A few days before Christmas I was exposed to smoke that consequently triggered my asthma. For quite some time now, I haven’t had an asthma attack because I’ve learned to manage it. To my fellow asthmatics, if you haven’t discovered it yet, the best way to do so is to listen to your body, know your triggers to the simple cough and cold, and avoid them. On a regular basis, eat right and exercise to boost your immune system.
At the slightest symptom of cough, I give myself lots of vitamin C rich fluids and bed rest. If needed, I nebulize with saline solution to help ease my breathing, which may be obstructed by the thickening of my trachea (the system of tubes by which air passes to and from the lungs). If I need more help, that’s when I resort to my meds – Ventolin or Meptin. Unfortunately, the Christmas season was not conducive to my normal healing. There was no chance to have that continuous bed rest. There was a wedding of a niece, Christmas parties, year-ender trip and all the other things to do for the season.
Coping with bed rest with a million things in your to do list
On my second day of bed rest when I started feeling worse, the Miss Universe 2015 kept me great company. With that exciting crowning, un-crowning, and behind-the-scenes stories, my bed rest was definitely not boring. In fact, it might have turned way too exciting that later that day I developed headache from all the watching and reading, and writing that I did about it.
Then I delegated my things to do to our helpers, my sons and hubby. And they were all great!
I conserved my energy for our themed Christmas parties – one at lunch for my husband’s clan, and another one for Noche Buena for my side – both on the 24th of December.
It was Winter Christmas so we were all wearing our winter clothes on a hot lunchtime temperature. I purposely didn’t join the wacky games anymore so I could reserve my energy for our lip synch battle. Ours was an‘80s medley – I did a Madonna, Marvin did a Rick Astley and the boys did a Hall & Oats. Well, we won!
In our 007 Christmas we all suited up for that dressed to kill look. Unfortunately, after the meal, I had to excuse myself at 11 pm because I felt that my body was crying out for rest. It was a good thing that it was held in our home so I just had to go upstairs.
Day after Christmas, we were off to our annual year-ender, a tradition of going away not only to have a family vacation but also for our family goals (both assessment and setting). This year it’s Siem Reap and Phuket.
My Honey has been very caring, he even packed for me! On the first day at Siem Reap his first activity was to buy a nebulizer for me! He stayed with me the whole day giving me everything I needed, including the best massages. The boys went on their own riding the tuktuk, trying out some shooting, ATV driving in the rice fields and other activities.
On the second day, I told Marvin he should go with the boys on their tour of temples and I can just relax at the resort. So here I am foregoing my opportunity to have my Lara Croft experience, afraid that dust exposure might exacerbate my condition. I’m left here writing this piece. Thanks to Anton who chose and booked this place called Navutu Dreams Resort & Spa, I don’t mind staying here all day.
Stop Look & Listen
In the spirit of optimism, there are some positive things that getting sick and slowing down can bring about. Here are some of them.
1. Getting sick reminds us that there are things we can’t hurry. I was anxious to get well right away but nature has its own course. As I was getting impatient with my slow recovery the song, “You can’t hurry love, you just have to wait…” kept playing in my mind and I realized it was the same for my healing. Healing takes time, especially as one gets older. Instead of wasting energy getting impatient, I had to accept that I just had to wait it out.
2. Being sick is not an excuse for looking awful, especially during Christmas! Okay, that’s partially vanity and awareness of the endless photo ops during Christmas. Each morning when I got up and went to the bathroom I was greeted by a sick looking me, with dark circles under my eyes due to lack sleep caused by nonstop coughing. But I smiled at the reflection on the mirror nonetheless and thought, “Okay later we will need the help of a magic wand.” True enough, I guess my photos during my niece’s wedding and the Christmas parties didn’t show how terrible I was feeling. In fact, when I saw myself looking better, I felt better. Even if we know that feeling good on the inside makes you look good on the outside, it’s also true that looking good on the outside makes you feel good on the inside.
3. Do not overestimate your resistance. I normally avoid smoke at all costs. But on that fateful day, I felt I was strong that it wouldn’t affect me, and it did. The same thing while recuperating. At the slightest sense of energy coming back, do not use it up, allow yourself to completely recover. This principle can be used in dealing with temptations. Oftentimes, we allow ourselves to be exposed to temptations thinking that we are strong enough to resist them. Think of exposing yourself too much, too often to shopping malls or online stores.
4. Getting sick reminds us of our mortality. When I get sick I sometimes reflect on the pain and imagine what pain would I have to endure before I say goodbye to this world? Episodes like this make me prepare how I would want to have my final call. Some find it morbid but I don’t. It’s good to talk about it, to know each other’s preferences before you actually get there. Remember decisions are best made during your cold state (when you’re more rational) and not your hot state (emotionally-charged state). Also, observe your health issues now. Know your family’s health challenges because chances are, they will be yours too. For me, I think it would most probably be respiratory so I’m preparing for that now.
5. Getting sick forces you to reflect on the things that really matter. As you lie down and shut off your devices, it’s just you and your thoughts and you’re forced to reflect, “How have I done so far? Have I been doing the things I have to be doing given my limited time? If I go now, would I have lived a good life?” and so on. And because you do not have energy to do the many little things in your 2015 to do list before the year ends, you are forced to zoom out a bit and look at the bigger picture.
I’m there right now, many unchecked items in my 2015 list. But my zooming out showed me the bigger picture. What have I done in relation to my life’s purpose? Fortunately, I was able to have this wonderful conversation when we did a paraliturgy last night as a family. We were not able to find a Catholic church here and I wasn’t well to go out so we read the Sunday readings, gospel and shared what we felt about them and so many other things about our faith, life, relationship with God, etc. It turned out to be a more meaningful Sunday celebration. While I now recall how the boys shared their respective relationships with God, how they pray, view and act on their faith, I can’t help but be content with the bigger picture.
I wish you all had a great and meaningful Christmas. May your 2016 contribute well to your bigger picture, your life’s purpose.
Rose Fres Fausto is the author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose Fres Fausto. She is the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter &Instagram as theFQMom.
Images used from freedesignfile.com, pngimg.com, 123rf.com put together to help deliver the message of the article.
This article is also published in PhilStar.com and RaisingPinoyBoys.com.