Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Taking Care of Yourself (DUI Loss Entry 12)

My dad was in the hospital, struggling to survive, for six and a half weeks before he died. We planned and attended my mom's funeral during the first week he was in the hosptial, during which he had two surgeries, both on an emergency basis. Even when I was home to sleep, which was rare, I often couldn't.

The months that followed my dad's death were no easier. I felt overwhelmed by anger and grief, and by everything that needed to be taken care of, from my parents' home to the will to the hospital and doctor bills and insurance issues. I tried to go back to work full time (which in the world of large law firms generally means far more than 40 hours a week) a little too soon and had trouble handling the stress.

With all of that going on, I assumed that feeling exhausted and sometimes faint had everything to do with grief and lack of sleep and nothing to do with anything physical going on. I'd read that in times of grief it was good to go to the doctor for a check up, but I didn't. Part of it was I felt all the doctor could do would be to prescribe sleeping pills or some type of anti-depressant, and I didn't want that. Then, in the summer, I went to the doctor because I thought I had an ear infection. I was flying the next day and couldn't imagine getting on a plane with my ear hurting so much. It turned out to relate to my allergies and was fixed by a strong decongestant. But I also learned, because my doctor did a blood test to look for infection, that I'd become somewhat anemic. At my physical the previous year, my iron count was so good the doctor had told me I could stop taking iron supplements if I'd been taking them. Now she recommended them, and I was amazed how much better I felt. I still had some trouble sleeping, still felt sad and angry and exhausted at times. But the feeling of being dragged out all the time, the faintness, and most of all the overwhelming sense of hopelessness improved significantly. I mark that as the time when I started moving toward feeling better, though it was a long journey.

So if you are grieving, I hope you will consider seeing your doctor for a check up. Grieving may be affecting you physically as well as emotionally. And while not everything can be fixed, if it helps you just a little with all you need to deal with, it is worth it. I wish I had done that sooner. I feel like it might have made that first six-eight months just a little less awful.

No comments:

Post a Comment