I have been MIA on my little blogging site here for a minute and for various reasons.
The number one being this summer did not look exactly how I envisioned it, but then again, things rarely do. Life happens << I have no doubt I’ve started off other ramblings with exactly that phrase. Tends to be life’s MO.
I basically imagined this, over too damn quick summer, would look very much like the one before…Lots of time on the water. Maybe a few day trips and some nearby overnights. The usual beach days and Sunday family dinners.
And I assumed I’d have plenty of post inspiring thoughts.
July seemed to be cooperating with that plan. Hard stop.
What August brought was the month in bed, in a dark room, ac cranked up, and binges of the most shameful reality television. Pretty much the ENTIRE month…
Nope, not Covid….wait for it ….Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever! Who the heck gets Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever on Long Island?! Me.
I despise ticks. Not a purpose in the world for them. Ok not true according to a 2019 article in ‘Sciencing’…..”These tiny pests aren’t without purpose, however. They benefit the moist, dark ecosystems in which they live by serving as a food source for many reptiles, birds and amphibians. They also help control wild animal populations. Scientists even use them as an indicator of an ecosystem’s overall health and stability.”.
So there you have it, I guess the little bloodsuckers do have their reason for existence, but it doesn’t make me like them any better.
As a nature girl who can typically be found roaming through wooded trails on any given day, I am quite diligent about looking for, and plucking off this particular parasite. Well this past July 14th I missed one.
By the end of July I was struggling with severe headaches, my vision was blurry, and I was so tired all the time. On August 6th the headache pain became so intense I couldn’t take the the light, nor could I stand up on my own. I couldn’t focus on anything and I was experiencing legit mental confusion. Then these continues sharp pains began to spread across my abdomen. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I just knew something was.
I asked for an ambulance (was hoping for a soft stretcher and some immediate fluids)….What I got was a two man, one on each arm, escort to the car with my Huckleberry Finn partner making a mad dash to the ER as I lay curled up in the passenger seat I’d been deposited in, all the while moaning in misery and with a sweatshirt over my head to keep me submersed in darkness.
Good times, and once there things became even more fun….When an ambulance brings you into the ER you slide right on in the back door…Not so much when you walk (or are carried) through the front door.
Fast forward to two hours or so later…
Triage nurse: “have you always had migraines”
Me: “this isn’t a migraine, I have sharp stomach pains too”
Triage nurse: “sometimes you can get a sore stomach with a migraine”
Me: “they’re sharp pains not sore”
Triage nurse writes down “sore stomach”
Me: lays on stretcher/chair contraption in hallway with blanket over head and hears nurse tell dr “she has a migraine”
Dr (who hasn’t even looked at me): “well treat for a migraine”
I interrupt this dialogue to share with you that the standard ER treatment for a migraine is apparently an intravenous “cocktail” of Benadryl, an anti-nausea, and Tylenol.
I recall the nurse saying ” this may make you feel a little heady” ….”heady??”…Haha, then the dancing colors came.
I made the most of this freebie high until slipping into a comatose style sleep from which I awoke two or three hours later.
Still in the hallway I groggily raised my head as a dr approached me asking if I felt better in a far too jovial manner. I nodded yes to the best of my ability (being discharged my only goal), to which he responded “oh good, then it was just a migraine”.
“Ahhh, yes….a migraine ….of course it was, and it’s much better now.”, as a nurse half drags me to my in the parking lot waiting partner.
“Umm, are you sure she should leave?” he questions. The nurse shrugs, I crawl in the car and put the sweatshirt back over my face.
In all fairness I hadn’t told them I was bitten by a tick, at that point I hadn’t even remembered it yet. I did recall it though when following up with my family physician.
It stood out due to a clear memory of feeling it in the evening as I put my hand on my neck while driving. I thought the raised spot I was feeling was a mole, or “beauty mark” as I prefer to say.
In the morning I absentmindedly itched the same spot when suddenly struck with the thought “I don’t have a beauty mark there”.
A quick trip to the mirror confirmed it was a bloated well fed creepy crawler who was hanging out on me like I was an all you could eat (drink) buffet. Ugh.
How do I recall weeks later that it was specifically on July 14th you ask…I didn’t until I was looking at pictures a friend sent over that she had snapped of my partner and I sailing past her boat, and low and behold I spotted the “beauty mark” spec on my neck.
