My Vertigo Village: Asking for help when you need it

Two weeks ago, I woke up on a Friday morning and my world was spinning out of control.

I’m not talking metaphorically about the constant stream of bad-news headlines that continue to come rapid fire like a cataclysmic waterfall. I’m talking about actual vertigo — a constant dizziness I’ve never experienced before. Mine was so bad that my partner insisted on taking me to the ER immediately. After 12 long hours, blood work, two bags of IV saline, a clear CAT scan, and a normal MRI, I was sent home — still very dizzy but at least able to walk with my husband’s help and no longer vomiting when I stood up. No one could tell me why this was happening, but everyone told me it was going to be a long wait till I was back to normal. 

As a lactation consultant who does home visits, this threw a huge wrench into my life. I was only three weeks into my new solo private practice, and I could barely stand without hanging onto walls those first few days. Thankfully I was able to push back some follow-ups and check in with clients by phone and messaging. 

But I was stuck. I’m a busy working mom of two elementary age kids. I’ve got PTA volunteer obligations and library books that need returning. Plus new babies are always being born and always needing help breastfeeding. After a few days of TV binging on the couch, I was itching to get out, but completely unable to drive. 

So I had to call on my village. Actually, they called on me. Friends and family texted, “Where can I take you?” and “What do you need?” My parents drove me to a few home visits and to Target for toilet paper. My friends Jackie and Shauna helped with pickups from school and more home visits, Kevin took me to my weekly support group, and sweet Kelly accompanied me to multiple ENT visits and sat through various tests. 

I was so very grateful for their support. And also not afraid to say, “Do you think you could help me again tomorrow, too?” That is often the HARDEST thing for us to do when we’re in need — ask for help. We’re happy to be a hero or lend a hand to others in need, but asking for assistance can feel like admitting weakness or flying a flag of surrender. We want the world (and our social media contacts) to think we’ve got it all together. But accepting help when you need is really just karmic payback for kindnesses you’ve bestowed to others in the past.  

Our family has faced some big challenges in the past year, with my older son needing three big surgeries on his leg. I was hesitant to ask for help at first, too. But accepting visits, food, and jigsaw puzzle gifts from our loved ones made us feel so loved and supported. And it made us want to offer the same to others. Sometimes it’s our season to give, do, help, donate, and support. But sometimes it’s our turn to receive. So by all means, ask when you need it. Your turn to help will come around again soon.

Thankfully, I’m finally back to myself. I drove for the first time in weeks and it felt great. Today, I’m grateful for my vertigo village who kept me afloat. And for life forcing me to take a pause. That break introduced Jerry and Netflix’s Cheer into my life. I will now joyfully “mat talk” every baby I meet… “Yas gurl! You got this laaaaatch!”

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