December we had a great Christmas, brought in the New Year with annual check ups with our doctor and back to school for Tanner and Zach working and Rick looking for a new job and interviewing. By the middle of the month he had found a job and starting his new job on January 24th. There was also taking down Christmas, getting things cleaned up and all back together. Also, Tanner was scheduled for driver’s range and roading, Zach was looking for a place in hopes of moving out and Brayden’s birthday coming up. Tanner was backstage help for the school play. Rick and Tanner were holding baseball practices each week for his 10 year old team. Tanner was also on a city basketball team and had games each week.
My schedule was working 20 hours a week, an average of 2 - 3 meetings for things that I volunteer for, working on Oak Canyon Has Talent and a handful of other projects that I was involved with. Each day between work and meetings and the other things I was involved with I would spend about 6 - 7 hours a day keeping up with things. I also had counseling each week. We were in the process of adjusting medications for me and figuring out what works best for me. I also had gone into a few specialists and in the process of taking care of some other things.
Our lives were sustainable, but in a way busy and definitely we weren’t looking for additional things to add to schedule.
With the adjusting of medications I wasn’t feeling great, but knew that things would get better. I’d been through this many times and knew that within a couple of weeks I’d be in good shape.
AND THEN. . .around the 15th of January I started having lower back pains, stomach pains and knew that something wasn’t really right. I felt that I was getting an infection. I was also weighing out getting the Covid Vaccine that my doctor had encouraged me to get. I was being super cautious, but the week of the 17th I was feeling super anxious and almost a scared feeling of covid. I wore my mask more often and was overly cautious. Anytime I went anywhere or touched anything I washed my hands. I made sure to not touch my face. I found myself keeping more distance from people.
On Thursday I had about 9 hours of meetings - some in person and some via Zoom. I was feeling fine except for the back pain. This was the peak of Omicron Covid Variant and so most of my meetings had a ton of discussion of what to do in the schools and for the faculty that were burning out. Friday I spent time communicating with many of my teacher friends about how they were feeling and working on volunteer stuff. Also, on Friday I made the decision to get the Pfizer Vaccine and looked for a place I could get it on Saturday. I couldn’t find anywhere for Saturday, but had looked at the next week and scheduled to get it.
On Saturday we went to Tanner’s Basketball game and came home and did Saturday stuff like cleaning the house, grocery shopping and just getting caught up from the week. In the afternoon I started to have a sore throat and feeling great fatigue. My body was a little achy, but not bad. Saturday evening I was on the phone with a good friend and we visited for a couple of hours. I could tell my throat was getting more scratchy, but thought, well I don’t talk on the phone very often.
That night I went to bed and my body ached more through the night and I couldn’t sleep very well. When I woke up in the morning to get ready for church I got in the shower and I was so weak and thought should I go to church or stay home - I wasn’t sure if this was medication related or what was going on. As I was in the shower I had the thought stay home and get rest, watch Sacrament Meeting from home and take care of yourself. It was very clear so I got back in bed and turned on Sacrament Meeting. My boys administered the Sacrament to Rick and I at home after church.
It’s good that I stayed home. I continued to get worse that afternoon. I slept a lot. We tested me for covid on Monday - negative. Alright, that’s good news.
By Tuesday Morning I was soooo miserable I couldn’t hardly handle the pain, walk, open my eyes, etc. I was super miserable!!! That’s when I went to instacare and here we go. . .COVID!!! I had other things going on and my body was suffering. I couldn’t think about anything going on in my life, but surviving.
In a previous blog I wrote about my health journey. In this blog I want to share another part of the journey.
My sickness quickly got to a point that I couldn’t open my eyes at all, I couldn’t process anything I read or was told and honestly didn’t have any idea of what was going on around me. I didn’t know day or night and had no idea what day of the week it was. I really wasn’t responsive for a good part of the time. Rick was giving me my pills and trying to give me a little bit of food, which felt pointless, because it didn’t stay down. I wasn’t aware of the commitments I had and things I should be too or be doing. I had no concept of deadlines - really nothing. It was just a matter of me trying to stay alive.
