Life can throw totally unexpected setbacks our way. Here are some thoughts on how to cope. Read Coping with Life's Unexpected Setbacks.

This wasn’t the post I planned on starting the week with.

Let’s just say, the events of the weekend took me in a new direction. Unfortunately, the direction wasn’t a positive one (as can often happen on this crazy roller coaster called life).

Sunday was a bad day for me.

I thought I would share my experience with you in the hope of perhaps, helping you through a tough day as well.

Sunday morning I woke up like any other day. Being the weekend, I had the luxury of sleeping in. While I was in the bathroom wiping my hands, the room started spinning and suddenly I was holding onto the handrail to stop myself from falling.

This wasn’t the feeling you sometimes get when you stand up too quickly. This was something different. My knees buckled and I was overcome with a feeling of nausea.

Thinking the spinning had stopped, I walked out of the bathroom, only to find myself crumbling to the floor, struggling to focus.

The spinning sensation was back with a vengeance.

After finally making it downstairs, I discovered my hot water system had burst overnight and water was pooling in the courtyard.

I rang my family to let them know what was going on and put myself back in bed. Despite resting all morning, every time I stood up, I felt lightheaded and unsure on my feet.

Finally, I decided to call the ambulance service. I also asked a friend if he could come over. The paramedics advised I was suffering from low blood sugar.  A tub of glucose later, my levels were back to normal again. They left suggesting I get checked out by my doctor.

Feeling slightly better, I walked slowly out into the courtyard to talk to my friend about the hot water system.

One moment, I was pointing at something, the next I was falling.  

All I can remember as I collapsed was thinking (or more to the point praying) please don’t let me hit my head.

The spinning and the nausea were back. My friend turned around to find me on the floor. My friend picked me up and carried me inside.

It was then I realized an emergency room visit was in order.

I could not walk or stand up without falling down.

For a 46-year-old who had never been to a hospital, this was my third visit in three months, a thought I found somewhat scary.

My biggest fear was falling and hitting my head (not to mention that there might be something wrong with my head in the first place).

As it turned out I was lucky. The hospital diagnosed me with a combination of low blood sugar and dehydration. I was grateful it was not a lot worse. Yesterday I ate well, drank a lot of water and rested.

I’m happy to report, I feel like myself again today.

Here are my thoughts from the experience and some lessons learned.

Admit you need help

I knew straight away between the health issues and the hot water system, I needed help.

Normally I would see how I go and not bother anyone. Instinctively, I knew this was not one of those times and I had to reach out to people.

Falling when you live by yourself is not something to be taken lightly.

Sunday night I spent the night at my friend’s place, I couldn’t risk being home alone and collapsing again, particularly on the internal staircase (which I had come very close to falling down that morning).

Reach out for help when you need it. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. We all need a little help sometimes.

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Admit you are out of your depth

I know nothing about hot water systems and even if I did, I was in no shape Sunday to be arranging for a replacement.

I wasn’t capable of making any decisions financial or otherwise.

To be honest, some of the conversations I had on Sunday are still a bit of a blur. Sometimes we have to admit to ourselves that we are out of our depth.

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Let people help you

Having lived on my own for a long time, I have become fiercely independent.

Overall, I consider myself relatively good at asking for help, though I think some people might disagree with that statement. Some people would say I can be a bit stubborn about my independence.

In this case, however, I knew I had to let the wonderful people in my life help me. I simply was not physically capable of looking after myself.

Let people be there for you. You can return the favor when they need help as well.

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Have people nearby who can help

My brother lives roughly two hours away, my mum for approximately five hours. While I ring them on the phone when there is a major problem, sometimes a phone call is not enough.

In times of trouble, particularly when you need physical assistance, it’s important to have people who are close by who can help (or who can at least make a call for help).

Thankfully, I had my friend who lives nearby arrive just after the paramedics. I know in some cases having help nearby isn’t an option, but if it’s at all possible try to have a backup plan should a problem strike. If family and friends are not available, perhaps a neighbor can help.

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Don’t be afraid to express your feelings

While I am not much of a crier nowadays, I burst into tears twice on Sunday.

While some people might be advocates of the keeping it all together and putting on a brave face approach, I think sometimes a good cry is needed to help alleviate stress and anxiety.

My motto is better out than in.

Don’t feel like you have to keep everything in or put up a brave front.

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Know when you need to say no

When a friend called to see if I could work Monday, I said no. Obviously, once I explained the situation to her, she understood I needed to rest.

If you are a people-pleaser however and you have someone trying to talk you into something, you might say yes when you should be saying no.

As I am quickly discovering, your health is not something you mess with. Say no when you need to.

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Be grateful, appreciative, and thankful 

I have to admit, I have a whole new appreciation for how hard it must be for elderly people who can’t get around without help.

Not being able to walk by yourself or take yourself to the bathroom is awful. Having no control, when you are used to doing your own thing is demoralizing.

I only experienced needing help to walk for a small portion of the day and that was enough for me!

To be blunt, it sucked.

A big thank you to my friend, who I would not have made it through the day without and I mean that quite literally as he was the one who picked me up after I collapsed and carried me inside. He is also the one who took me to the hospital. He ate my ice cream and jelly at the hospital but we won’t hold that against him!

Also a big thank you to my brother who arranged to have a new hot water system installed today (yeah!) and of course to my Mum and Stepdad for their concern, support, and love.

Sometimes life throws unexpected setbacks at us and we have to do our best to hang in there and see it through until things get back to normal again.

Please share this post with your friends on social media, it might just help one of them today.

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