Day 6: Fat Cows, Camels and Compliments

On Wednesday night I was at church volunteering to watch some kids when I started feeling unwell. More accurately, I started feeling worse. I have not been feeling great for over a year now, and the past couple of weeks have been particularly rough. By Wednesday, I was feeling weak and dizzy. As Jonathan mentioned in the public flogging over my poor hydration habits, I assumed that I might just be dehydrated. I began feeling a little faint, so I sat down until I felt okay to drive home. I only live five minutes from church, but still, I had my three youngest kiddos with me so I didn’t want to risk anything.

I drove home from church, went in the front door and that’s really all I remember. At some point I passed out near my front door and the kids found me there on the floor a short while after. I do not know how long I was out for. The kids were incredible and able to figure out how to use Siri to get help. I was pretty proud. I woke up to London, my 8-year-old , saying “I’m going to get Scout (our puppy), it’s the only thing that will work!” It was so sad. And also adorable. Because to a little girl, there is no problem that an adorable puppy cannot solve.


I decided to go into the Emergency Room just to be safe. Long story short, I was admitted to the observation unit - lots and lots of tests were run, heart rates and blood sugar were erratic, weight has been lost, heads have been aching and the short answer is… we don’t know. There are still some test results we are waiting on, but for the most part they have ruled out anything too sinister. It sounds like they are leaning toward this being some sort of malabsorption issue from something like Celiac or Crohn’s.  A compromised ability to absorb nutrients would definitely explain why my legs are the size and shape of golf tees. So, this seems reasonable to me. Still, more tests are required to confirm.

In the meantime, I was sent home from the hospital yesterday afternoon with a heart monitor to definitively rule out cardiac issues. I am not allowed to work or drive until I am cleared by a doctor. They did say I can still do laundry, so… awesome.

I have been really overwhelmed by those of you who have reached out for updates and well-wishes. I appreciate it so much. I don’t think I have ever spent so much time on my phone before, so we can add carpal tunnel to my list of possible diagnoses. In all seriousness though I was amazed to sit back and watch #AdamsActs just explode before my eyes, knowing that it literally had nothing to do with me. You guys, are amazing.

I have been trying very hard not to get down on myself or feel like I’ve let ya down. Seeing everything you guys are doing to spread kindness, positivity and love has been such an encouragement to me that it has helped keep me in good spirits. I thought about doubling up acts of kindness to catch up, but I am releasing myself from that because I am wearing a heart monitor as we speak and I don’t need that kinda pressure.

For Day 6, I will tell you the highlight reel of my stay in the hospital. I had planned to extend kindness during my stay… but oh boysies. Here’s how it went down. I was put in a “room” with a curtain separating me from an older, unstable gentleman who burned his feet up from walking too much. It was actually quite sad, but also he kept swearing at me and accusing me of stealing his sunglasses, so I feel like it’s ok for me to get a good story out of the abuse, if nothing else.

I knew it was going to be a long night when he got started on the Communists and the Russians. I have to admit, I didn’t see all the smoking coming though. Yep. That’s right. This man perpetually yelled “Nurse! Nurse! I gotta go number two!” As it turns out, “Number Two” is very much code for “Smoking in the Hospital Bathroom.” Every time he came back in the room the nurse would yell at him and apologize to me… and eventually I got my very own bottle of air freshener!


Once the nurses put a stop to Operation Numero Dos, he very boldly lit those Camel Straights right there in the room. The security guards were not thrilled. They wrestled the cigs away from this guy, and I was definitely to blame… seeing as I was “the fat cow who stole his best sunglasses.”

Not only was I a fat cow, I was a number of other filthy names that have become memories I’d prefer to treasure privately. My favorite name, however I will share with you. Every time he demanded that I - a patient hooked up to an IV and all the monitors - get up and get him some Tylenol he would call me Hunny Bunny. When I told him that I was unable to provide any medicine at this time, he would scream at me and call me Nurse Ratchet. I have a bit of video of this as evidence that I am not being dramatic, but I cannot include it because, ya know HIPPA or whatever.

So, that was night number one in the hospital. Super restful. No wonder my heart rate was going bananas! What were its options!? The second night was not much better because the observation unit just means that all of us fat cows are appropriately placed in curtained stalls. We are strategically situated to ensure that every time someone moans or talks about their bile, we can all weigh in.

I promise though, I was doing my absolute best to extend kindness whenever possible. I spent hours patiently talking with Mr.Russia. I told him politely that I preferred “cow” to the other c-word he was throwing around. I listened to him talk about literally every thought he had, as he had it. And I didn’t once lose my temper. Or sleep.

I was also intentional about trying to be as kind a patient as possible. Of course, I always strive to be polite and kind, but when you are bed-ridden and the only opportunity to extend kindness is toward the people taking care of you… ya run short on ideas. It did give me the chance to live out one of my life mottos which is to never just think a compliment, say it instead.

So, that is what I did. I liked this nurse’s glasses, and I appreciated that nurse’s sense of humor. I found something attractive or admirable or pleasant about every single person I came in contact with. Let me tell you, it helped. For them, I think it is encouraging to be appreciated or recognized in any small way while working in such a hectic environment. And it helped me. I felt uplifted every time I was able to make someone else feel good.

I think my brother would have liked Russia. He would have sat with him a while, got to know him. He would have had a good laugh at his shenanigans, and he would have had compassion. So, while the past few days probably won’t make it onto my top ten list of best ever weeks… I appreciated the opportunity to live out some deeply held values: to listen to lonely people, to see and appreciate people, to be generous with encouragement, to love the people that the world says are “unlovable” and to laugh at inappropriate things.