only myself happy, but also friends of mine happy for me and that was a great feeling.

Flash forward 6 days and I fucking completed the distance of a half marathon today. Albeit there was a break to refuel, but I did it! In my town there is a new walking path that will eventually lead to a state park called Kickapoo State Park. Right now the trail goes from Urbana to St. Joe which is just shy of a 7 mile walk. The group I went with was coworkers I used to work with when I worked registration in the ER, one of the guys I used to go to church with, and a girl who works in the lab that got to know my and my dad really well because dad was always in for lab work. There were new people that I met as well, and it was a blast. We started at around 9:10 this morning and made it to St. Joe about two hours later. Myself and one other person decided that since it was such a nice day that after refueling with food and stuff to drink that we’d make the trek back. I’m so glad I did. I felt amazing by the time I got back to my car. Finally having a nice weather day made it all worth it. I did walk away with a slight sunburn on my face, but I can live with that.

This sense of accomplishment and momentum I’ve had the last few weeks has been fantastic. I’m getting out of my own head. I’m really taking to heart the talks I’ve had with a good friend and I’m no longer letting things from my past hold me back. I’m taking on the world and I love it. I’m in a really good place mentally that to be honest, I haven’t been in years. Each day is a new day to do accomplish something else and to show my dad that I’m doing well because of everything he taught me. The night he passed he asked me how I was going to take care of myself. I’m taking care of myself with the love and support of family and friends. My 20’s weren’t the traditional 20’s that many people experience, so I’m taking life by storm in my 30’s and it feels great. Here’s to many more adventures and goals to crush this year!

The journey continues

I saw this on one of my social media pages tonight and it’s absolutely accurate. When I said I was going to NYC some people didn’t understand why or what was there for me that I couldn’t get here. I’ll tell you I got five days of truly feeling like I was living, making connections with my goal crushers, and soaking up as much as humanly possible to make myself a better person.

Everyone has a different journey in life. We all have this idea on how our life will go, but nothing ever goes to plan one hundred percent of the time. And as I look back, with all I’ve been through, I wouldn’t change it because of it were any different I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m in such a good place and it’s a place I haven’t been in years.

This is my time to shine. I’m more passionate about life, doing things I never thought I’d get to do, and working on making the most of each day. I’m proof that you can go from the lowest low to the highest high.

Living life

It’s weird how much my life has changed in the short amount of time since my dad’s passing. I completed a 40 day challenge hosted by one of my friends. I started making mental changes to better myself. I’ve gotten back into working out. I’m doing things that just a few months ago I wouldn’t have been able to do or wouldn’t have been in the right mindset to do.

The last five days in NY have allowed me to let go off all of the stress and worries I once had. I explored so much of the city and saw more in five days than most people probably see of the city in their lifetime. I went from Lower Manhattan to TriBeCa, to the village, Central Park and so many places in between. I made connections with new friends and strengthened connections with friends I’ve known for a while. I got my first tattoo, was five miles shy of completing my first half marathon, won an amazing goodie bag from Shape, and for yet the second time had Jen make me cry at one of her events, but the tears this time were for a completely different reason. I’m headed home a changed person. Only I am in charge of my happiness. I can feel a shift in my life happening and it’s exciting. Here’s to the start of a new adventures and a new chapter.