Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Too much time with my thoughts...

I have a mild case of strep throat.

(So, I don't know if you can have a mild case, but since Doc said the quick test showed a faint positive, I'm still functioning at about 65-70% of normal, and no longer running a fever, I'm calling it mild.)

Mild or not, when you have strep in my line of work you're off line for a day or two. Period.

(Especially when you contract for a hospital and they have rules about these kind of things.)

And since today was morning 4 waking up to a raw throat, I've already been off line for the 3 days prior to today because I WAS running a fever.

(Even though I was only scheduled to teach on one of those 3 days. And that day I still taught 2 of my 4 classes because at that point I thought what I had was the same thing as everyone else in my house had had which went through their systems in about 48 hours. The thought of strep hadn't even crossed my mind at that point.)

What all this laying around rest creates though is a chance for TOO MUCH TIME WITH MY THOUGHTS!

It starts like this: I start to feel icky. I don't think anything about it because it's germ season here in the Midwest and I have two little germ magnets (aka - kids) and well, sometimes your body just can't fight off everything. Then my expected 1-2 days of feeling icky turns into 3, then 4, and so on and so forth. I finally admit that I need subs for my classes which translates into a smaller paycheck the following month because if I don't teach, I don't get paid. So I start to stress about stretching our already tight budget a little further. Along the way my loving friends and family, who honestly mean well, start to make innocent comments like "You have been teaching a lot of classes lately." "Your body probably just needs some time off to recover." I poo-poo their comments not because I don't appreciate them, and not because I don't think they are valid, but because they feed one of my biggest fears...

That in my search to bring more balance and more joy to my life pursuing a career in a field for which I am passionate while allowing me more time to be available for my family, I've gone to the extreme to the point that I'm compromising my health in an effort to make it all work financially. That instead of bringing more balance to my life, I've simply tipped the scales heavy from one side to the other. That I'm putting my family at risk by being financially dependent on my ability to stay healthy and injury free. That instead of being more available to them, the quality of our time together is actually lessened because of the mental and physical fatigue I often feel when I'm at full teaching capacity. Fatigue that brings me to seek out solitude because my personality requires time alone to fully feel rejuvenated...the complete opposite result of being MORE available to those around me.

It's true, I have been sick more the past 2 winters than I have for many, many years before. I've had illnesses I haven't had for over a decade (or two) creep into my chart...sinus infections, strep throat, and while it's not official, should I have gone in earlier this fall I wouldn't have been surprised if I would have been told my 7-8 week respiratory infection was some form of bronchitis. I know my body, and I know it's not normal for me to be sick this much. I know my body well enough to know something is out of balance.

It's days like today when I've had a little bit more time to think all this through than normal that I start to question and I start to panic a little bit. Change is not an easy thing for me, so the thought of choosing to create change is scary. Especially with all the instability that seems to be going on in the world these days. But I look at the facts of our current life and I know in my heart somethings need to change. I need to find a better balance professionally. I think it's clear my body is trying to send me that message. We as a family need to figure out how to make our lives work in a way that lets us live closer to Scott's work because his current daily commute is hard on all of us. I don't know if we would realize the strain had we not had the short taste of what it was like to have him working here in our home town for a short bit, only to return to his 120 mile round trip commute 18 months later. And if we are EVER going to find some peace in life, we've GOT to figure out financial balance in amongst all these other things. A thorn in our side which we just can't seem to figure out how to remove!

That's what it boils down to.

Today while my body has still been too tired to be active, my brain has not. I much prefer the feeling at the end of the day from physcial fatigue. This mental processing is exhausting in a much more unsettling way.


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