The harsh truth for anyone, but especially someone self-employed, is that the last thing you want is to do is spend most of a month in a hospital ward. Welcome to my August.
Three days before graduation at Kids Yoga Teacher Summer Certification in Burlington, my father got admitted to Ajax General Hospital. As it happens, our new trainer Marcia was teaching the next morning. So began the first of numerous trips to see my dad that month. Fortunately potent antibiotics zapped his infection, and my dad was released feeling better than he had in months.
Afterwards I squeezed a week of holidays into 4 nights then got back to my folks, follow-up appointments, doing laundry, moving my niece into residence, and finally home.
When I decided to treat myself to some vegan coconut brownies it did not end up being the delight I was longing for. Within an hour I had excruciating stomach pains. I’ve had stomach aches before that always went away, but after a fitful night without much sleep, the pain persisted and I called my doctor who told me to go straight to the Emergency Room.
You know you’re in trouble when the nurse says, “It’s really good that you came in. I’ve been working in Emerg for eight years and I’ve never seen test results that far off normal.”
All the tests confirmed I had gall stones. “Once the infection goes down, we recommend removal of the gallbladder,” the doctors suggested. Without much time to think, I agreed and was eventually wheeled to a room with 3 other suffering souls dealing with their own health events, waiting for healing.
Waiting is difficult at the best of times, but waiting with other injured people, in a dark curtained room, was for me, a test of my spiritual practice.
I immediately leaned on my skills, especially the Mindfulness practice I had been immersed in while preparing to do my video for Mindfulness Month (October 2017).
May the moaning woman find peace.
May the man who leaves his TV on 24 hours find happiness.
May I find my own health and happiness.
By day three I was off painkillers. My saline IV dripped, and I fasted every day waiting, lowest on the priority scale, for surgery.
On the fifth morning I began considering checking myself out. My new neighbor was an aggressive young man who bossed the nurses around and yelled at his girlfriend.
My silent mantra was changing to:
May the new guy find peace and love, in another room.
May I kindly get the heck out of here!
I missed home, my uplifting community, being able to focus on what I cared about. So I think the whole floor heard me and my visitors cheer when we were told I would have surgery at 6 pm and probably be home by 10 pm that night.
It’s been three weeks since the surgery and recovery is going well, I’m about 80% back to normal, 100% back to work, being conscious not to go 150% back to work.
For everyone, unplanned time away due to medical emergencies or family responsibilities is difficult, they shine a light on the harsh realities of running your own business.
Here’s some of the things I started to think more deeply about after the hospital:
Harsh Reality – Cover Yourself as Part of Business
I am grateful for the free health coverage in Canada (OHIP), the total cost for my gallbladder removal was $17 for a prescription after I was released. Such an event could seriously ruin the financial well-being of a yoga teacher who has no medical coverage. Five days in the ward room and so much time off did get me thinking, what if I had something more serious and I couldn’t work for months instead of weeks? I’m now considering various plans for extra health coverage.
Harsh Reality – Sometimes Yoga Teachers Neglect their Own Health
On the one hand yoga teachers have a wonderful practice to get them through tough times like being in the hospital for 5 days. But I’m not the first, and won’t be the last yoga teacher who has neglected checking their own health thinking they can eat, breathe, think, or stretch their way out of the problem.
Few people like going to the doctor, but if I had listened to the advice I give my students and used all resources, including western medicine, I would have got the stomach pains checked out before they became an emergency. I’d have seen fewer doctors in the process too.
Is there anything you should get checked out by a Doctor? May this be your nudge to do it.
Harsh Reality for Business – You Can’t Do it Alone
The timing of these events was such that I didn’t have to cancel any courses. This was the first time this type of thing has happened to me in my 20 years of business. However my harsh month of August leaves me wanting to have my business set up so I can care for my parents, elders, and myself when needed.
So now, more than ever before, I will be on the lookout for new trainers and new admin support to create a team. Most of my successful collaborations have been with grads who are teaching kids’ yoga and making an effort to stay in touch. I’ve a new appreciation for our current trainers in the USA and Ontario.
Any grads who are teaching kids’ yoga and considering getting into training, now is a good time to connect with me to let me know!
This also means me learning the skills to lead a business instead of doing it all myself, something I’m very curious about.
Harsh Reality – Life is Fragile
Gallbladder surgery is fairly common these days, yet if left unchecked it could have caused serious problems. I am so very grateful for the nurses, doctors, and hospital equipment that brought me back to health and of course for the support of my husband, family, and friends.
Seeing all the suffering so many people are experiencing around the world and my own experience of going under the knife, I’m reminded of the fragility of life. No one is going to live forever and I’m glad I have more time to follow my dreams because one never knows when their time will run out.
I plan to use my time wisely.