I give an update on my first goal (professional certification) and share lessons learned along the way. This is raw, personal, and emotional episode.
I give an update on my first goal (professional certification) and share lessons learned along the way. This is raw, personal, and emotional episode.
Reed Smith 0:00
Welcome to the fear face podcast place where we control fears of letting it control us. checking my personal journey interfere, hearing about journeys of fear of others, using the latest neuroscience we can fear. Today's episode, I'll give my first official update on my personal fear journey. Talk about the surprises, opportunities and realizations that have taken place in these first few months of the year. Also, a heads up that this is a very personal and emotional episode. So out of respect for you and your emotions, how you're feeling. If you're not in a place where you want to hear something pretty heavy, advise that you come back to this episode when you're in a better place. That being said, let's go.
So today is my first official update on my personal fear journey. I'd originally mentioned believe in Episode One, that the first one I was going to attack was professional certifications. And I made some good progress. Unfortunately, I've missed the timeline of getting it done in the first month have been a lot going on. I'll get into that in a couple minutes. regards to the actual certifications itself. I've also learned as I started this that I've kind of noticed it before, but really officially this time. I've never really learned how to study. So you know, I'll watch these videos on the certification I was going to get I took my own notes, took a practice test and failed it. In the past. I've gotten away with never really having to study for stuff, whether you know, just I'm able to recall things well enough that I didn't really have to study. I carried me through an associate's degree in college, computer networking. I realized with this, I really haven't learned good study habits. So I've tried implementing some flashcards. And I also signed up for a instructor led review course of the material for the certification. And I'm about halfway through that now. And I feel I feel good that adding in these new things are normally not done in the past is gonna equip me to be able to pass the practice test and then ultimately pass the certification test. So that certification has been delayed until next month. So that's my focus for this month. That doesn't mean I didn't get to conquer any fears. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I guess it depends on how you look at it. Um, I did have something completely out of my control pop up. The first was earlier this year. My uncle passed away. I'd get COVID when the hospital had an ammonia set in. That's one of the things going on, and ultimately was not able to overcome that sickness. He passed. And within a couple of weeks of that. My father, we got pretty ill, he also got COVID. And he's certainly certainly high risk he's got he had some other health issues going on. But he had to go to the emergency room. So we'll come home for like almost a week and then had to go back and ended up being in hospital for like nine days. And unfortunately due to the COVID restrictions in place was not allowed to see visitors to have visitors. So that's second weeks in there for nine to 10 days. Forget the segue he was moved to the ICU, got a few days in there, which he said we were talking to him every day. We being a mom, my brother self said he he liked it more because he had the one on one attention there wasn't he wasn't getting bothered as much as he was in the general population. Hospital. Fortunately, over time, his oxygen level got worse they to the point to where they were not able to allow him to not be on the ventilator. The last time I spoke with him before starting the ventilator two nights before unbelief and you know, been talking to him every day and could just hear the decline in his voice was really not able to, you could tell he just could barely take breath to talk. And he told me that we need to get up the walk around and do something it felt like he was breathing fire in his lungs. See how you for anybody you care about to be in that kind of pain. The silver lining to going on the ventilator was that he'd be sedated, they were not being any more pain. So he went on the ventilator. The max, they really want you on that is around two weeks. And he had told my mom beforehand that, you know, his wishes were, you know, worst case scenario, he didn't want live support, but he would do the ventilator for two weeks. So this is being recorded on February 12, which is a Friday. Last Sunday, which was the sixth of February, I drove back home to South Carolina. I started the seventh. So the eighth of February was the end of the two weeks on the ventilator. Unfortunately, over the two weeks, there was some glimmers of hope. But his health continued to decline, oxygen levels and kidney levels and everything just kind of going out of whack. So we had to make a decision to respect my dad's wishes. And not start live support.
So Monday, February 8, around one o'clock in the afternoon, speaking with nurses and doctors, we made a decision that, you know, without life support, we would take the comfort route and respect his wishes. So he was given morphine and anxiety medicine, medicine, some other some other things make him comfortable. And within 10 minutes, so being off of the ventilator past.
