I should have known something like this would happen. I knew I was burning the candle at both ends, but I thought I’d just get through it. Anyway, the hardest part was over. I’d started a new job, moved house, and given my three gorgeous offspring some pretty fantastic birthdays – all within a few weeks of each other.
But things didn’t stop after that. I sacrificed my exercise regimen, my healthy eating habits, my ‘me time’ – because I was busy.
“I’ll catch up on sleep later – anyway, I’m not that tired.”
“I’ll restart my running training next week.”
“I’ll do something special for myself when things slow down a bit.”
“I just have so much to do!”
These are all things I told myself while I was flogging myself like the proverbial dead horse – all the while waxing lyrical here with you about the importance of taking care of yourself. The irony is not lost on me, I promise.
For those of you who missed last week’s drama, I’d been up at the Sunshine Coast for work, then caught the train back on Wednesday afternoon. Rather than go straight home, I’d arranged to meet the gorgeous Gillian for a few drinks. We like to call these sessions our Champagne Cartel planning meetings. They kind of are, for about 15 minutes, then they’re a chance for us to chat and relax and have a bit of fun. Yes, we tend to tie one on when we get together, but never to the point of ridiculousness. (Okay, but not all the time.)
This doesn’t sound too stressful, right? It shouldn’t be, but it was clearly the straw that broke my poor broken-down camel’s back. I had one and a half beers and suddenly felt not well. Within half an hour or so, I’d gone from thinking I might need to get a taxi and go home, to Gillian calling my mother to come and get me (Husby was at home with the three kids), to being carted out of the pub into a waiting ambulance. SUCH a good look!
I felt faint, dizzy and nauseous, but the scariest thing for me was that my left arm was tingling and my hand went totally numb. I’ve heard enough stories to know this can be a sign of heart issues so when Gillian suggested for the third or fourth time she call an ambulance, I finally agreed.
The ambos and the hospital staff were all top notch – super friendly and professional. My mum came along with me, which was great, and poor worried Gillian caught a train home. A lovely paramedic gave me a shot of something wonderful which almost immediately quelled the nausea. I was so grateful – vomiting is my least favourite thing in the world.
When I first got to the emergency department, the attending nurse asked me if there was any chance I could be pregnant. I laughed and laughed and laughed, and then worried profusely for the next five minutes while she examined my wee. Pregnancy test: negative. PHEW!
I was then tested for a whole bunch of other stuff, including neurological issues and a stroke.
I realised I am just at that magical age – 40 – where pregnancy and a stroke are both treated as a possibility. I’m not sure which would have been worse but thankfully I wasn’t dealing with either.
After much poking, prodding and testing, the slightly baffled (and 12-year-old looking) doctor said she thought I was dehydrated and exhausted. I was put on a saline drip and sent home to rest.
So I’m taking this as a wake up call. How much of this stuff that I do every day is important? How much can I live without? What I do know is that ‘me time’ has shot way up my priority list. As has switching off my devices and spending time with my family. I’ll still be here, of course, because this Champagne Cartel community makes me incredibly happy – and I feel like you are all part of this learning journey with me.
I hope that this scary little episode has taught me some long-lasting lessons. And I hope that it has saved some of you from making the same mistake. Don’t spread yourself thin. Sleep. Meditate. Exercise. Eat well. Turn off your devices and hang. Watch TV or paint your nails. Do whatever makes you happy, not just what you think you should be doing.
That’s what I’ll be doing. Will you join me? Have you ever been forced to slow the fuck down?