Autoimmune Disease Support Group

Our  Mascots are Marlie and Wilson!  

Can Ignoring Your Intuition Make You Worse?

I believe every person is born into this world with intuition.  As your intuition proves itself to be correct, you are more likely to rely on it.  This can be a crucial element in living with an autoimmune disease or chronic illness.  When your inner voice is telling you to do (or not do) something, what happens when you don't listen to it?  You can really be putting your health at risk.

Example, my husband has just undergone a total knee replacement.  I did my homework and spoke to several people who have had this procedure.  Everyone I spoke to urged me to have my husband placed inpatient to do his rehabilitation.  I made sure to be present at the pre-op meeting with my husband and his surgeon so that I could have the doctor hear my concerns.  (Of course my husband was on the same page as myself).  I explained in a few short sentences (surgeon's prefer you to speak in one sentence only) how I have an autoimmune disease and that caring for him at home post operative was going to be very difficult for me.

Once the operation was completed, I stayed by my husband's side until very late that night.  I went home to get some much needed rest but missed the morning rounds with the doctor.  Based on my husband's age, (and perhaps even the fact that I don't "look sick"... the surgeon told my husband that "rehab is like a nursing home!  You don't want to be in there do you? You want to go home right?"

The more I thought about it, the more I had to agree "true, I wouldn't want to go there either, I'd want to come home and recover in my own home, in my own bed."

Somehow, that initial inner voice that was quite certain that caring for a post-op patient at home was going to be too much for me to handle got shoved aside.  I found myself nodding in agreement and saying "uh huh" to the plan of care.  And on the 3rd evening after the surgery, I found myself becoming a nurse for my husband for every waking moment of the next few days.

I quickly went from being loving and kind and compassionate to frazzled and short on patience.  I started dropping everything I touched (which would touch off a tirade of obscenities that I am not proud of).  I accidentally left the flame too high while I was cooking chili and almost burned it, I was so fatigued I couldn't think straight or remember more than one thing at a time (OK, so you all know what that is like!).  I began to ache down to my bones.  My eyes were burning.  My rash was starting to pop out.

But my husband was no ordinary patient...  in my defense, my wonderful husband, who I love very much, (and is so good to me when I need care) is hyperactive.  He acts first and then asks for help.  Let's just say I was in constant motion from the time I woke up til the time I went to sleep.  A few times I was so exhausted and frustrated I went into my closet and cried.  I also owe an apology to a certain kitchen chair for actions unbecoming of a lady.

My intuition was correct.  I could not handle this level of care for him, for that many hours each day.  I was loosing it!  So why did I allow that surgeon, who knows nothing about my situation at home (nor was he remotely interested in the story) make this call?  I have no idea.  But no one could have predicted just how hard it was going to get.

My husband's level of pain never relented.  It actually seemed to get worse.  The night we got home I thought "OK, he's in so much pain from the long drive home.  Once he sleeps a night in his own bed, without people waking him every hour for something, he will feel better and have less pain", but no, Friday was just as bad, Saturday was still just as bad, Sunday I thought the skin color to his lower leg was different, but it was hard to decide with the horrific bruising from his upper thigh all the way into his groin, and around the knee, then again his ankle all the way to his toes, black and blue and purple...  Monday, when he refused to walk on it for physical therapy I knew something was up.  The PT lady and I looked at it together.  The color was definitely off.  Redder than Sunday, and it was very warm to the touch.  I grabbed the thermometer and checked his temperature with her by my side.  Sure enough he had spiked a fever.  She called the doctor and he said to bring him to the ER for evaluation of infection and to rule out a blood clot. 

No wonder this was so hard on me!  The poor guy had to be readmitted to the hospital for IV antibiotics! 

If I had listened to my intuition he would have had medical staff looking at it around the clock.  Perhaps we found the change in about the same way they would have found it in an inpatient rehab facility, however, I can't stop wondering why I just caved in!  Why did I just go along with what other people were telling was going to be "OK" for me to handle?

Of course with this next discharge I have the opportunity to do things differently and to make sure my wishes are considered and that my opinion is taken into consideration.  However, I felt this important to share with you all so that when your own intuition is telling you that a situation is too much for you, or a certain person is not emotionally healthy for you, or whatever your gut is trying to say...  listen to it!  I think originally intuition was a sense that was there to alert us to possible danger from predators...  these days predators come in different forms.  They are not bears or lions, they are situations and toxic people!

Our health is too important to be on the sidelines letting someone else call the shots! Listen to your intuition and let it guide you to keeping your health on the right course.

warm regards,