Reflection During Challenging Times…

The year is 2020…the world is upside down and in chaos because of a virus….the pandemic of modern times; COVID-19. Never thought I would see something or live through something like this in my lifetime. I lived through the Lebanon War, the Gulf War, the 1998 Ice Storm, 9/11, and now this. I have family that fought in the Lebanon war in Israel…I had colleagues fight in the Gulf War. Many of us lost family, friends, and colleagues in 9/11.

One year ago this month, I returned to work after a 5 month hiatus for health reasons. I suffered 2 accidents in 2 months…both occurred in the home. People say you are most likely to injure yourself at home and guess what? I proved that theory correct!

In October of 2018, I tripped going up the stairs in my home, falling rather suddenly and hitting my left shoulder first, followed by the left side of my face. I blacked out and for how long?? A minute or two maybe. I was home alone. I texted a friend about 5 minutes before I went down the 14 steps to answer the front door to get a package from the Purolator, UPS or Canada Post driver, and then bam!!

I just remember waking up on the stairs and thinking, “What the heck just happened?” And “My shoulder hurts like hell…”

I was not focused at all on my head. My left jaw was sore and as the afternoon progressed it got swollen, but nothing was broken. All teeth intact. No broken bones from what I could tell.

I was in the middle of making a Friday night dinner for my family and some friends. I continued with the dinner, took some Motrin, put ice on my shoulder, and moved on throughout the rest of the afternoon.

We enjoyed a nice evening with our friends. They knew what happened. I was called a ‘klutz’ by my youngest. I tripped because the rubber tread on the stairs was loose and my slipper got caught on it.

I woke up the next morning in pain, sore, swollen left side of my face, shoulder hurting like heck, head throbbing, and I could not take light or noise. To the hospital my partner at the time and I went. The new hospital as all would be modern and clean.

The staff was limited, but they were amazing. I spent all day there. I had an IV drip as I was given anti-nausea medication, I was x-rayed and nothing was broken, my shoulder aggravated for sure; good news-head scanned and mild concussion diagnosis given; physiotherapy recommended for the shoulder.

So, fast forward 2 months, when my parents and their 2 small dogs joined us for the holidays, as I could not leave Montreal, Canada being on sick-leave from work. I live in an upper duplex, so it is smallish and with 6 people, 2 small dogs, and my cat-it was a bit hectic and cramped…so naturally, I showed all that I am a ‘klutz’ and tripped over a laundry basket putting my head into the wall (Not my finest moment…)

Needless to say, my recovery from my concussion and shoulder injury took longer and I was out on sick leave for 5 months.

Osteopathy, physiotherapy, therapeutic massage, doctor appointments, naturopathic appointments, neurologist appointments, and more; and finally I was deemed ‘normal’ and okay to return to work.

Let’s just say leaving the safe and cocoon environment I created at home, was not my reality in returning to work! I am super light sensitive, noise sensitive, smell/fragrance sensitive, and my ability to process information, my memory, and more was s-l-o-w-e-r…I was overwhelmed and I had to adjust and explain to others my new reality. Most got it. Some took longer to fully understand.

I still suffer from migraines and tension headaches regularly. I have blue light glasses for super bright spaces and for screen time. Overhead lights off in the office; table lamps only. My office is the ‘zen’ office.

At home same thing; I used to love the sun, but now find it too bright and this is 17 months later. Our living room is the brightest space in the duplex we rent. I have sheer curtains across the windows as I still want the light, but on a sunny day-I retreat to the back of the duplex into the ‘cave’ as I call it. A dimmed space with reduced lighting and I put my blue lights glasses on as needed. My partner makes fun of me and calls me a ‘bat’ since I prefer dim and darker areas of the house. As one who has never experienced a stress or tension headache or migraine, he so does not get it. One cannot relate until they go through it themselves.

Coffee in the morning, Liquid Gel Advil, Acetaminophen, an herbal supplement for migraines, B12, Vitamin D, and Magnesium daily to help with the headaches…fresh air, walks outside, and soon cycling will be my daily go to thing.

In our current times with the COVID-19 pandemic, a walk outside and fresh air is so needed. Quebec is declared in a ‘state of emergency’ and for the next 3 weeks all non-essential services and businesses are closed. And I think this has been extended to May 1st which means another 5-6 weeks working from home and no schools open.

Working from home calling clients and family members daily, interacting through email, Zoom meetings, text messages, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Our lives and lifestyles will & have changed dramatically and it will be a time to reflect and adjust.

I am a minimalist by nature so having less is fine. As I work in the helping professions, I already know what it is to live on less money. Being divorced, I know even more what it is to stretch a dollar further. Good friends & colleagues, loving family; I will take that any day over being rich in money. 🙂