So it was all it was a hard decision. But clearly the right one his body was in such bad shape that, you know, he could maintain himself at all at the ventilator. My dad had told us in the doctors that, you know, his quality of life before all this stuff started really wasn't that great, you know, he had a lot of health issues has been in pain, a lot of pain for years. I mean, it said he really didn't want a diminished quality of life, that wasn't an option for him, you know, he didn't want to have to wear oxygen all the time. Really, really have reduced capacity. So
so he went peacefully. We were by Assad, my mom was beside him holding his hand as he passed.
So there was a breaking apart, there was a lot of opportunities or facing fears here. I'm thankful that I've started this journey before this happened, because I was very much aware of when my when I was in my fear frontier. So there were certain things, certain things that happened along this journey last several weeks, where I felt this physical changes. I felt that fight flight or freeze kick in where for me that's really kind of can feel my blood, my ears, like my ears get hot and kind of tingle all over. That's all No, I'm in that I'm in my fear frontier. And I'm happy to say, looking back on those through this awful process. I really did push through each one. And I'm glad I did because there would have been some things I definitely regret going forward, kind of talk through some of those in the beginning, you know, even when he was starting the ventilator to have to call family members and tell them that bad news because everybody kind of knows COVID and ventilators. There's not a lot of people that will that come off of those and if they do come off of them, you know, they're typically not themselves. There is some reduced capacity off that just have to call him deliver that news. And you don't have to call and tell people that but feel a certain responsibility to do that. It's not the kind of news you want to deliver through a text message. So really, the first one I can recall was when he started the ventilators calling and delivering that bad news you know picked up the phone and Phil felt that amygdala kicking in when really easy to put the phone down or just send a text message but uh, you know, dial the number, really the message said the words and part of that is saying something out loud kind of forces your brain to accept it. So I'm glad I step through that door for that. And then even to when I started thinking about driving down to experience all this you know if I would have let fear cripple me, I could have very well not went back home, to see my family and to see my dad for the last time. You know that that's an option, it wasn't an option for me. So even though I've, you know, felt that fear, felt my physical responses to just the thought of getting in the car and driving down there, I don't feel like it really had an option. But other people that have been in that scenario, I've heard the stories where you know, they regret not not doing that. So you have to push through that drive seven hours. It's just a dreadful drive, the closer you get, the worse it gets. And then being there and hearing and seeing the pain of the people you care about, just rip your guts out. So I drove down on Sunday, the seventh and Monday morning, the fear of getting in the car and having to drive to the hospital, knowing pretty well that he didn't want to do more than two weeks on the ventilator. So today was going to be the day unless some miracle happened. Kind of the same thing. Gotta force yourself to get in the car and drive. Hospital and the closer you get, the worse it gets. didn't actually get them a hospital, go up to his room, get on the elevator, go to his room. Then with the COVID restrictions, they've got to wear the goggles and a mask and they don't have a covering full body covering. Cover your clothes. You know. So just getting geared up to go in there standing right outside the door. In fill that that fear response kicking, I could have very well said you know what i'm not i'm not gonna go in there, and just not force myself. Push through. Because again, when you're in that fear frontier, that's when you have to be really careful how you make decisions. And be sure that you don't let the emotional part part of things make a decision that you'll later regret. So push forward into it went in there to see my dad along with my mom, sister in law, my brother
to walk in and see him hooked up to Sony machines.
It was great to see him talk to him.
Spend some time with him. You know, we all left the room, the palette of doctors and nurses telling us how things would go firming what his wishes were and how we're going to handle things. So there was another opportunity before that, that started to take him off the ventilator and give him the comfort medications we have time to go back in there. And I originally was not going to do that. And I originally you know before I made the trip down, I didn't want to see him at all it was one of those things where I didn't want to my last memories my dad to be seen him ill and hooked up all those machines. So I'm glad I changed my mind with that to see him the first time then, you know, I decided that I didn't want to go in there and see him on my own because they wouldn't do anything else for me but but hurt me. But thankfully, my brother decided he wanted to go back in there and talk to him one on one, he went first. Then he came back out talking to him a little bit I realized there was an opportunity for me to call some people in the family and hold the phone up and maybe let them talk to them one more time. And I use that is courage to get back into it on my own that I probably wouldn't have known otherwise. So going back in there alone was scarier than when I first went in there to see him. But when they're and I'm looking back on it so glad I did that to say a lot more personal things you know that's harder to say when you're around people but then calling other people in the family and ask them you know, you know, do you want to hold the phone up? You want to talk to them?
