The fork in the road

Buckle up people. You’re in for a ride. This is about Black Dog and mental health…

I had a fever for three days in late August. I got better, although Hubs stayed home to take me to the GP on one day as I felt so awful with it, he was worried about me driving.

I got better, but was sniffly, put it down to hay fever and dug out my antihistamines and soldiered on.

I did the Bloody Long Walk for Mito, 35km. My left foot was sore at about 32km, but at that distance, we just soldiered on. We got bused to the start line; but at the finish line, we had to get a tram back to the City. All up I did nearly 50,000 steps that day. I got into bed when I got home for a nanna nap.

DOMS set in good and proper, I was hobbling like John Wayne, popping anti-inflammatories and paracetamol to get through the next couple of days. Still snuffling.

My DOMS subsides, my foot is still sore so strap it up and head back to the GP on Wednesday night, second visit in two weeks. She pokes it, I don’t scream, we don’t think it’s broken, but I have an x-ray referral just in case I need it.

Thursday night, my nose starts running like a tap. Friday morning, my throat is scratchy and sore. I post about disdaining the person so hard who gave it to me on Facebook.

Friday afternoon, my foot is really, really sore; I book an x-ray appointment at the hospital near work. Still snuffly and sneezing. I get the x-ray done and head home for an early night.

Saturday morning, my body says stop. Just stop.

Tuesday this week, day four in bed, I call the GPs office and get the last available appointment of the day. Third visit in three weeks. Tim looks me over and say well done on getting your ‘flu jab this year otherwise you’d be ‘properly poorly’. I say I wonder what that looks like as I’m feeling terrible.

I’ve got a secondary infection in my sinuses; of course I have. I get a script for antibiotics, and manage to take two doses before bed.

Wednesday morning, I get up out of bed and nearly fall over. I’ve got so much congestion in my head, it’s now affecting my balance. I steady myself and go about getting the morning underway.

Archie wants breakfast in bed with me so we can chat together in the morning, I bring the tray in, lay down next to him and my whole vision is disrupted, I’m hanging on to the bed so I don’t fall off it. I start to feel sea-sick with it too.

When I can move, I sit back upright. This is not good. Hubs had an early start, so was already out the house. All I’ve got to do is get Arch to school. We finish off our morning jobs, teeth, hair, reading. and I get him up the hill. Come back home, prop myself up on pillows and settle into Midsomer Murders on the Netflix.

I get lunch, tidy that away and then settle down for a nap in the afternoon. I get up and fall out of bed. I then start being sick. When I’m done, I try to get back into bed, but keep falling over. I’m stuck on the bathroom floor, sobbing. What do I do now? I text Hubs, then call him, then text him. I text two friends I used to work with. Message another friend I know is in the office, can she page the other two?

I’m still being sick every time I move. The floor rocking and rolling underneath me. I’m crying, snot, vomit. It ain’t pretty. Hubs calls me back, we agree I need help. I call 000 and ask for an ambulance. Not something you do lightly in Australia as it will cost you >$1000, that is one thing that is automatically covered by our inordinately-expensive-for-very-little-reward-health-insurance.

What with one thing and another over the past few weeks, my mood has slipped again. Not badly, but enough for the little depression bastard to start making suggestions to me. Like “You’ve got a balance issue, you could ‘fall’ down the stairs and no-one would know. It would be an accident.”

Here comes my epiphany. I’ve literally got one part of my brain telling me to end it, here’s an easy way out. Handing it to me on a platter. While I’m in the middle of being ill, snot, vomit, sobbing in fear; another part of me. Not my brain, ME. My soul.

“I don’t want you to die”.

me

My phone rings, the health line have called me back to try and work out what’s going on and triage me. We work out I’m not having a cardiac moment, or anything serious; it’s more likely vertigo. She’s going to send an ambulance out to me, it’ll be a little while, but they will have medication to help me feel better.

Fricking vertigo.

