Dealing with stress – the AG way

It’s amazing how quickly your life can be turned upside down. Last Sunday (14th) I’d just finished teaching for the night when I got a call from my girlfriend’s phone, except instead of being her it was her sister. “Jo is in hospital, but don’t worry she’s ok.” Can any words lead to greater worry? It transpired that Jo had been rushed into hospital with severe stomach pains and was waiting for a doctor to see her. I was told not to panic (I never do) and wait to see what happened.

After about an hour I’d had enough and said I was going up to the hospital. I found Jo and her sister, Louise, in one of the treatment rooms at A & E. Jo had been there since 6pm and it was now 10pm. She’d been given pethidine and kept an eye on, but without blood gushing in all directions or obvious distress it seems you get shoved down the queue. Not long after I arrived a procession of people came to prod and examine her until she was deemed ill enough to be taken to a ward. She was given more painkillers and drifted off to sleep about 1am. I got home about 2am after taking Louise back home.

Monday dawned and I went up to see Jo around 1pm. She had more tests to go through, but nobody seemed to be able to find out what was wrong with her. By the time I went back to visit her at 7.30pm it was still the same. The only thing that had happened was she was feeling better, but it was difficult to tell if it was through the drugs or just by resting. Seeing someone you love look so ill and not being able to do anything about it is a horrible feeling; at times like this all you can do is ask questions and support the sick person. On Tuesday she was perking up a bit, but the news coming from the doctors wasn’t good. One said that the surgeons would be visiting and that there appeared to be an obstruction in the colon. This was the worst time, not knowing if major surgery was going to be required. I had to go back late that night because of work commitments and was there when the surgeons arrived. It transpired that there was no obstruction and that no surgery was required; this was a massive relief. By now Jo had also been moved into a private room.

Wednesday came and when I saw her in the early afternoon she was looking 100% better. Jo was released on Wednesday evening with a slip of paper to go to a clinic on a regular basis to monitor her health and some drugs for the nagging pain which still existed. After three days of excellent care from the staff of Kettering General Hospital no amount of tests or expert opinion could find what was wrong with her. Seems pretty amazing to me.

With Jo home I could relax a little and review how I was feeling. Throughout I hadn’t missed an appointment, lesson or workout, but had been living on a lot of nervous energy. On the Tuesday morning I had stepped in to do a talk at 4Networking Northampton, but realised whilst doing it that my feelings for Jo were wrapped up in it and it left me drained by the time the meeting had finished. This morning (Saturday) I realised just how much the week had taken out of me and I slept ten hours last night. Almost unheard of for me. The reason for sharing all of this is that the way I deal with stress is to acknowledge a problem and leave the experts to do what they do best and not worry about the things I can’t change ie Jo’s pain or the research to find the problem. What I can do is know how to cope. For me it was about keeping the serotonin levels high through exercise and being active. When it came time to rest (and I had 3 early morning rises this week too) then let the body have what it needs and accept it.

I’m now looking forward to another busy week, but this time, hopefully, without any additional stresses to deplete me. I hope you also have a stress free week filled with small and large achievements, see you next time.

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