Yesterday I had every intention of writing all about my run-in with a stranger named Michael. But, as all of us auto-immune people know, one second life is good: you find yourself running around outside engaging in silly string fights with your boys, and the next second you are sweating profusely, stripped down to your underwear, hovering over the toilet.
I started to get a headache, something that, unfortunately, is not uncommon. I decided to take a rest and drink some water. Then the headache progressed into full tension. Then the sweating happened. It was like I couldn’t regulate. I was hot, way too hot. I opened windows, I drank water, I stripped down to nearly nothing, and it wasn’t helping. Then the shaking started.
I was overcome with dizziness and nausea. The fear in the moment was plenty: Is it the cold the boys had? Is it because I missed my prednisone dose yesterday? Is it the inflammation in my colon? Is it the new meds? or is it the tapering I have been doing?
I found myself wondering what to do. If I go to the ER and it is nothing, I will have scared the boys, racked up a medical bill I don’t need, and wasted an already uncomfortable day in a more uncomfortable and scary environment. On the flipside, Crohn’s can progress rapidly and unfairly, can I really do nothing?!
I have a tendency to underplay how I feel in these moments; I never want to burden anyone else. Jon had worked all day and is recovering from whatever new ailment the boys brought home. Going to the ER or Urgent Care would require him to deal with me when I could tell he barely wanted to handle himself. So I just took a bath and prayed the pain away. Thankfully, after throwing up, cooling off, and a dinner of crackers and water, I was able to get some sleep.
The mornings after a flair have me reeling. I want to make memories and to try and erase the horrible day(s) before. So today, in true after-flair fashion, I dressed the boys and loaded them into the car for a day of fun and fat.
We started off at my favorite donut place, cruised the town with our new shades, picked up a pizza, and headed to the park. Jon took his lunch break and met us. It was a beautiful day in the Pacific Northwest, and the boys had a lot of energy to expel. I tend to take a lot of photos on these days. I never want to remember the days laid up in bed, I want to remember the boys laughing, feel the wind on my face, and remember the smell of a fresh brewed Americano.
PS, if you are wondering about Michael…there was a roll-over accident less than a mile from my house and traffic was being turned around and rerouted. (I commute an hour each way.) I had worked all day Friday and was anxious to get home, see the boys, and put my feet up. As the car in front of me was flipping around I smiled to the driver and asked if he knew if the next community over had a way around. He smiled back and then told me to meet him at the next community, he would let me use his gate code to get through.
I don’t know a better word for community; basically, the place next door is miles of sprawling woods with houses. I live in the middle of nowhere; I’m pretty sure the directions say to go until you think you are lost and then go another 10 miles. Anyway, it took me a minute to get to the next gate, between the chaos of people being turned around and the traffic from the other direction. There stood Michael, out of his car and by the gate ready to punch in his code.
As I got close he waved and I asked if he knew the way to the back gate. He told me to go through and wait for him, he would guide me. I didn’t realize how truly selfless this act was, until I started following him. Had I tried to navigate myself, I would still be lost… in an unknown area with no cell service.
Michael, I have never met you before but I appreciate you more than words. I am grateful to not have been stuck for the two-plus hours they quoted before the road was opened back up. Your small act of kindness was a HUGE blessing for me.