Why it matters
The radio ad where the small child talks about how it feels to be a fish out of the water struggling to breathe resonates with me. A few times a year, I struggle to breathe. Every muscle in my body aches as I try so hard to cough and wheeze, fighting for every air molecule I can suck in.
Of all the monikers I use to identify myself – wife, mom, teacher, friend, cheerleader, super-hero (okay a girl can dream) – asthmatic isn’t the one I love to share with people. Frankly in a world that has grown infinitesimally smaller with the touch of finger, why has talking about our health (especially that of the women in our lives) become something of a taboo?
Don’t get me wrong, I have a couple people in my life that my husband refers to as Internet M.D.’s. These are the people who look at themselves or their children, search the Weirdest Symptoms in the World web superhighway, and diagnose the frail and ill with Black Death or some other far-fetched malady. Some of these people go into graphic detail on all the symptoms that plague them.
Typically, however, we don’t share all that ails us with others.
As moms, we are supposed to have everything together. Our children, our spouses, and I daresay, society is counting on us to be well. So when we aren’t, we put on our big girl pants, tough it out, and move forward behind the veneer mask of “Everything’s fine”.
I really did NOT want to write this blog because does this really matter to anyone other than me and my immediate family. (Remember: I like to think of myself as superhuman, and by writing this blog I expose the world to one of my forms of kryptonite.) I have put off sharing since August/September, when this all took place. Then a tragic ending happened to a family with whom I have had loose connections over the years, and I decided that God really wanted me to share my experience.
No one is to blame in this story, and that is not the purpose for writing this.
After recovering from another month long battle of bronchitis, I developed a severe sinus infection a week after my visit with the allergist. Following my asthma check-up, I was given some medications to hopefully calm my struggling airways. So when this sinus infection came in with the stealthy flank attack of a ninja, I shared my revised medication list with my physician’s new nurse. A round of antibiotics was prescribed, and I went on my way . . . to hopefully heal.
Only that’s not what happened. I began sleeping twenty hours a day, I gained 15 pounds in fewer than that many days, and I was an emotional wreck from missing out on life with my family.
I have suffered a few bouts of the blues in my life; so, I begrudgingly went to see my doctor again thinking this must be the cause of my troubles. She did not agree with me and ordered a series of blood tests. I didn’t receive the results until a few days later while watching my son’s football game. My liver panel was through the roof. My son had mono over the summer, and I relayed that information over the phone. I thought it was highly unlikely since I had mono my senior year of high school.
It wasn’t that, nor was it a myriad of other things.
The next two weeks were a blur as my waking hours were spent taking more blood tests each one for more and more dire situations. If I were a cartoon, any liquid going in would have come out through all the holes in my arms. I was terrified. Your liver is one of those organs that you never think about until someone tells you have something wrong with yours. I became more tired, gained more weight, and generally felt lethargic at best.
In one lucid moment, I felt God telling me to think. In my heart, I didn’t think I could have any of the conditions/disorders for which I was being tested. So in that brief state of alertness, I thought about what had happened over the course of the summer. I did travel to a region of the country I had not been before, but that puzzle piece didn’t seem to fit in the bigger picture. Eventually, I hit the mother lode. New medications! I did some searching and Voila! Two of the drugs I was taking should not mix and had fatal interactions in some people. I just happened to be a part of the group for which those meds had bad reactions.
The first thing I did was thank God for pushing me to think outside of the box and for not allowing me to give up. Secondly, I called the doctors. One agreed with me, and the other’s nurse thought it was crazy. I went with the one who agreed with me and stopped all medications. Lo and behold, a few days later, I felt human again. The weight came off, the energy levels returned, and most importantly my liver regained its healthy levels.
I was fortunate. The family mentioned earlier was not, and my heart hurts for them.
Moms – our health MATTERS.
I don’t care if you work in your home or out, have home births or hospital ones, breast-feed or bottle feed, vaccinate or opt-out, homeschool or send your kids to school, have television or don’t, vegan or not, or any other divisions that can separate us as moms. I. DON’T. CARE. ABOUT. ANY. OF. THAT.
But, I do care about you. If something feels wrong in the care and keeping of you, don’t hide what you are going through. It just might save your life. Tell your doctor, tell a friend who will look for answers with you, or at the very least contact an Ask A Nurse program in your community.
You are important.
Your health is important.
Take good care of you!
Your kids need you and so does the world.