Zooming in confirmed it indeed had legs 😦
So there you have it, an exact time line. I assumed it would be lymes, I had it before, though I hadn’t been anywhere near as sick as I was at present. And then the tick panel (which apparently lit up like a Christmas tree revealing past tick borne illnesses as well as present) confirmed it was actually Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (<<< No matter how many times I say (type) that it still makes me start singing John Denver in my head) that had me so down for the count.
This turned out not to be one of those instances where 24 hours into beginning a course of antibiotics, even though you had many more necessary doses, you felt better already.
Just the opposite, the doxycycline kicked my butt!
I could quite literally feel my skin burning with any exposure to the sunlight. I remained fatigued and a little confused, the headache’s continuing to come and go.
Finally the treatment finished, sick time that ate into vacation time, and nothing left to do but go back to work.
And there I am still not 100%!
Now looking back it only took two/three weeks to build my energy back up, but in my dramatic mind it stretched on forever.
If I pushed hard through two days, and by pushed hard I mean work a full day and meet a couple other of the days obligations, I would hit a wall and be done.
The kind of done where you can’t muster up any more energy to do another single thing no matter how much will power you think you have.
Summer was on a fast track collision course with Fall and I was turning down social invites left and right.
My body supported these decisions but my mind was all like “woah girl, what are you thinking? Summertime is slipping away”.
Then my mind decided to really mess with me…Not so bad at first ….’Maybe you’re just so settled into your relationship and content that socializing doesn’t hold the same appeal’, ‘maybe you’re still readjusting from a pandemic that technically isn’t even actually over yet’…..then shit got mean….’maybe you’re just not that fun anymore, maybe you’re old’. ‘Maybe this is you forever now’.
Yup I just took it there in zero to sixty….
Way to fill my days and head with anxiety! Luckily I remembered (or maybe it’s that I keep people around me who remind me) to bring it back to the moment.
And so I did. And in that moment what I needed was to listen to my body. To breathe. To focus while at work. To not take on too much outside of work. To go to sleep early. To eat well. To embrace the quiet, still moments that my body and mind needed. And to have a little faith….Faith that just because it’s this way today doesn’t mean it’ll be this way tomorrow.
Then came the tomorrow where it wasn’t like the day before, and instead of going straight home from work, I met a friend at open mic for a bite to eat and some music.
The following evening was Friday and I went to another friends house and binged a few catch up episodes of a show we always traditionally watched together.
Saturday night rolled around and one of my girls scooped me up after work and we went to the Riverhead Races….Ahhh, I’m back.
I feel like me again. I’m grateful for this shift and I do realize now that in the big picture it was a just a moment in time that it took for these events to transpire, though when I was in it I was certain it was stretching on endlessly.
There are lessons in this as there are lessons in most everything if I look for them.
As I had been pushing back against what was physically happening with me, it created debilitating anxiety that stole my peace of mind and left me mourning all I was missing out on.
The moments where I leaned into it and rode it out, I relaxed and appreciated what joys were being afforded to me at present.
Our last July night sail before I got sick, I recall taking in the sounds and sights I was experiencing in my surroundings and feeling grateful for, such as the ferry crossing back and forth, the wind carrying the sound of laughter from 5th street beach. Phosphorescence streaking the inky black water as our boat swiftly glides across it.
Granted my earlier compilation of August sights and sounds consisting of the darkened room, the chilly ac, the incredibly bad acting and mind numbing entertainment of what is deemed “reality television” (which I can frequently be quoted as deeming “the downfall of society”, does not sound quite as magical and romantic as that July night.
However it does all hold a peaceful reprieve for what was happening and when I’m not being a willful brat, it inspires gratitude just the same.
And truly the list of comforts afforded to me go on; Family and friends who care. A partner who met all my needs when I was a miserable ungrateful mess, a dr I trust, modern medicine, health insurance to pay for said dr’n & medicatin’, a job that pays me for being home sick, and maybe most importantly not to take for granted…An immune system that kicks in and kicks butt to support a body that heals and a mind that clears.
So there it is, my summer wrap up. I didn’t get what I expected, but I got exactly what I needed.
Final note~cheers to a Fall that has started out and is turning out to be better than I dared hope for…For today, I got nothin’ but gratitude and if tomorrow doesn’t go as planned…well, ahh who am I kidding, I’ll still probably try to swim against the tide until I exhaust myself and decide to go with the current ….Air hugs & salty kisses to ya XO