These last couple of weeks have been kind of a blur. What started with Keith's being 'man sick' (our term for when he gets ill – which isn't often) had spread to me and even the cats have had their sick moments. I suppose it was probably time, as we both hadn't had any real illnesses in what seems like years. Perhaps it was due to the mild on-again-off-again winter we have been experiencing. Maybe there just wasn't enough of a hard freeze to kill everything off that usually gets killed off by the cold. Who knows, though? One thing is for sure – we aren't alone in our battle, as many, many of our friends and customers have had bouts with similar cold and flu-like symptoms. This one was a doozie.
I haven't been writing here much because I typically try to stay in a positive direction with my blog. I keep the focus on creating and if I am having an 'off' day now and again, I don't mention it and find something else that is positive and creative to discuss here. I like it that way, as not only does it keep me going in a positive direction, but it also may help you all think about some good things to focus on and plan.
Last week and the weekend were tough though. While I thought I was getting better, on Tuesday I lost my voice completely. I called into the 'on call' doctor in our area and was able to get an appointment Wednesday. At that time, there was not a lot of congestion or coughing, and I had no fever so she only gave me a steriod nose spray for my sinuses. But then the 'cold' began to settle into congestion in my lungs and a cough. My sinuses were also swelling and my face became painful at any time that I allowed the over the counter pain killers to wear off. It was time to go back in. Unfortunately, this was on a Saturday night and with the next day being Sunday, the hours at the 'on call' were limited. I tried to get an appointment there and failed to do so, as the lines were busy as soon as they were opened. Living in rural Canada, the next step of action was to head to the hospital to the emergency room to see the doctor on call there. It was our only choice.
We headed to Yarmouth at nearly 1pm. We had waited to see if I could get the appointment at the local center, which didn't open phone lines until 12:30. As I mentioned, that didn't work so there was little choice but to take the 45 minute drive and go to the hospital. When we arrived, the ER was full. There were barely seats for us. We knew it would be a long wait and upon approaching the hospital while driving we saw a helicoptor landing on the pad there. That meant there was another emergency ahead of us.
It took us about an hour to get through the preliminary Triage process – where I was evaluated and 'graded' according to urgency. By the time I was done with that, there were two vacant seats in the corner of the room and we gladly took them. I would spend the next 9+ hours there waiting for my turn.
It was a tough day in the ER. When we came, there was a nice volunteer lady that was encouraging and checking on people while they waited. She was there about half the time and when her shift ended at around 5pm, no one replaced her.
You learn a lot by sitting and observing. I found for myself that my initial feelings of 'oh no' when I saw the many people gradually changed to empathy and compassion. It wasn't just about 'me'. Everyone here had their own story and was suffering their own pain. Even though I was miserable and feeling like my head would explode, I saw that there were others that were worse off than myself. One lady fell and broke her wrist and ankle. Another had a sick child. I thought of the days when my own children were young and I realized how much worse I would feel if I were here with one of them instead of for myself.
Around 7 or 8 I was able to convince Keith to take a drive and go get some dinner. He hadn't eaten anything substantial all day. I wasn't hungry at all and kept a bottle of water, but I asked him to bring me a plain bagel. I knew if he thought I needed something it would convince him to go and take care of himself too. I felt bad that he had to sit there all day with me. I know that is what we do for loved ones, but it is hard to shake that feeling anyway.
During the hour he was gone, I began talking with a chatty lady who had arrived with her husband just after us. I had (blissfully!) found a stray tylenol in my purse and had taken it just before Keith had left and it took the edge off of the pain in my head. We talked for an hour and I heard her story of how her husband had to have an EKG and they were right behind us in line. He had blood work in the morning and had not eaten since breakfast. She was hoping they would be out of there by 10 so he could have a bite before his fast for the test.
We all have a story.
Talking to her made the time go quickly. She was pleasant and it turned out she used to tole paint. She loved hearing about my job and said she just got a coloring book for Christmas and loved it. It relaxed her and was very enjoyable. She told me about her grown children and I told her about mine. It was nice that even though I looked like crap and had no makeup on at all she was surprised that I was 54 years old and had adult kids. Surprisingly, it made me feel better.
We surmised that there was another emergency that had halted the regular inflow of the ER, as there was a new set of Paramedics milling in the hallway. It made me think about things and it also reminded me that it isn't always just about 'me'.
Eventually (around 8:30) the man in front of me was called in. This was after a nearly 2 hour lull in progression. The crisis was apparently over for now, and many of the people waiting actually clapped when we heard his name. We were genuinely happy for him, as he seemed to be suffering from the same ailment as I had and looked a bit miserable.
My own name was called a few minutes later – again to some clapping. It was odd to have strangers cheering us on, and I am sure that part of the joy was the relief that things were once again moving in a good direction. There was hope.
My doctor was there immediately when I got to the 'other side'. She moved quickly and was absolutely wonderful. She asked questions, listened to the answers and mentioned that she also had a sinus infection and understood how painful it was. I could see her eye was as red as mine was, and I was impressed with her compassion and empathy. I had had her before one time when I was there and she was the same – professional yet personal.
I suppose my point for today's post is this – sometimes things take time.
We live in a world of millions of people. Everyone can't be 'first'. While I am sure that there are flaws in the system, I think for the most part, people are doing their best to help. Healthcare is a very difficult job to do. It takes a very special and giving type of individual to take care of others day in and day out. I think we all need to remember that.
Sure – I felt pretty miserable. But when I looked around, I saw there were others who were much worse off than I was. I offered half of my bagel to the chatty ladies' husband, but he declined. He probably thought I was weird. I had the urge to allow the lady with the small child go ahead of me, but she wasn't around when I was called and I was truly exhausted. When we were leaving, we saw them in the lobby of the hospital and she was walking the boy who looked much calmer. He would be fine.
Part of living in a society means that we need to realize that it always isn't about just "us". I think that sometimes we have to forego our own comfort for others who are more in need. I truely hope that all of those who were in that room yesterday got the care they needed. I do commend the nurses and doctors who work there as well. I don't know how they deal with it every day. They are heros in my eyes.
Today I feel slightly better already. I had my first dose of anti-biotic last night and have to get more pills today. The doc said it will take probably three days to start really feeling better, so I am laying low for these next couple to let my body heal. I just wanted to check in with you all and thank everyone for the wonderful wishes and messages you have sent me. It truly makes me feel loved.
I also want to show you a new pattern that Keith put up on the site on Saturday. It is a clock with butterflies and very pretty.
SLDK660 Butterflies Desk Clock pattern by Keith Fenton.
As for me, I have been thinking about what I am designing next. After a rest, I will get started on some new patterns for both painting and scroll sawing. I think you will like them.
I promise to get back in the swing of things soon. I also promise to rest until I feel better. I truly need that and I hope that I can overcome this cold/flu once and for all. I just wanted to check in here and let you all know that I am on the mend. I also wanted to express my gratitude for my family and friends and for living in a society where we have healthcare services available to us. There are so many that do not. I never want to take that for granted.
I will be back on a regular basis shortly. Until then, have a wonderful day! Happy Monday to you!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"