Rick had my phone the entire time and he would try to keep up with the texts, messages coming in through messenger, calls that were coming in and my emails, but it was impossible. He had started his job on January 24th and was in training and trying to take care of all of the commitments the boys had too and take care of me which was a high stress situation, because I was so sick.
I take care of paying the bills, going through the mail, coordinating things for the boys and general household stuff. Honestly, Rick didn’t even know passwords or really the time to think about what bills needed to be paid. The boys were helping keep him on track with their things.
I finally became more aware, awake and more responsive around February 12th. I still had an awful headache and had the hardest time processing things - my brain was super slow. I asked for my phone. . .ya, as I scrolled through things for a few minutes I was realizing all of the things that I had missed, all of the things that other people had communicated with Rick and trying to take care of, because I was so sick. Rick had tried to find files to share with people, answer questions and take care of the things that were pressing. I felt super sad. I honestly didn’t know how to process all that I had dropped. This isn’t my personality and honestly throughout my whole life I don’t remember a time that I dropped the ball on something. I could only be on my phone for a short time, because I still wasn’t very strong and still felt very nauseated and on oxygen, but more awake.
All I could think was I had FAILED!!!! I let people down. I missed things that I had committed to. I missed things that I enjoy! I missed my son’s 21st birthday! I missed the opportunity to have my family over to celebrate birthdays. Other people had to step in and take care of things for me - I put things on other people and that wasn’t fair, that was wrong. The problem was I still didn’t have much strength or energy. I also missed weeks of work. That put a massive burden on our family. Rick hadn’t gotten his first paycheck from his new job and I was the only income and there was no income.
Then throughout the next week Rick and I got talking about the bills. The medical bills. I found out how much it cost for Rick to get some prescriptions that I needed after going to the hospital - oh my gosh!!! Super expensive! How did Rick take care of things? Not only that, but I had missed paying all of our bills - everything was late and now had late fees. So, lack of income - zero income for a time, accruing medical bills, late fees on all of our monthly bills. It was the worst feeling! Another failure and pressure that had been put on Rick.
And then, eventually I was shown the bags of mail! Like 3 grocery bags full of mail. Not only was it just bills and things that needed to be taken care of, but the bills were coming in from my instacare visit, my emergency room visit and so much more. I honestly couldn’t face it.
Plus we were in the process of switching insurances and our bank was switching bank cards and I missed switching automatic payments from the old card to the new card. It was hard to know where we could go for things with medical, because a whole new insurance and new places, doctors, etc.
I also felt numb!!! I couldn’t cry. I didn’t know what to feel or how to process everything. There was this inner depression that was super heavy and is still there, but improving. I almost liked the feeling of being gone, not having any idea of what was going on. There was a removal of stress, finances, processing and healing my emotional things and the biggest thing, I didn’t feel the weight of missing my dad. In fact, there was a point that they weren’t sure I would make it and in a way I wanted to be with my dad. I wanted to talk with him. I miss him. There was guilt for that time for sure, immense guilt, but also a feeling of can I go back to that space so I don’t have to face reality, failure, disappointment and trying to sort through everything that fell apart while I was gone.
There was another big problem - I was realizing what I was missing out on and I wanted to get back to life. I wanted to get back to my meetings and being responsible and not falling behind anymore. I wanted to jump back in and try to recoup all that I had dropped. The problem with this was I wasn’t strong enough. I couldn’t process things. I was dizzy. I couldn’t drive. My balance was super off. I had many things coming up and I was determined to find a way to take care of things.
I’d been cleared and wasn’t contagious so I could get out and do things, but just had to be super careful to not jeopardize my health. I went to my first meeting on Tuesday, February 15th. I struggled, but it was so good to be back. I couldn’t process a lot, but I gave it a good try. I came home and slept after the meeting. I was super exhausted.
Thursday, 17th, I took on conducting a meeting and attending 2 other meetings. It was a long day and I lost words and couldn’t always remember what I was saying, but it was super nice to be out and doing things again. And yes, I had to squeeze in a nap. My headaches were pretty bad through all of this, but I was smiling and happy to be getting out.
