I actually didn’t think that last word was a word, but autocorrect corrected it. Hmmm…
Anyway, I think all of this social media nonsense has caused people to share much too much of their real, day-to-day private lives. I mean, am I really expected to care about what you ate for dinner? What your current mood is? Your thinly veiled snide remarks about an ex-lover, friend, spouse, etc? What you’re wearing, what the traffic or weather is where you are? Often…really almost always…the answer is a resounding “No!”
So I hesitated to share this with the six of you who actually read this. Because, I mean, who cares? Everyone’s got their problems, right?
Well, this might actually be instructive for someone out there.
I’ve had what can charitably be described as…well, hellish sounds too overwrought. And not entirely accurate, because, like so many things in life, it could have been far, far worse. Anyway, I’ve had a particularly annoying year of medical problems. Nothing too horrible, at least at the beginning, but just enough to take my quality of life down a few notches.
A little over a year ago, I started having the symptoms of what I thought was either a cold, the flu or some strange allergies. None of the over-the-counter stuff seemed to work, so eventually I went to a doctor. Was prescribed a Zpak and some steroids.
They didn’t work, and so I began my long, strange journey through Medical Land. Another doctor, another round of Z pak and steroids.
Didn’t work either.
Another doctor, who would become my regular doctor. More stuff–this time allergy related. No dice. That takes us to about mid point of last year, and now I’ve had this stupid cold or whatever for about eight months. The amount of money I’d already spent at this point on over-the-counter stuff, prescriptions and tissues (oh lord, the tissues)–was ridiculous.
So, I get a referral to an ENT doctor. OK, I go there, get examined and told that I have the Mother Superior of all sinus infections. All eight (who knew there were eight?) sinuses horribly infected, completely swollen and clogged.
The diagnosis: surgery! I have the surgery in October–three more months due to a really, really bad front office for this doctor and a major home move for me and my wife–and it goes swell. The swelling and pressure are relieved, but I do have some troubling complications. Like? Well, vision problems, fainting, horrible pain in my eyes, etc. More trips back to the ENT, more steroids, more antibiotics.
All of this manages to open up my nasal passages, sure, but the damn thing (infection or whatever) manages to descend into my chest, where it just sits there being annoying. I can feel something down there, but no amount of coughing (and there’s been a lot) will bring it up.
And all of the steroids have taken a toll on my weight, causing to me gain probably 25-30 pounds and playing havoc with my blood sugar.
Back to present day, sorry for the flashback. Well, a little more recent history. I was at the Borderlands Press Boot Camp at the end of January, and I seem to have broken either my foot or many of the toes on my left foot.
Here’s where it begins to get instructive.
I was walking with Brad Hodson and Rena Mason outside our hotel in Baltimore. Now, that city had been pounded a week or so earlier with many feet of snow, at least a foot of which still remained on the ground, frozen into a crispy hardpack that made walking challenging…well, at least for me.
My left foot punched through a snow drift, and I sank/fell up to my giblets. And I managed to break said foot or toes. Being a manly kind of man, I chose to buck up and just hobble around on it. Bad idea.
Worse idea? I then went to an airport and sat for six hours waiting for my flight. And then I flew. When I returned, in my own defense, I spoke with my doctor, at the gentle urging of my wife. Should I go get an X-ray?
If it’s the foot, sure. If you think it’s the toes, well, there’s little they can do for that, so why waste the money?
Now you’re speaking to me where I live. Why, indeed, waste the money? Why see another round of doctors for broken toes?
So, I let it go.
Second bad idea.
I woke up from a dead (how nearly ironic) sleep about a week later with chest pains and shortness of breath. Really bad chest pain, the worst I’ve ever felt, and shortness of breath so profound I couldn’t even tell my wife what was going on.
A jaunty ride in an ambulance to the ER later, and I am told that what I’ve got is a pulmonary embolism. Blood clots in my lungs. Small to medium. A few. Probably thrown off by whatever happened to my foot.
Luckily, my chest pains and shortness of breath were the only presents I received from this diagnosis, because pulmonary embolisms have a disturbing tendency to kill.
One overnight in the hospital, lots of pokes and jabs, one horrific meal and a few doses of blood thinner later, I was sent home with a prescription for Xeralto, that drug Arnold Palmer and Kevin Nealon are on in that commercial that plays on a seemingly endless loop.
Now, of course, I am recovering, exhausted, afraid to shave for fear that I will cut myself and bleed out messily in the bathroom. But also a touch more pragmatic.
I am of an age, 52 years old, if you must ask, where it seems increasingly advisable to seek medical attention when untoward things are going on in my body. Yes, I should have sought medical attention for the broken toes. But I though, meh? I can hobble along for a while and be OK. Nope. So I learned an important lesson, one that I thought I’d pass along so that none of the six of you actually has to have a near death experience to partake of this wisdom.
Get to the doctor when you know you need to. Because, let me assure you, things can get oh so much worse if you don’t.