Our shop experienced something totally unprecedented in our three year history last week. We shut our doors for nine consecutive days—a hard decision I want to address. My goal is to keep regular store hours in addition to offering appointments on weekends or evenings, and I plan store closings around convenient times for my customers. Rarely do I take vacations, which typically results in the store only closing for a couple days at most, and I try to check and respond to email often. As a result, to totally shut down for a prolonged period of time is quite drastic and more than a little scary.
Despite the gorgeous weather Sunday, I found myself stuck on the couch because I felt the tell-tale signs of a stomach flu approaching. Having plenty of experience with these problematic but typically quick little bugs, I did the usual things: plenty of rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medication. Imagine my surprise when Monday was significantly worse. By Tuesday morning, I knew there was no way I could meet my personal standards in customer service, and more importantly, I did not want to give my flu to any customers. Off went business partner/dad Jason to leave a new message and post signs for me! Feeling guilty about closing on Tuesday, I made an attempt to work on Wednesday, but by noon, I felt myself weakening from the strain of moving and hanging inventory. Thursday witnessed a repeat of Wednesday, and my dad advised me to go the ER because no food or drink stayed in my system long and my body was dehydrating quickly. I compromised with a doctor’s appointment because I hate taking up valuable ER time with a problem they really can’t fix. My doctor said they could run blood tests, but it was probably just the flu and prescribed some prescription strength medicine.
Suffice it to say, the medication did not work. By 4a.m. Friday morning, I was in such misery I couldn’t sleep. I was so dehydrated my muscles were seizing, and my body was shutting down. We left a message for my doctor, and when he returned it at 8:30a.m., he advised we go directly to the hospital (Yes, my dad, a former RN, is kicking himself for not forcing me to the ER on Thursday like he wanted). To say I looked like hell—braless, wearing only a Harley Davidson t-shirt and some yoga pants, lacking all color in my skin, and barely able to open my eyes—is a bit of an understatement. Before the doctor’s order even hit the computer system, they were already setting up an IV for fluids. Since I have teeny tiny veins that love to roll for the extra challenge, starting an IV under normal circumstances is not simple. When I am dehydrated, you better have a butterfly needle and a lot of training. On the first arm, the nurse could not hit the vein, and when she retracted the needle I did not even bleed from how much fluid my body had lost. They finally got it started though, but an allergy to tape adhesive has left me with a rather painful arm. [Read more...]