5 years ago this month I endured one of the more dramatic events in my life. I came down with pneumonia in both lungs, and was thisclose to being on a respirator. My doctor at the time said, aside from the elderly folks he sees, I was the sickest patient he ever had. I spent a week in the ICU, a week in “regular” hospital, then two more weeks at home recuperating. During this ordeal, I dropped down in weight such that I was the thinnest I had ever been in my adult life (195 lbs), and I looked positively skeletal.
During that week in the ICU, I was doped up on so much morphine (good stuff!), I can recall only a scant few details of my time in the hospital. I am told I was pretty hi-larious, all things considered. When my nurse told me her name was Glenda, I apparently asked her if she was a good witch or a bad witch. When asked by a rather assertive nurse to move out of my bed into a chair so she could change the sheets, I serenaded her with “I’d Do Anything” from the musical “Oliver!”. I’m told I even wondered aloud who owned the pumpkin, without ever clarifying which pumpkin.
Despite my chipper attitude towards this grave situation, Cheryl could find no such levity, at least not at the time. She rarely left my side during the whole endeavor. While I was riding the morphine high, she was crashing hard with the realization that I was likely going to get worse before I got better. This strain was only amplified by the fact that my time in the hospital spanned two normally very festive days for us: her birthday and Valentine’s day. Time and hindsight have lessened the memory of the agony she went through during this time, but I try hard not to forget all that she did for me then (and to this day).
I don’t mark this anniversary out of idle remembrance. I got sick then because I was choosing to live a poor lifestyle. I was working too many hours, eating a poor diet, struggling with an awful commute, not exercising, and generally stressing about a project that was all but dead anyway. When a bug made its way through the office, my immune system was too compromised to put up much of a fight. I vowed afterwards that I would not let this experience be for naught, and I’ve worked hard to not work so hard. And while I’ve been able to keep up a healthier lifestyle in general (I joined a gym, I try to eat better, I’m never at work after 6PM, etc), I still find myself allowing the stress of my job to dominate my thoughts. Jobster’s recent woes certainly haven’t helped matters, but that’s still no reason I should allow it to affect my physical and mental health.
I have this crazy theory that writing about these issues will help reduce their pressure on my life. Let’s hope it’s not too late.
Good Lord! What a cheesy, melodramatic way to end a blog post. My apologies.