Wednesday, June 5, 2013
The People-Pleaser Learns a Lesson, by Victoria James
I had a hundred balls in the air, and this was the first time in a long time I wasn't able to juggle. I got sick, and in typical 'mom' fashion I just ignored it and kept going, full speed ahead (thank you, coffee addiction). Anyway, my husband finally convinced me to go the walk-in clinic (I didn't bother making an appointment with my regular doctor-because who has the time, right?). I received a prescription for antibiotics five minutes later and was on my way. Or so I thought. A few days later I was getting progressively worse and in between popping antibiotics was chugging coffee and Advil's.
That Saturday night, I was at Whole Foods with my son picking up some takeout because we had friends coming over for dinner and I was too wiped to cook (see, that was what I thought was taking it easy. It didn't even occur to me to cancel). Anyway, food bought, on our way to the parking lot and I just stopped. Suddenly, it was like all the pain I was denying I was in, couldn't be hidden anymore. All I could feel was the intense throbbing in my cheekbone, like someone had taken a chisel to it and was carving out a new mountain. I had a hard time making conversation with my son (luckily, he talks a mile a minute and barely noticed) and the drive home took intense concentration. We arrived home, I dropped the groceries on the kitchen floor and mumbled to my husband that I needed to sit. Kids were scavenging through the bags (every time groceries come home, it seems they turn into these ravenous little monsters who haven't seen a morsel of food in days) and the noise level was reaching a disastrous level. I was having a hard time concentrating on anything, even simple conversation. Hubby put the kids to bed and then tried to figure out what was wrong with me. My symptoms were all over the place-my cheekbone killed, my teeth ached, my 'bite' had changed and I couldn't line up my teeth properly, and I felt despondent. The poor guy thought I was having a stroke. We did cancel on those friends, and I went to bed (without eating a scrap of that delicious takeout-a true sign something was wrong). The next morning at the urging of a friend who's had a root canal recently, I called the 'after hours' number on the back of the dentist's business card and explained my symptoms. At this point I really thought I was dealing with a root canal. It sounded like that to him as well-considering the tooth movement-and he prescribed an antibiotic and said to go see him next week. This was somewhat reassuring and frightening at the same time because I'm totally afraid of dentists and dental work. I just realized how long this post is going on...sorry, will try and wrap this up!
These antibiotics were starting to work and by the time I went to the dentist a few days later I was beginning to feel human again. He took X-rays and saw...nothing. Nothing. Then he examined my mouth-my bite had changed, because a tooth (the one I thought was infected) had lowered in much the way it does when the root is infected. Anyway, as he's looking inside my mouth he asks me if I'm under a lot of stress. Hmm. What was I supposed to say? I'm a romance novelist, small-business owner, and mom? I felt a little ridiculous. So I just kind of shrugged and he told me I was grinding my teeth and had actually shifted that tooth. He then shaved off some enamel so that tooth would be even and I need to go back for a follow-up. That medication he prescribed was working for my sinus infection and after a visit to my regular doctor-and some more X-rays/ultrasound, found my left sinus blocked. I received a referral to a specialist and now it's wait and see. Fingers crossed this will clear up and sinus surgery isn't a must.
So, very long, long story, short? Don't ignore your body-get whatever it is dealt with as quickly as possible and take the time to rest. Don't feel guilty for admitting you can't do something (this is the hardest-I still feel horrible for asking for help). I cut out all social media for a few weeks (that feels very strange actually). I was honest with my agent and editor who were very understanding and now I'm playing catch-up. Take some time for yourself-go for a walk, take a bike ride, get yourself some flowers if no one else buys them for you :)
I'm so grateful to be feeling well again...and I'm trying to say no to the five thousand requests I get on a daily basis to help someone out with something...um, that being said, I'd better run: the two-year-old has just whacked older brother on the head with Hello Kitty dollhouse...