I crawl to the doors to open them up, since the burglaries, there’s a screen door on, you ain’t getting through that. I also pull on some yoga pants, I’ve propped myself back in the bathroom with a towel around me when one of my friends calls “I’m on my way” She used to be a nurse, she won’t mind the mess I’m in.

She doesn’t, and when I start bringing up bile, she rubs my back and puts a cold washcloth on my neck. We talk about all sorts of shit, laughing. She gets me some water to my level so I can clean my teeth. I loves her I do. Hubs comes home, they do a handover and she heads back to work.

The ambulance arrives, they give me a wafer to put under my tongue to help with the dizziness and nausea. We go back and forth about me heading to hospital. I’m still not sure I want to go, I’m not that bad after all, I’ve only got vertigo. When he says to me, “You’ll be feeling like you were again all night if you don’t go”, that clinches it.

I’m not going to the inns and outs of the hospital stay, as it’s a big building with doctors in it and that’s not important right now. I was admitted overnight as they were still considering me a fall risk. I’ve been sent home with stemitil that I’ll need to take until more congestion has cleared. If I move my head too quickly, I’m still unsteady on my feet. Bed rest for the rest of the week.

The doctor that discharged me this morning thinks I’ve had the flu for three weeks, the flu jab carried me through, being stubborn carried me through – but my body spoke louder. So I’m listening. I’m stopping, resting and I’m going to find out who it was that told me, audibly. I don’t want you to die.

In all my years of struggling with depression and anxiety, I’ve never had such a clear delineation between it and me. Like Eckhart Tolle’s “I can’t live myself”. It was that big.

I am not my thoughts, you are not yours. Who am I? Let’s find out.

Sinusitis – again

I’ve been knocked sideways by my second sinus infection this year. Two too many said the GP I saw on Wednesday. She signed me off work for two days (more in a minute), wrote me a prescription and referred me for a CT scan of my noggin when I’m well. She wants to see what’s going on inside my head. Don’t we all?

It’s been hanging around for a couple of weeks, not developing into anything, and because I’ve been mostly sneezing, it was hiding as hay-fever, until I woke up on Wednesday and my teeth hurt. I made an appointment in the late afternoon as I had to update the Managers on the preparations for our office move at a meeting at 2pm, and carried on at work. Even moving bins in and around the office, as there was no-one else to do it.

109 people are changing desks on Monday and Tuesday, I know this because I’ve counted them. Part of the working group, Thursday was our big clean-up morning, hence all the bins arriving on site and being dotted about the office. I’ve missed the pizza lunch after the clean-up. I’ve missed our Christmas in July – that was deferred after a biblical rainstorm in December last year. But after one antibiotic tablet, on Thursday morning I could barely move. Thank goodness for pre-packed lunches and only having to run Arch down the road to his holiday program. I clapped a beanie on my head, kept my PJs on and dropped him off. I got back to bed and we’re now on Saturday morning and I feel almost human again.

I’ve wafted through Bridesmaids, various Hairy Bikers programs, and despite asking for Netflix requests on Facebook, I couldn’t concentrate on anything so have just added them all to my watch-list for ‘Ron. Mostly I’ve slept as I couldn’t read either as I couldn’t hold a thought in my head. Hubs came home on Thursday to a house in darkness, no small boy in sight and went back out again to get Arch, coming home with pizza, but sad he couldn’t find me creme caramel or creamed rice pudding.

On Wednesday afternoon while waiting for my prescription to be filled, I brought comfort food supplies. Ranging from fancy yogurts to laksa soup to chilli – knowing what I want to eat when everything tastes like cardboard anyway, I prepared for my bedraggled state. Staggering into the kitchen yesterday, I was so grateful I had brought the chilli in readiness I high-fived myself. I had a shower yesterday evening, today I’ll strip the bed, this morning I wanted a coffee. Baby steps all of them…

Hubs arrived home yesterday with more Laksa soup and six pots of creme caramel (slight overkill, I’m not complaining), but still no creamed rice pudding. Ambrosia you’ve failed me! Mind you, I’ve not had their tapioca pudding since I moved here and still crave it. I’d kill for Pad Thai, every so often I’d open up Uber Eats to look at the local restaurants, but I can’t justify it.

