Your health matters in business.
This past week I was diagnosed with mastitis. If you’re not familiar with what mastitis is (I wasn’t until I became a mom and heard of this horrific possibility through the grape vine), here’s the gist. Mastitis is an infection of breast tissue. It can develop if you have a blocked duct that doesn’t clear properly. When you get it you feel aches and chills, develop a fever, and experience severe pain. Let me tell you, the pain I experienced was like no other. The only thing I could compare it to was labour! One of those pains that only people who have had mastitis can understand. Not a club you want to belong to though. So when I was diagnosed I had already waited three days before I finally saw the doctor. The first day I knew I had something wrong (Monday) I had so much on my plate, my husband was away business, my babysitter wasn’t able to come in until Wednesday. It was a crappy situation but I honestly thought I could conquer it on my own. Day two arrived and I felt like I was getting better. Still in pain but more energy. Well, day three arrived and I was on my knees in pain and crying like a baby in front of my kids. I was delirious. I had a high fever. I wasn’t well. I saw my doctor that day and she diagnosed me and prescribed me antibiotics.
Two days on antibiotics and the pain not only wasn’t going away but it was moving. My skin was spongy, hot, red, and sore (oh so very sore) on the side of my breast and creeping into my back. My fever also wasn’t gone. Something wasn’t right. I saw my doctor again and she told me to rush to the ER. At first I protested. I didn’t want to leave my comfortable bed and sit in an emergency room for hours on end. Couldn’t I just go home and sleep this off? She looked at me and told me she was very worried about this. This was a serious infection that couldn’t be treated with oral antibiotics. I needed IV antibiotics. Of course, my health is more important than my desire to go back to bed, so my husband and I went to the hospital together while my parents watched the kids.
The hospital staff were incredible and everyone was very nice. It turns out my mastitis turned into something even worse called cellulitis. I received my IV (after four painful tries. I have rolling veins apparently). I received my first bag of antibiotics and then was discharged five hours after our arrival. I then saw a nurse at my home for the next three days who administered the rest of the antibiotics. My doctor now has me on antibiotic pills. I hope it’s 100% clear by next week.
Getting mastitis and then cellulitis was painful and difficult. It was exhausting both physically and mentally. But, as I tend to do when the going gets rough, I saw a lesson behind the crap.
Through the pain, foggy mind, worry, and fever, I was forced to let go of a lot of things. I handed my kids over to my parents until my husband returned home from his business trip. I stopped worrying about looming deadlines. I cancelled meetings. I didn’t respond to emails. I took time away from work. I let people take care of me. I let my parents get me groceries and make me breakfast and lunch and dinner. I took a time out that I otherwise didn’t think I had time to take.
When shit hits the fan with your health you tend to view your surroundings with a new perspective.
It became crystal clear to me that family and my health are the most important things in my life. I have been taking on far too much and putting a lot of pressure on myself and yet, when I get sick, those priorities are forced to take a back seat. Now that I’m on the mend, the things I was stressing over before are still here. Nothing has collapsed. Nothing has caught fire. Nothing is sending me into bankruptcy. I took care of myself first and now I’ll work on taking care of my business. One step at a time.
Self care is something that we all have to be mindful of. I always hear about the oxygen in an air emergency analogy. You’re not any use to anyone if you don’t put that oxygen on yourself first. So, when you’re growing your business be sure to pay attention to the captain that’s driving the ship – you! If you’re feeling ill, get yourself checked out. If you need a “me” day, take it. After you do take comfort in knowing that the work will be there. The clients that matter will be there. In fact, they’ll appreciate that you’re maintaining your health so you can continue serving them!
I sure wish I listened to myself last Monday. I knew something was wrong and I ignored it in the name of work. Maybe if I saw my doctor then I would have avoided a trip to the hospital.