Based on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, Sparkles and Dirt is a blog by Louise Brunet. Her posts explore the beauty and the struggles we all encounter and how we can, just maybe, show up for all of it with compassion and grace.

This precious life, a not so good day

This precious life, a not so good day

People say FB and social media are only for the good things that happen to us and to make us look good. “Look my life is one big party and adventure. I’m so cool and everything is so amazing!”

And so. Here's some not so good to keep it real. I woke up Tuesday morning with some vertigo, not bad, but I was dizzy. I was focused on getting ready and out the door on time to catch the 7:30am ferry to Victoria, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. Figured I’d sleep on the ferry.  As I boarded they were talking about big swells and handing out motion sickness meds. Feeling already lousy I decided to take the meds. Did not think anything of it at all!! Wow, big mistake.

I had a reaction to the meds that increased over the next few hours and had me completely incapacitated. Could not move or open my eyes without the consequence being throwing up and agony. Massive migraine type headache. I spent the whole day like that. Mostly lying on my right side, eyes closed, in a ball wrapped around a bowl. I had to crawl to the bathroom while leaning against the wall and get Alex's help. Of course I threw up in the process. I had the same reaction to meds I was given post op last November. At the time I thought I would never feel that way again. Avoid Dilaudid and anything related and I would be ok.

It's a very strange experience to not have the use of vision all day, to hear people talking about you in the next room in hushed tones, to rely 100% on the love and kindness of other people. To fear movement, any movement, even ever so slightly adjusting my head on the pillow. For me, a person who thrives on feeling strong and agile and being able to move freely and quickly - this is especially difficult and foreign. How quickly can everything change? In a heartbeat. Literally.

The consequence of just opening my eyes for a second or two, a simple enough thing to do, involved a shocking spike in head pain and nausea. I have a solid pain threshold. I can take a lot and keep going, but not that day.

Every night before I go to sleep I go through my ‘gratefuls’ for the day. No matter how the day went. I'm almost always surprised at how many things I come up with. On Tuesday it went like like this:

1. Grateful to be alive. Breathing. Feeling a deeper appreciation for the precious gift of health and life.

2. Grateful for the angels who came to my rescue – Elaine, Cathy, Denise, and Natalie, very special energy healers; to my son Alex who was a trouper all day and night, I could not have made it through the day without him; and to Allison who cancelled meetings and flew to Victoria to help me. Wow.

3. Grateful for my buddy, constant companion, and teacher, my dog Nala who paced near me or lay next to my bed all day. And who also escorted me down the hall as I crawled to the bathroom.

4. Grateful for the blessings in my life in general and for the opportunity to recognize how precious it all is.

Today is day 3. Reaction to medication is over, vertigo remains. My big accomplishment this morning was making myself oatmeal. Slowly. Holding onto things and not moving my eyes or head much.

The perspective shift that happens in a case like this is fascinating. I’m trying to figure out how I can get my dog downstairs and out for a pee today. Normally I walk down 5 flights of stairs and run outside, run 5km to 8km, hop along the rocks on the shore, run stair repeats without thinking about it.

Today my plan involves walking a route in the hallway and lobby that allows me to hold onto something and then sitting on the floor in the elevator. Maybe sitting on the front lawn for 5 minutes and then repeating that back up to my apartment.

Life is precious. So very very precious and our hold on it is such an illusion. I’m not waiting anymore or pretending anymore. The past two years of my life have involved huge changes that were immensely difficult. I pulled myself apart, stripped off all that wasn’t me, left a good comfortable life, but one that wasn’t mine anymore. I risked and intensely received the anger and resentment of those closest to me, of those I love beyond life itself. I’m still working on healing my heart, but my soul knows where it’s going.

No more changing myself or making myself small to please others. No more waiting to be all of me. If you don’t like who and what I am, if I make you uncomfortable in any way, that’s your path not mine. I’m showing up for life. I’m showing up for all that the universe wants to give me. I’m saying yes, I’m bringing light and love, I’m expanding, yes yes I’m here.

Just as soon as the room stops spinning, there will be no stopping me.

Talking with Animals and Trees

Talking with Animals and Trees

Rinse and Repeat

Rinse and Repeat