#ASHA12: The Aftermath

I had planned on writing some follow-up posts upon my arrival back home from Atlanta following the amazing experience that was the ASHA Convention (or, as it is known on twitter, #ASHA12).

Those plans were interrupted in part by a busy day following my arrival that consisted entirely of chores around the house and errands around town, and then hampered further when, sometime around 4:00am Monday morning, I awoke with a start and was greeted with the realization that I was violently ill.

I spent a large chunk of my day alternately marveling at the relativity of time and wondering just how long I might actually remain alive. I could barely drink water, though I tried to force myself to drink it both in cold and hot fashion (hot with honey and lemon). When I tried to eat a cracker mid-day, my body just cackled at me and informed me, roughly ten minutes later, that that was a very bad idea. The whole day yesterday, I managed to tolerate half a cup of chicken soup, some water, and some 7UP.

I was eventually able to find sleep, and despite periodic moments when I would wake up, I slept for a grand total of over 15 hours. I took this to mean my body was dying for rest, and heeded the call and took a second sick day.

Fortunately, I am now very much on the mend. As such, I'm thinking more clearly now, and have been able to put these events into some sort of perspective.

Since I work in acute care, I deal with very sick patients. I would venture to say that at my patients are all a great deal sicker than I have been for the past two days. Yesterday, when my bug was at its absolute worst, I found I couldn't focus on much other than just how awful I felt. I wanted to sleep, I wanted to breathe, I wanted for the horrible feelings to just hurry up and pass.

The lesson I'm taking away here is to, above all, maintain empathy for all of my patients, who are quite often at their absolute worst. It also reminds me just how much our cognition can be impacted by any type of illness, and that even the physical act of speaking can be difficult when one is that sick.

These are all things I like to think I keep in mind all the time, but being reminded of the reality of what it feels like is jarring. Here's to keeping these reminders few and far between, and maintaining high quality patient care always.