Brayden and Tanner had gone to St. George for Brayden to umpire for the weekend of President’s Day and there was nothing more I wanted than to go down there and sit in the sun, watch baseball and watch Brayden umpire. I needed to get away and clear my mind and felt that this would be so good for me. Rick was super nervous and didn’t feel it was a good idea, but I pressed and pressed and he finally gave in. We got up early Saturday morning and drove down, spent the day in beautiful weather, sitting with Tanner, being with my boys, watching my favorite sport, went to dinner with the boys and then came home late that night. It was AWESOME!!! It was perfect for my mental health. It wasn’t good at all for my physical health. By the end of the day I was super sick and it took me a few days to recover - I was back in bed really wiped out, but I still don’t regret it.
What I found was I had to look at my whole week and I could do about 50% of what was on my calendar. Last week I was able to do more than that, but the weekend I was super wiped out.
The other challenge that I’ve faced is that I really have a hard time keeping track of what day, date and month it is. I lost a lot of time that I had no concept of the time and when I talk about haircuts or something I think it was just the other day in January. I lost a lot of time in my life. I struggle to have a concept that it was 2 months ago that I really remember what happened. I’m starting to build up a memory of more recent things, but with the covid brain its hard to remember things still.
’m now at 2 months today that my cold / covid symptoms started coming on. 2 long, short, confusing, frustrating, depressing, deathly sick, failure months. Things happened in this time that I’ve never had happen before in my life. No excuses - that’s what I’ve always believed. Now others for sure can have reasons for me to pick up the pieces for them, but not for me. I’ve had a super hard time accepting that there is an excuse that I failed, dropped the ball, put things I committed to on other people - they had to pick up pieces that I hadn’t clued them in before it happened. I’m surrounded by amazing people who were super happy to help me, who have not complained one second, in fact have been super loving and supportive and want to help me. It’s me. I’m 49 years old and this is all hard for me to digest.
And yes, I ended up paying all of the late fees and I finally got back to a full week of work last week - 7 weeks of not working, no income and honestly, though my brother has been super understanding, I feel awful that I let him down. That I didn’t keep up with my work to help him with his job and meeting his goals. Getting back to a full week of work felt great! Felt rewarding.
I’m super grateful for counseling over the last few weeks. Getting back to counseling has been a huge blessing and it’s been so good to be able to process all of these feelings and recognize what words are damaging to me. Have to, should have, could have, failure - the list goes on. I’ve been working on choosing other words and recognizing the blessings - I lived! That’s the first thing that everyone points out. I’m blessed with amazing friends and family who picked up the pieces, because they love me. I’m loved! I’m at least able to get back to some things and slowly I’ll be back to all things. It’s helped me reevaluate life and take a deeper look at the things I’m doing and how to simplify life a little more. I’ve come to recognize what’s most valuable in my life. I’ve come to understand that this isn’t a time in my life that I need to define as a failure. I’ve learned that there are things that are truly out of my control - yep, I super struggle with loss of control. I’ve come to understand that there are a lot of things that I can’t control.
This last week has been the most healing for me. Going to counseling last Monday and to see my doctor last Monday and having a good reset has helped me see how far I’ve come and a plan for going forward. I’ve got answers and direction for my health. I’ve felt greater love - even love for myself. I’ve turned to the Lord more and have felt so much more direction and spiritual promptings that have helped me heal and know what’s most important.
I’ve always told others slow and steady wins the race - not something I’ve quite lived by. I’ve always been overload fast and no sleep and rushing around wins the race. Well, I’ve come to understand how important slow and steady wins the race for myself. I’ve come to understand self compassion for myself and how important these basic principles are to a healthy, happy and more successful recovery.
A wife and mother of 4 boys and 2 daughter-in-law, I have spent my entire adult life devoted to my family. I have been busy in their schools, supporting them in all of their school work, sporting events, activities, etc. I spent years heavily involved in the PTA, church callings, etc Life for me has always been overwhelmingly busy. While I thought this was my sanity, the truth is it masked issues - real issues - that I needed to work on to gain true sanity. I am sharing my story in this blog. I do this so that I might be able to help other women find their true sanity