Lessons From My Hospital Bed

Lessons From My Hospital Bed

What a week! Thank you so much for the good wishes, texts, calls, cards, snapchats, e-cards, emails, prayers, and visits. I am on the mend! What inspired me this week? So many things. Here’s what I learned from my hospital bed:

  1. Sometimes we have to stop fighting our battles alone to start healing. I’d done everything I knew to do to take care of myself and I still kept getting worse. With a 101 fever and a chest cough that took my breath away, I knew my body needed more attention than I could give it.
  2. Involve medical professionals who know the most about you. Although I’d received excellent care from a nearby urgent care facility, I decided to wait for a call back from my family physician’s office. I was lucky. Dr. Lamos, yes, the same physician who cared for me twenty years ago at the onset of my paralysis, called me back. Knowing my history, he advised a trip to the hospital for a chest x-ray and tests. So at 8 a.m. on Christmas Eve morning, my son, Peter, drove me to the ER.
  3. Respect the “ruling out” process. What was wrong with me? Did I have pneumonia? The flu? With my daughter’s family visiting from Wisconsin, including my precious two-month-old grandson and two year-old-granddaughter, the last thing I wanted to do was expose them to whatever was making me sick. Although the tests came back negative, a high heart rate and low blood pressure invited other suspicions, so I was admitted. To be honest, I was relieved. I didn’t care what was wrong with me; I just wanted to get better.

  4. Clarity fostered a strange contentment. As one who suffers regularly from FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) I was surprised by how easily I accepted my situation and let go of my expectations. I was simply grateful to be under good care and watchful eyes. Even though I didn’t like it, I was exactly where I needed to be.

    “Celebrate Christmas like your mama taught you,” I texted my kids.

    And they did.

    Angel Blakely Faye at the Christmas Eve Pageant.

    Country ham and grits for breakfast, our Christmas morning tradition.

    Facetiming of Christmas morning present-opening with Blakely Faye and Beckett James.

  5. Rely on those who know you best and let them help guide your decisions. Although she lives 500 miles away, my sweet sissy Rachel became my quarterback of care as soon as I left for the ER. When I stabilized and began improving, we decided to encourage my kids to leave for their respective homes as planned. But when it was time to go home, we wondered if I could manage alone. Thankfully, I didn’t have to discover that answer. Peter offered to drive back from New York, a three-hour drive that turned into a five-hour jaunt through holiday traffic. He picked me up from the hospital and stayed with me for four days as I let my body recover from inactivity of my hospital bed.

    Home at last.

    Treated like a queen.

  6. Despite good hospital care, stay vigilant. “What’s that, Mom?” Pete asked when I finally got back into my own bed at home. I lifted up my left foot to discover a large blood blister on the outside of my heel, out of my sight. Apparently the hospital’s new-fangled Clinitron bed, a heated bed of moving sand designed to prevent skin breakdown and bed wounds, somehow created a deep blood blister. As those of you who know me or have read my book know, wounds are a paraplegic’s nightmare. We can’t sense pain so injuries often become wounds with lasting, limiting effects. So far, it is healing well. But without Pete’s alert call, I may have never known I had an issue.

  7. Never underestimate the power of thoughtfulness. Letting others help gave me surprising energy. Although I wrote about it months ago, last week I fully experienced the strengthening power of expressions of care and concern. Never have I felt so loved and encouraged. Thank you!

How about you? Do you have any lessons from hospital beds to share? Tell me about it. I’d love to know.

My best – always,

Becky  (Neehah! Note the new name!)

P.S. We still don’t know what was wrong—perhaps an upper respiratory infection or virus. Thankfully my body responded well to the medications. And on we go.

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