Life can change in an instant. Something can happen that will dramatically draw everything into focus. In The Road to Better Health Part 1: Doritos and Snickers, I wrote about how my husband and I had decided it was time to take steps to ensure better health for ourselves. We improved the way we ate and how we approached our exercise and through making some small changes we both lost a lot of weight. We had greater energy and were able to start to tune into what felt good for our bodies.
We weren’t perfect, not by a long shot, but we were certainly on the way to experiencing better health and overall wellness. In the summer of 2014 my husband went away for the weekend to race his drag car and when he came home on Sunday night he mentioned he was feeling a little under the weather. Monday came around and he felt a little worse so he went to the clinic. They ran some tests and sent him home. By the Tuesday night he was really having a hard time so we went up to the emergency room, where once again they ran some tests and sent us home with antibiotics.
The Dark Night
A full 36 hours later and the antibiotics still weren’t helping and he was experiencing significant abdominal pain. That night he woke me up around midnight and asked me to take him back to the hospital. I knew it was serious because he is not someone that complains. We spent a little time waiting and when we finally spoke to another doctor he was clearly out of ideas about what could be wrong. They tested his kidney functioning and found that it had plummeted from the day before and with no sign of infection they couldn’t pinpoint what was causing the issues.
I will never forget sitting in that exam room and having the doctor very seriously and honestly say that the didn’t know what was happening. His kidney filtration rate was continuing to decrease and due to that they recommended that he be admitted and seen by a specialist.
We waited in the ER that entire night and into the mid-morning until they could get him a bed. When we final arrived in the renal unit he was given a bed and advised that the doctor would see him today. They couldn’t give him anything so we simply waited in a hospital bed wondering what was happening.
The specialist did arrive at the end of the work day and again was a little perplexed by what was happening to an otherwise healthy guy. He ran more tests, ordered more scans and eventually gave my husband something for the pain. I laid next to him in that bed all day until it was finally time for me to go home to take care of the dogs. I probably shouldn’t have driven myself home because as soon as I got into my car, the tears came and I couldn’t stop them.
The diagnosis and treatment finally came. It was a virus that attacked his kidneys. The same virus that gives you a cold. My husband spent almost a week in the hospital in a ward with three elderly people who required constant care by the amazing staff of nurses and doctors. I would go the hospital each day and bring him food and something to keep his mind off of being in that sad place and each night I would go home and cry by myself. Seeing the most important person in the world to me in pain is the worst thing I have ever experienced.
He was eventually discharged with a ton of follow-up tests and a laundry list of instructions for things and foods to avoid. I didn’t care. He was home and I made it my personal mission to get him back on the road to better health.
When he was finally discharged from the care of the specialist several months later I couldn’t believe how relieved and happy we both were. It was a freak occurrence and it had no lasting implications. Thankfully, he was completely recovered and feeling good.
Let me tell you, this was not an accident. Yes, I believe that things happen for a reason and this experience reminded me of a few things and taught us a few valuable lessons.
- Better health is a relative concept – we thought we were doing a great job at taking care of our overall wellness. We gave up Doritos and Snickers for goodness sakes! Having to eat for kidney health (low sodium) was a huge wake-up call in and of itself. I read every label and became an expert at feeding us foods that would support his kidney health.
- Act now! – this is a call to action. If you get nothing else from this post, please, please, please don’t waste another moment waiting to take care of yourself. The road to better health starts with a single step. The worst part about being in the unit that he was in, was the fact that the other three people in the ward, had either given up or were incapacitated by illness. They couldn’t or didn’t want to get better and it was sobering to see.
- It all adds up – as a result of taking steps to achieve better health, we had dramatically decreased our consumption of processed foods, sugar and booze. When he was discharged, my husband said to me that he wanted to quit drinking. I was totally on board as we were both seeing how even small amounts were wreaking havoc with our systems. It is still one of the best decisions we ever made. I have so much more clarity and energy now and even though the amounts were small, we didn’t want to do anything that would impact our health negatively.
- Focus on being well as long as possible – if, heaven forbid, we find ourselves admitted to another hospital, you better believe that we want to be in the best possible condition to fight whatever we meet. I absolutely want to be that 90 year old yogi that can still hold her body weight and can shoulder check with ease, but I know that taking care of myself now will ensure better health for as long as possible.
Your life can change in an instant. This experience still serves as the strongest reminder for my husband and I to take care of ourselves. The human body is exceptional. If you nurture it and care for it, honouring it’s incredible capacities, you will hopefully have a happy and healthy life. The road to better health is not always easy but taking excellent care of all aspects of your health is the most important thing that you can do for yourself and the people that you love. The energy you spend to move and nourish your body will never be a waste.
Have you ever experienced a wake-up call that resulted in a major shift in your life?
Looking to make changes in your life but don’t know where to start? I am here to support you!