The Wednesday morning before Memorial Day Weekend I opened my eyes to everything spinning.
"No, no no!" I gasped as I covered my face with a pillow. I knew it was vertigo, or as in Portuguese, labarintite, or labarinto en Español for any language-lovers out there.
Never had I experienced vertigo, but I knew what it was, as my mother and grandmothers have had it.
And I'll never forget the day I awoke with this condition since it coincided with a holiday, and several upcoming scheduled meet and greets for dogs in our care at that moment. -As of that 'Vertigo Wednesday,' our 6 foster puppies were 8 weeks old and ready to find their forever homes! -Mommy dog was still with us of course (although she had an adopter lined up thankfully). -And I had 3 or 4 other adult dogs in foster care with awesome fosters, so I was in the process of: photographing and listing pets for adoption on Petfinder.com, talking with and screening potential adopters, scheduling meet and greets which means coordinating schedules, places, and people cohesively. -Throw in last minute cancellations and a return here and there, and it's a lot to manage.
As a longtime practitioner of holistic health, in regards to mind, body and spirit, vertigo told me my body (and life) was overwhelmed and out of balance.
That first day with the condition, when I went to get out of bed, I vomited. I couldn't walk to the restroom without assistance so my husband and son stayed home with me (we didn't 'need' my 8 year old to stay home but he wanted to, of concern for me, and this was also coincidentally the day after Uvalde school shooting, so I felt ok with him staying home!). That day, while in bed perfectly still, without moving my head, I answered calls from interested adopters, talked with them, answered emails... I felt like I had to. -I could not drop the ball, even though I would puke if I moved too much, literally. This prompted the realization that this was ludicrous.
From any negative occurrence, can (and should) be aroused something positive.
I talked with my husband, recalling all the times I had said, "I need to create SOPs for the rescue for myself to follow. I've gotta set better boundaries for myself. I have to find a way to take a full day off once a week from the rescue."
We talked about why I had started the rescue in the first place: 'PAFP initiated to encourage owners to include pets in life and death plans, and until that idea really catches on, we keep calm and rescue on!' -That's one of the rescue's catch phrases; at some point I knew I needed to append the rescue's mission statement to include the fact that: we operate like many foster-based-rescues, pulling at risk pets from full shelters... until the pets in wills aspect of the rescue takes off, and eventually keeps us busy, just with that.
The vertigo made me take a step back and recall all of this. -It made me say, "I'm not being fair to the very few 'plan clients' (3-5 individuals that have named Paw and Feather Plan as their pet's primary caregiver, with provisions, in their death documents) I do have by staying so busy that my head's literally spinning!
The pets-in-planning (much-needed) aspect-of-rescue is after all why I started this rescue, and needs to remain the rescue's primary focus.
But as my friend Angie White of KARF said, "balancing needs with limits is so hard." -And that is so true.
When I go to Animal Services to volunteer, work with dogs, play with dogs, it's impossible to not think, 'I bet I could find a foster for this one! -I know that with a little basic obedience, a nice bath and a cute bandana, we could find this dog a great home!' -These are dogs that have been abandoned. They have sat in cages for weeks or even months on end sometimes. They are innocent and deserving of someone like me to help them out. -And if I didn't feel that way when interacting with shelter pets, I'd say that I shouldn't even own and operate a 501c3 pet rescue!
So it's all about trying to find balance. -And I know I'm not alone in this pursuit of finding and maintaining balance. I'm convinced this is something all good and driven professionals work on regularly.
Let's face it, when we're passionate about what we do, it can be very easy to 'work on it' from sun up to sun down every single day!
To conclude, I'll share with you what helped me get through, and is still helping me to fully get over the vertigo. -Some of this can be applied to any stress-related and/or health condition:
-Acupuncture, I try to go to Louisville Community Acupuncture once/weekly. It helps so much with circulation and awakening deadened meridian zones.
-Sound frequencies for vertigo, I used these a lot the first few days (just do a YouTube search!)
-Focusing more intently and for longer periods on objects, again this is something I had to do those first few days
-Epley Maneuver, I had my husband YouTubing 'how to cure vertigo' 1/2 way through that first day with it. I later found out from a physical therapist friend that the Epley isn't done for many of her patients until after that initial horrific spinning has passed (as in weeks after the onset of vertigo). -But I forced myself to do it that first day, several times, and puked a lot... but I was determined to be 'functional' anew! And it did work well enough to let me walk on my own anew!
-Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Life has a dictionary of the likely mental causes for physical problems. She offers a 'new thought pattern' to accompany each condition. For dizziness, that affirmation is: I am deeply centered and peaceful in life. It is safe for me to be alive and joyous. That book is my go-to, my bible, for anything that may physically afflict me. I write the 'new thought pattern' on a postcard and keep it in view to repeat it often.
-BalanceEZ, or Guang Ci Tang, is an herbal, Chinese medicine I'm taking for the vertigo too. When the first bottle ran out, I could tell a difference, so I bought another $12 bottle! I get this from Louisville Community Acupuncture.
Lastly, just for fun (and so I'll have them written down somewhere), here are the simple draft ideas for those marvelous SOPs I need to type up, and laminate...
No more than 3 pets in our network at a time
Must wait at least a few days between fosters
Off Days, update schedule (google, etc)