Oddly as it may seem, I'm not talking about making that guilty purchase you've been putting off for a year because you feel you don't deserve it. This time I'm talking about something far more serious than we realize until there's a problem, your health. The great thing is now more than ever, mental health awareness is more encouraged and accepted. My question to you is, do you know how to take care of your physical health too? Yes, we all know to exercise and eat right, sleep well, brush your teeth and wash, but do you know where to draw the line between something minor and when you need to get a medical profession involved?
I have a younger sister, daughter and niece. Growing up, I had my fair share of being cared for and helping others when it comes to sickness and ailments. I remember vividly having the flu as a child and remember the dedication my mom had to get me back well. My sister has had broken bones that required all of our help, just so she could do everyday tasks. I've even seen my mother sick, and how she took care of herself because my sister and I were still too young to truly know what to do. We could get the things she needed and bring them to her, but we couldn't make recommendations or go to the store for better products. Just from those experiences growing up, I felt I had learned a decent amount about how to take care of myself. After google became normalized and my daughter was born, I would have told anyone, I know when something is out of my hands.
When it comes to other people, it seems like we play it more safe than we do with ourselves, maybe it's just me. As an adult if anything happened to someone I knew and thought it could be an early sign of something worse, symptoms over a week or more, I'd be adamant about getting checked out by a doctor, just to be on the safe side. I honestly thought I gave myself the same treatment until recently. One day, I was on my computer trying to get some work done and I started to feel funny. It's hard to explain but kinda dazed and lethargic, but I was fully aware it was happening. I shrugged it off as being hungry or dehydrated, grabbed a snack and got back to work. The feeling eventually went away but the next day it came back. Later in the day I started freezing. Again not giving it a second though and having tunnel vision on the work I wanted to get finished, I took a hot shower to try and warm up. I even fixed a cup of hot tea and bundled up. I'm still freezing but there was work I wanted done so I kept pushing.
That night I felt a little more tired than usual so as soon as I reached a good stopping point, I called it a night. I remember getting woke up by a phone call at some point after I dozed off, but I couldn't process what the phone said. By this point I had a headache and I was hot. I wasn't overly groggy, and I could see the letters in the name on the phone, but they just seemed meaningless. It was as if I had forgotten how to read. Chucking it up to being woken up, I silence my phone and change into lighter clothes and tried to go back to sleep. The Next day when I woke up, every movement seemed to make my head hurt more. I've had migraines in the past, so again even with all the red flags, I take some of my migraine medicine and lay back down. The next time I wake up, the headache is still there, the house seems warmer than usual, but it's midday. Still determined to finish my work from the night before, I push through and get back to work, it's just a headache.
By about 7PM that day, I noticed I was starting to feel nauseous. Still thinking it's from the migraine, I do decide to lay down and take some more of my migraine meds. I woke up maybe an hour later on fire. It was worse than being out in direct sun because I could feel the heat in every part of my body, not just on my skin. Finally accepting that I may have a fever I get up to find the thermometer. I noticed that my vision seemed a little off, but my head is still hurting too, so I'm still thinking these are all side effects of my migraine. I find the thermometer and take my temperature, I see 100.7 so I take some Motrin and lay back down. All that night I kept waking up every hour or so because I was hot. The next morning I wake up and still have a migraine, but I'm not as hot as the night before. Since it's been a while since I took my temperature, I go to check if I still have a fever. My thermometer flashes the last temperature taken before it takes a new one, so you can compare the readings. The 100.7 I saw the night before was actually 103.7.
If my daughter's temperature got too close to 101, we're on our way to the ER. I didn't care about a bill or false alarm, I wasn't taking any chances. At the time, I didn't realize how bad my fever was. It wasn't until after the fever broke and I was still weak days later that I looked up what was considered a high fever. The fact that I had that intensity of headache, I was lethargic, and my vision had started to fade, I now know that I had that fever for at least 2 day and the one 103.7 reading from a 48 hour period is just general temperature. The fact that I took my migraine medicine when I did is probably what saved my life because it's a compound medicine with Tylenol in it. It scares me to this day to know that I could have easily died because I was being too stubborn to take a break from my work because I didn't feel good. I was hesitating to take any medication because I didn't want it to make me drowsy and lose time in my day. That's coming from someone who works from home, so my heart goes out to everyone who has to make a decision to call out or use a sick day and risk getting reprimanded.
Piggybacking off my blog Take It Easy, You Got This, we really have to stop feeling overshadowed by other people. So what if one person can run a marathon with the flu, kudos to them with all respect, but we as a society have to stop trying to normalize exceptional cases. If something feels off for longer than typical to you, don't feel pressured to ignore yourself. Catch the flack for putting yourself first, piss your boss off because you'd rather take a day off than spend a week in the hospital later. Even in tough choice scenarios when you don't have medical insurance or can't afford your copay, go to an ER. It's your right. I've been there too, in another instance when I was nervous about missing a day at work. What's one more bill in exchange for your well being and in extreme cases like mine, your life. We are human. Regardless of how people feel we are meant to be and scientifically proven to be on a cognitive level, we are human, not numbers on a paper. Be more aware of how you feel day to day, chart it if you feel it helps. Learn to turn off the auto pilot when it comes to taking care of yourself and find the level of TLC that works best for you.