One Step Forward, Two Steps back
Good Evening, Readers.
I have to admit, every time I hear this quote, the first thing I think of is: “now what?” It makes sense that when someone says they take “one step forward and two steps back,” it’s never a good sign. My goal on this blog is not to constantly discuss negative situations. I’m more interested in providing tips and tricks that I have used to divert around specific situations. Unfortunately, I find that I also experience this very circumstance often .
I have spent the last two weeks pet sitting and house sitting for a couple of wonderful women who have five cats. Perfect, right? Considering that I’m a huge cat lover. What I didn’t expect is that upon spending time in their lovely home, I would inherit another medical condition which I have never experienced before. Ocular conjunctivitis, otherwise known as eye allergies or pink eye, is a situation that causes some pretty intense burning, itching, and redness of the eyes. This came on extremely quick.
The following day, I had worn my usual contact lenses. I had no problems that day nor did I have any problems taking them out. Upon waking up the next morning in the attempt to put my contacts back in; I noticed that the contacts, as well as the solution, were causing my eye to experience pain and burning sensations. I was unaware about why this was happening or what was causing it seeing as though the day before, I had no issues.
As per the usual, being a logical thinker, I turned to doing some research. Basically, I Googled it lol. Of course, Google likes to scare people by telling them that there’s a chance they could have eye cancer, they could be going blind, or some other completely off-the-chart reason for having the symptoms. After getting my fill of Google being over-dramatic, I decided to contact my aunt who works as an ophthalmologist’s assistant.
I was rather scared about what could be wrong with my eyes and whether it would be long-lasting or temporary. Answers were needed fast. I told her my symptoms and she told me that it sounded like I had the pretty standard condition of ocular conjunctivitis probably caused by an allergic reaction to something in the house. There are three cats at my home, so I didn’t think that the five cats were the cause. However, when I got to thinking about it, I realized that my three cats are all short hair and do not give off much dander. Two out of the five cats that I was caring for have long hair and a bit of dander.
That was the only possible solution that I could think of that would have given me such a violent allergic reaction. I know of several people who have been sick with a chronic illness for many years, and each of them have told me that anytime they come down with some other illness or condition, it’s always worse off or rather violent as opposed to if they were healthy.
Stating this, it brings me back to the title of this blog post. Those of us who already have a chronic illness or disability and then acquire another complication, it’s usually worse. So, the common cold with someone who already has a chronic illness would feel like pneumonia. hence the phrase: “one step forward, two steps back.” My one step forward in this case would be working for two weeks. My two steps back would be acquiring ocular conjunctivitis in addition to my other chronic illness and traumatic brain injury while on the job.
I’m very proud of myself for being able to work for 2 weeks, however, I am now faced with a few weeks of recovery. I’m the kind of person who is unable to sleep or sleep as soundly if I am in an environment that I am unaccustomed with. Basically, I sleep best in my bed and have difficulty sleeping anywhere else. I also know that this is quite common for others to. It comes down to a change of scenery and the fact that I was out of my comfort zone and ritual. Being unable to sleep while having a traumatic brain injury is rather dangerous.
Those of us with a brain injury will understand exactly how important sleep is. Sleep is our best medicine, and without it, our symptoms are made much worse. My migraines, my mood, and especially my memory have all been affected. Therefore, my body will now need to “recharge” and unfortunately this can take up to a month depending on how long I have been without decent sleep. That would be the second step back in addition to the ocular conjunctivitis.
All of this being said, what have I learned from this experience? I have learned that my brain no longer does very well with change. It never really has but it doesn’t even more so after the injury. I also learned that I do in fact have allergies apart from certain medications that I have to be careful of being exposed to. In the future, I’ll be better prepared and I’ll have a better idea of what to do if this ever happens again. Sometimes the best way to learn is through experience whether it be good or bad.
My question for you is: what situation have you been presented with that required you to take one step forward and two steps back?