The cat has been very happy I’ve been home, sleeping on either my legs or my pillow, he’s stretched out flat on his back by my legs at the minute. So here’s my stream of conscious update for you. As is. No editing. I feel much better today, but will stay at home with the wee man. I’m looking forward to moving to the couch to watch a DVD with him, but now I’m off for a nap.

Pooh-Bear

Pardon..?

If you’re talking to me and I don’t answer, it’s probably because I didn’t hear you. I’ve got an ear infection in my left ear, then at the weekend I woke up with my right cheek sinus feeling like it was going to explode for good measure. Consequently, my head is ringing, if I lean forward too far, I can feel everything sloshing around. Grim.

I booked an appointment with the GP for Friday morning because I’d spent the week trying to clear what I thought was water from my ear after two hours in a floatation tank. Which was bliss, except for the crackling ear. She looked in my right ear, then my left and told me that my ear drum instead of being concave was convex, and said that I was ‘brewing’ something as I wasn’t firing on all cylinders. She then gave me a ‘flu shot, (I’d missed mine at work as I was in the UK), and sent me off with a prescription for ear drops.

Saturday was spent pottering about, then parked on the couch to watch the Lions tour match against provincial New Zealand Barbarian, known as Baa-Baas which made us all laugh. I went to bed early, woke up on Sunday feeling like I’d been hit by a truck. I wafted all morning, got myself together in the afternoon to head out the house with the boys. As we got shoes on, I was explaining to Peanut I had a ‘window’ of energy I could use. He’s been invited to a Prince and Princess dress-up party, so after pinterest-ing a bit, I found something I could do (and cope with), $30 later I found everything I needed, Hubs then took us for afternoon tea.

In the car on the way home, from the shops 20 minutes from our house, I fell asleep. Hubs packed me back off to bed again, where I stayed until this morning. Man was that shower great, although have you tried not getting an ear wet in the shower??

I did my meditation this morning, choosing ‘Intention’ on Buddhify, When I was asked what was my intention, get up, show up, popped into my head. I sprung out of bed, stripped it, put the duvet to air; stripped Peanut’s bed, am airing his duvet; ran a load of washing and hung it up; made lunches; enjoyed my shower and generally got going again on life.

I listen to Osher Günsberg’s podcast (and support him through Patreon), this week he was having a chat with Bridie O’Donnell, who’s another one of my favourite humans. She’s a doctor, has ridden professionally, she broke the hour record in a velodrome and specialises in providing life advice to people, motivational interviewing. Not just about drinking less, eating better, moving more, but creating a framework to hang your stuff on to make changes in your life.

Which brings me to the purpose for this post, I was pi$$ed off I’d not checked off my days, or did my plank, or did a long run over the weekend. My body was screaming out for me to rest, so I did.

I know that I missed heaps of stuff this weekend, but I will get back on track this week. Bridie in the conversation I listened to this morning was saying most athletes don’t want to train everyday, but there are lots of external forces that contribute to them training every. single. day. Don’t wait to be motivated to do it, get your kit ready and say ‘I’ll feel better when I’ve done it’ the delayed gratification is what you’re aiming for with health changes.

Now doesn’t that make y’all feel better? Knowing that you can make a choice every time you eat, that if you fluff up at one meal, enjoy that meal, but choose better the next, even the next mouthful. Don’t pi$$ up the wall the whole day. Relapse is part of the change process, notice it, move on.

Get up, show up, don’t give up. Incremental, daily changes, but if you miss a day, don’t beat yourself up. Have patience with yourself, compassion for yourself and recognise the simplicity in the now. Eat well now. Take time to rest now. Exercise now.

We got this. Be here now.