One Year.

personal

One year ago today, I almost died. I had a big, fancy post all ready to share, complete with pictures, but I accidentaly deleted it through a series of unfortunate events.

Whatever. I’ll take that as the universe saying I don’t need to bore anyone by talking about the crap I went through. It wasn’t pretty, it was downright disgusting, and I survived. I will point out that the problem I lived with for six years is easily fixed by surgery, but I’m one of those people that falls in the “hole” in Obamacare. I make too much money to get a really good subsidy, not enough to afford a three to four hundred dollar a month payment on an insurance plan with a ridiculously high deductible. ($7500-8000, if you’re curious.) So I couldn’t afford the surgery.

Instead, I’ll bore you with something else. Normal people that have near-death experiences report things like bright lights, tunnels, beloved presences, encounters with divinity. I didn’t get any of that. Although I’ll admit I got ferociously dizzy, my vision got dim, and my brain got really stupid.

What did happen is I got pissed off. And I mean really, truly, deeply pissed off. This happened right about the time I saw the emergency room staff moving quickly, and multiply from one to about half a dozen, and it sunk in that they thought I was actually dying right there in front of them.

Weird feeling, by the way.

And while the ER staff was moving quickly, at a speed you never want to see in real life, I was feeling apologetic for troubling them when I didn’t feel half as shitty as I did back in January.

That was when I got pissed.

There I was, literally dying, and I’d been working. Just like always. That’s most of what I do with my life, after all. Work, work, work. And I felt significantly better that day than I did back in January. I was able to take a couple days off back then, but my boss insisted I had to come in to groom some regular customers that no one else could do, so I tried. Even though I knew I wasn’t safe to drive, I drove. And I worked. And I groomed two dogs.

But then I called my boss and told her I don’t care how bad she needs me working, I can’t do this and have to go home. Now, after the fact, I know why I was so dizzy I couldn’t stand or even see straight. The doctors called it acute anemia, said that I could have died.

And a couple weeks later, I was working with blood clots in my leg and my lungs, and more acute anemia. It was so bad I could feel my heart beating super-fast and erratic. I had to keep taking breaks to let the poor thing calm down before it actually exploded. When I finally got to the doctor, she said I could drop dead at any moment.

And I kept working, and working, and working.

Have you figured out why I got pissed yet? It’s because somewhere along the line, I kind of forgot that I swore I’d never work myself to death like my dad did. So I almost dropped dead, more times than I’ve mentioned here, at work. Doing exactly what I swore not to do.

At least I had the brains to call for help before my heart stopped because there wasn’t any blood left to pump. The doctor at the hospital told me I was almost there. The blood count I had was 5, she said hearts stop at around 4-4.5.

Screw that whole working myself to death thing. I’m pissed, and staying pissed, and using that anger and frustration to get my life sorted out so I can drop back to a more normal amount of work. It’ll take a couple years to clean up my situation so I can afford to stop this 50-60+ hour a week bullshit, but I’m going to do it. I will arrange my life so I can work a normal job, have a home of my own instead of a rental, and spend more time living. I am going to do things I enjoy, including getting out on the weekends to go hiking or find a horse to ride or whatever. I’ve done that a few times already, and it’s a vast improvement over working.

In short, I’m going to take the second chance I was given, and do something a hell of a lot better than work.

2 thoughts on “One Year.

  1. Thanks for writing about this. And hope your plan works out.

    In Japan, working oneself to death is considered something of a virtue. In the “general West” (including Eastern Europe here) it’s not exactly as fashionable as there, thankfully, but lots of people do like talking about how busy they are and how exhausted their work makes them. Which is most often pretence and pose, but… this sort of small talk, I think, becomes toxic for people who are actual workaholics, and they (we) start thinking we don’t work enough because hey!we aren’t dead yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So in Colorado, where I live, the entire culture is built around spending as much time as possible playing outside. Work is just something that has to be done in between trips to the mountains. It makes me feel better knowing there are other workaholics in the world!

      Liked by 1 person

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