“Full Speed Ahead!”

Full speed ahead

used to indicate that one should proceed with as much speed or energy as possible.

full speed ahead boats

Full Speed Ahead Racing Boats

I am a “full speed ahead” kind of gal. I do everything as fast as I can so I can do something else with the extra time I made by doing things quickly. I eat fast, I walk fast, I do tasks fast, I talk fast, and I never seem to slow down.

Until Tuesday morning, May 16 at 12:30 a.m. I woke up with a chest pain, then vomiting, then a quick ride to the Emergency Hospital, then tests, lots of tests. Finally, I arrived at Swedish Hospital, First Hill where they told me I had Pancreatitis and Pneumonia. Wow! I spent the next 4 days in the hospital with a wonderful view of the Columbia Towers and the Harbor, lots of meds and little sleep. I returned home on Friday, May 19 to sleep and heal.

This experience was quite revealing to me how much I spend my life at “full speed ahead” and very little time just accepting and enjoying things. I have had to re-learn how to eat; slowly, small amounts and chewing everything before swallowing. SLOW has become the new mantra! I take small naps and small walks to get my energy back. I have to let go of the things, places and events that I usually do at “full speed ahead.”

This new learning experience has taught me that I try too hard to get as many things done as I possibly can, so I can go on and do something else. My “new normal” is to walk slow, talk slow and take each minute as it unfolds. This would have been very difficult if I had tried this on my own, without my body forcing me to slow down. When your body tells you it is time to stop eating, it is time to stop, or else there will be pain. When your body says it is time to lay down and rest, you do it, otherwise you get dizzy or fall down. I must say that I am enjoying life a lot more because now I am seeing things that I was too busy or too quick to notice. A crow landed on the rain gutter above my bedroom window. I was in my bedroom resting on the bed and heard the bird land. I looked out the window and saw an upside-down crow’s head looking into my window! I guess he just wanted to see what was down below the gutter. It looked so funny I immediately began to laugh out loud which sent the crow flying. Little things like that, silly as they are, would have been missed by me if I had been running around at “full speed ahead.”

I do wish I had not had to learn this lesson the hard and painful way, but I am forever grateful for the lesson. Pancreatitis is a swelling of the pancreas, and in my case, the pancreas was literally consuming itself. It has been a month now and I am a lot quicker in my movements and thoughts, I can drive the car, I am not dizzy, I can do things without much effort any more. But I am committed to living a slower life, enjoying each day as it unfolds and not pushing any more to live at “full speed ahead.”

slow moving penguins

Slow Moving Penguins