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.