Having a stand there, listen to those conversations.
was really tough. I went in the room. Talk to them one on one. let other family members talk to them one on one said my goodbyes left the room I mentioned before as things proceeded, they gave me medicine and took them off the ventilator. That part I did, I did not want to participate in them in too hard already said everything I needed to say. Luckily, my mom and sister in law were in there with them, almost holding us and hold on talking to them. There was a nurse in there monitoring the vitals. So they could kind of see that things were degrading.
My mom told him, she loved them one more time. She felt him squeezed her hand,
saw his lips move. Like he was trying to say, I'll be back. She said, I know you love me. After he was gone, obviously very sad. But there was a piece that kind of all the the torture of just waiting on the ventilator and all that stuff was done. And he was gone. And then, you know, after that happened, felt that fear frontier, again, just to have to call somebody. And that's it, tell them what happened. Again, a lot easier to text. But it's not news, you want to deliver that way. So probably the single hardest thing I've ever had to say was to call someone and say he's gone, just those words, two words. Mainly because as I went to say it out loud, it kind of forced my brain to accept it. So I said he's and then just completely came apart at the seams. Very emotional. For I could get that last word out, but got it out. And in glad I did that. Then again, felt it as we went to leave it kind of the opposite of the dreaded driving to the hospital now was the dread that you know, when you go downstairs and get in the car and drive away, I'm driving away from the last time I'm ever gonna physically see my dad, you know, his body, that's the last time I'll ever physically see that he wanted to be cremated. So this was it had to really focus on a mom that made it easier. And really just put my own foot in front, the next to walk away from the hospital and get in a car and drive away. several opportunities that day to really feel the physical changes in my body, that part of my brain was trying to take over the my fear frontier and to push through and not let overwhelming emotions control me and make those decisions for me. It would feeling that you could really feel how it's just so much it'd be so much less draining to just not push through and just feel overwhelmed and not do anything. I'm so glad that it was didn't happen for any of these things I mentioned. Also going forward, it really is motivation. You know, I mentioned my dad at our pre existing health issues, good motivation for me, I'm already do a lot on my own for my own health and those I care about that are you know, willing to let me help them. But just great motivation to keep. Keep moving forward, not make excuses. You know, I'm telling everybody, I'm never gonna miss the gym day again, I'm never gonna miss another workout, because it's just such great motivation to your own health is eating right and working out. It's like a health insurance policy for yourself. When it's time to check it in, we've forgotten or you don't if you don't have it, it's too late to get it. So while my first goal of certification didn't happen, this situation popping up did provide plenty of opportunity for me to really embrace the second method of facing your fears we talked about in previous episodes. The first method is just to think about things you're fearful of, and do them and that is effective to a certain degree, but the most effective things are to do things that that force you to be scared, you know, force those physical changes in your body and make those changes. So this really forced this situation really forced me into the second method and the worst way possible, but Silver silver linings. This gives me great confidence that if I can, if I can handle it in that scenario, I don't think there's a scenario I'll face where I'll be a coward and not walk forward through that door, walk into fear through it, come out on the other side again and go, my next check in, which will be in March. I will be reporting in hopefully that I've passed the certification exam that I'm going to be taking, and I'll get more information around that certification and but even if I'll fill it, I will give that update either way. As always, thanks so much for listening. Thank you for your support. Today's episode was a heavy one. I'm purposely lifted, pretty unedited. It's very emotional middle of the story. And
I wanted that to come through. transparency and honesty is a huge component for me of this podcast. So while it's embarrassing to put this out to the world, definitely want that. You know that honesty and authenticity to come through. Thanks so much. It's never too late to identify fear and contact me on your own. Till next time, live courageously.
Unknown Speaker 21:20