Episode 90: How Meditation Prepared Me For an Unexpected Hospital StayMar 20, 2023
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If you don't follow me on Instagram or perhaps just missed it, you may not know that I spent almost five days in the hospital at the end of February. It was completely unexpected. One Friday morning I was teaching my Removing Roadblocks weekly class and towards the end of class I started to feel some cramping in my stomach. I didn’t think much of it and after class was over I went to take some ibuprofen. Within an hour I was in ten out of tne pain and was begging my husband to come home from work to take me to the emergency room. I had never been in that much pain in my life and I have given birth unmedicated.
As soon as I walked into the emergency room one of my friends knew instantly what it was and rushed me in to lay down. Even before the Dr. arrived at the hospital, she had him order pain meds and a CT scan. Very quickly we found out that I had a kidney stone that was completely blocking my ureter.
I kept telling them it felt like my kidney stone was going to explode. Now if you don’t know, I live in a tiny town of around three thousand people and so this hospital can only do so much for me. They kept telling me that if it doesn’t move they will have to fly me out to a urologist and have emergency surgery.
In the meantime, they are pumping me full of every pain medications they can and I began having massive irregular heartbeats. I would go from 50 to 100 beats per minute within seconds and my heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest. Eventually I was able to throw up enough times that I dislodged the kidney stone and I felt immediate relief. Luckily they let me go home that night.
On Sunday I started having a really high fever, body aches and a massive headache. I knew an infection had set in so I went back to the emergency room for some meds. After a round of IV antibiotics they sent me home even though my fever had actually increased and my oxygen was dropping rapidly. They kept saying it was a broken machine.
I was only home a few hours before the fever was just too much to handle and the tylenol I was taking wasn’t helping. This time when I went back they admitted me. I had severe dehydration, an infection and a fever that wouldn’t break. I had that fever for the next 3 days.
I was in unbearable pain and the only med that worked lasted 3 hours then I had to wait 6 to take more to get the fever down. After 4 days they had pumped me full of 7 liters of fluid with minimal water coming back out. This led to me having water on my lungs and had to be put on oxygen.
Along with that the pain meds caused other issues, but I won’t gross you out with those. The antibiotics had also caused thrush in my mouth so I had burning sores that made it hard to eat. After 4 days they let me go home on oxygen and to hopefully start releasing some of this water. It took a few days but I was able to get off the oxygen and start to regain my strength.
When I had a chance to look back and really reflect on the whole situation I realized that there were a few things that really helped me to make it through the four day stay in the hospital. These were things I had actually been working on prior to going to the hospital. They were things that my brain and body just started doing because I was practicing them so much. I didn’t have to think about it.
1. Sit in Stillness
Prior to going to the hospital, I had been putting together my Meditation Course which required me to practice my meditations frequently. I also sit in stillness every morning pondering my prayers when I use my Prayer Journal. This has been something that I have done for years.
When I was in the hospital, I had such a bad headache I couldn’t even listen to much or watch anything because it hurt so bad. So I sat in silence and stillness a lot. And I have to tell you, it was not so bad and actually brought a lot of peace and perspective to a situation that could have created a lot of stress and anxiety. President Nelson has said,
“Quiet time is sacred time—time that will facilitate personal revelation and instill peace.”
I truly felt that peace as I was able to sit in stillness and quiet without going stir crazy for four days. Now this is a practice you can’t just say you want to do and sit in silence and stillness for a long period of time. Working your way up to longer amounts of time will help you feel more successful and not want to throw in the towel. President Nelson has really encouraged us to work on this skill of stillness when he also said,
“Commotion in the world will continue to increase. In contrast, the voice of the Lord is not “a voice of a great tumultuous noise, but … it [is] a still voice of perfect mildness, [like] a whisper, and it [pierces] even to the very soul.” In order to hear this still voice, you too must be still!”
This is the reason I have been practicing stillness so much prior to this hospital stay is because daily revelation is so important to me. When I don’t get the chance to have stillness in my life, I truly miss it. I can testify that the work that I have put in learning to sit in stillness and silence has helped me to know where my time is best spent, how to help others and receive the energy from Christ’s enabling power to accomplish all that God wants me to accomplish.
2. Resistance Breathing
Resistance breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous system by creating coherent heart rhythms. When you don’t have coherent heart rhythms, the sympathetic nervous system switches on the survival brain and gets your heart racing, anxiety going and the brain ruminating on the dangers so you can escape. Which is really helpful if you truly are in danger.
However, in this situation at the hospital the doctors did not need me in this state. They needed me in a more calm state where my heart rhythms were stable, my brain was not thinking of worst case scenarios and my anxiety was not pumping pain meds out of my system too fast.
When I was able to use the resistance breathing technique I accessed improved perceptiveness, problem solving and decision making. I was able to clearly communicate to the doctors, understand what was happening and clearly see the next steps that needed to happen.
Along with that, having the sympathetic nervous system going is what makes your brain store fear memories and avoid situations like that in the future. Staying out of this sympathetic nervous system allowed me to not store these memories from the hospital as traumatic memories and just as memories. This will help me be able to move forward easier when I recover so that I am not stuck in trauma memories. As I was using this type of resistance breathing in the hospital I could feel the peace wash over me, the clarity of the situation appeared and the ability to know what I needed to do next came into focus.
3. Specific Meditation Prompts
Using specific mediation prompts I could access in the moment to reconnect me with my true divine self and receive the revelation I needed for that moment. In my Meditation Course, I have created specific prompts for each meditation that you can recall in the moment to access the revelation you need for that moment.
Since I had just finished recording and started to work on listening to all of them to recall in the moment, I had these prompts come to my mind without thinking about them. It was amazing how each time I was doing my resistance breathing in the moment while sitting in stillness these prompts would come clearly to my mind.
They were exactly what I needed to hear and allowed me to hear the still small voice in that moment. Keep in mind, these aren’t just mantras. These are specific prompts that bring back to your remembrance the entire state of the meditation you were in previously. I didn’t have to listen to the twenty minute meditation to recall the feeling and connection it created. I could start my breathing and recall a prompt and be right back in that connected meditative state that I had before.
I am really grateful for all three of these skills stillness, resistance breathing and meditation prompts that God helped me develop and prepare with before my hospital stay. If you are interested in learning these skills too, I am going to be releasing my Clarity in the Chaos Course next week to anyone on the waitlist. You will learn a variety of 20 different revelation meditations to connect to a power beyond your own.
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