Well, 2021, you have definitely filled my plate this year, and we're barely a quarter into the year so far. The abundance of items on my plate seem to overwhelm me more than serve as perhaps the nourishment and refreshment I had hoped for. And the more I try to simplify and prioritize and limit the options in front of me, some giant spoonful comes out of nowhere and adds more.
First off, there's school. Teaching during a pandemic makes me want to laugh and cry all at the same time. I mean, honestly, it's like watching a train derail over and over again. No matter how many times you pick up the debris, set the train back on the tracks and try again, the tracks just aren't set properly to keep the train moving forward. Period. And the destination is pretty fuzzy by now because you know you just don't have all the necessary variables to get your train to where it was supposed to go. And then every time I have some bright idea that just might work, I remind myself that it would require more time and attention than I physically can give. So I step back, knowing that my body and mind can only handle so much. Not to mention that I have family and friends that need my time and attention, too.
While we're on the subject of what I'm physically capable of, that brings me to another several mounds that got unexpectedly heaped upon my plate in the last three months. I came out of the year 2020 still recovering from a hard three weeks of COVID that left me pretty weak and dealing with some pretty serious sleeping issues. I started 2021 with a regular annual doctor appointment to find blood pressure and heart rate issues that I'd never experienced before. When I mentioned my sleep issues, my doctor referred me for a sleep test to see if perhaps sleep apnea could be an underlying cause, while I also started on medication for blood pressure for the first time in my life.
Extra doctor appointments on an already full plate did not help matters, raising my anxiety level, definitely not helping the blood pressure and heart rate.
When I visited the sleep doctor, I heard words like tachardia, EKG, cardiology and got a little freaked out, until she said that untreated sleep apnea could eventually lead to those things. Soon after, I heard the diagnosis of severe sleep apnea and suddenly had to come up with quite a bit of money to pay for a new sleep machine and mask to start sleeping with. But if it meant I could actually sleep and might avoid all those words from the first visit, then I was good with it.
At first all seemed to go well, until the insomnia returned and we realized my blood pressure and heart rate issues had not gotten any better. In fact, my heart seemed to race even more than before. So my body became a science experiment while we tried different doses of different medications, trying to help me sleep, stay calm, and have a somewhat normal blood pressure. My doctor referred me to a cardiologist, but gave me hope that perhaps the medication would do the trick and I would not need to see the cardiologist after all.
That hope didn't last long, after a few scary mornings with a racing heart, a 911 call at school, an EKG done right in the nurses' office at school, a day spent in urgent care, and a few days working from home not knowing if I suffered from a heart condition, if I was having a bad reaction to the meds, or if I was having anxiety attacks--or all of the above. Oh, and my hair also started falling out in clumps, just adding a little more anxiety to the mix. I got in to see the cardiologist pretty quickly, who got me on the right dosage of meds that finally started working, and who told me what I suspected all along. COVID. She said she sees at least one to two new patients every day who are experiencing the same thing after having had COVID. So apparently my COVID saga continues.
So last week I had yet another doctor appointment, took yet another sick day from work, and had more tests done on my heart, and at the moment I'm currently charging a heart monitor that I have to wear for for an entire month. As if I didn't have enough wires, tubes, masks, and machines next to my bed to keep up with to help me sleep, now I have a heart monitor and device to keep charged and connected to me at all times. It's all a bit overwhelming, to say the least.
And did I mention I have family and friends, too? A marriage that has needed extra care and attention the last couple years. A son that's taking a little more time than expected to grow and mature into an independent young adult. Another son off in college, trying to find the right balance of dependence and independence. Parents who also went through their own recent trauma/saga of COVID. Two friends fighting against cancer that decided to return. Two friends who very unexpectedly lost their husbands. Medical bills. Financial concerns. Job frustrations. Vehicle issues. Ice storm damage. One heaping serving after another, making my head spin, my heart hurt, and my mind race, taking me right back to that original sleep issue.
I'm so glad God gave me the word RECEIVE this year because it really does give me the right filter as I see my plate get fuller and fuller by the day. If God put it on my plate, it must have a purpose. It may not look appetizing or feel nourishing, but it's part of His "diet" for me, giving me some sort of energy, strength, perseverance, training, empathy, understanding, improved health, faith, etc. that I am going to need for the journey ahead. It's not an easy perspective to take or one that I automatically go to, but I'm working on it. Or should I say, God keeps putting that word in front of me, reminding me to open up my hands to receive what He's trying to give me. To eat everything on my plate if I don't want to miss out on dessert afterwards.