Beauty on the Bad Days: What forced stillness allows us to see

For three days and nights last week, the hospital was my home.



I'd been dealing with severe bloating and fluid retention, a consequence of my heart condition, and had met with my cardiologist about it. He gave me a "super-diuretic" to quickly get rid of the extra fluids.

However, my body responded a little too well, causing a five percent weight loss in two days. This dramatic change caused my sodium levels to plummet, leaving me dizzy, unable to concentrate, and literally seeing stars. 

Off to the emergency room I went.

Apparently, the body's relationship between fluids and sodium is a delicate balance. Treatment that is too much or too fast can have serious effects, so I was admitted for careful restoration of this system and constant monitoring.

As my body tried to regulate itself, my heart rate and blood pressure were affected. One day I had a pulse of 45 in the morning and then 158 in the afternoon. Both extremes made me feel sick, lightheaded, and weak.

Ashley, my nurse that day, said, "We want you on bed rest. You need to limit your activities and your visitors for a while."

This made sense intellectually, but let me be clear. I was already in bed twenty-four hours a day. My "activities" consisted of eating, watching TV, and reading a book on my iPad.

What was left for me to do during this forced period of stillness?

I reclined in bed and took some deep breaths. I'm grateful I can breathe on my own.

I gazed at the vase of roses in my window, a gift from my sister, and marveled at the bright orange and purple colors. I'm grateful my family is close, both geographically and emotionally, so they can visit me.



I closed my eyes and rested. I'm grateful that I can take a nap in the middle of the day.

I read a paragraph of my book (I couldn't resist!) then mentally reviewed the details of the plot I'd read so far. I'm grateful that I can still read and comprehend stories.

I found beauty in gratitude.

As my blood levels improved, I was able to slowly add activities back into my days, however, my intuition said that I still needed to take it easy. Just as my body required a reset, so did my calendar. 

I am resolved to respect that inner guidance as I move forward, relentlessly looking for beauty along the way.

What areas of your life need stillness?

What kinds of beauty can be found in the quiet hours?


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Some Doorways from this week:

  • After visiting me in the hospital, my 4-year-old nephew, Arek, wanted to make a special video for me. In it, he said, "I love you all day long! I pray that you feel better all day long! " His genuine sweetness was like a precious gem.

  • My sister sent me a beautiful picture while I was in the hospital, taken on her drive home. It filled me with warmth and gratitude.

  • A few days after arriving home, I received several texts from family and friends checking in on my health. It was beautiful to feel loved and cared for.

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