One hit on the inhaler. Nothing. Second hit. Nothing. I can't catch my breath, can't stop coughing. I feel my knees getting weak. Mouth open. Hit number three. Nothing. This is it. I'm gonna freaking be the only human monkey capable of being stupid enough to die at the medical clinic. Thinking. I really don't want to do this in public.
I duck into the mens restroom. Stall is open. Grab a big hunk of wall. Hit number four on the Albuterol. And I finally sort of get a breath. One more. Then another. I stumble/shuffle out of the building, looking, I'm sure, like a large unshowered coughing spitting Sasquach. In my car and all I can think to do is drive the 10 min. home and never ever visit a medical facility again. It didn't seem so bad, going in for a chest Xray and 15 min. later, it seemed like I wasn't going to make it home. Ever.
For weeks, I've been fighting what I call the post-GIS Flu. You know, the one you get because you've shaken hands and shared air with a zillion of your Turfhead friends. What seemed like a little cold turned into a bit more and then a day of not feeling so good turns into many. Not really sick enough to miss any work. But not feeling good. I've talked to people saying they have been sick since Christmas, so I must not be so bad. I really should have gone home on Friday night, but just one more thing to do and Saturday, the day to do it. I was going downhill fast on Friday, but thought that a good meal and a beer and some sleep would put me right with the world. Couldn't sleep Friday night because I coughed the cough of the Howling Monkey. Didn't sleep much Saturday night because the Howler was joined by his relative the Wheezer. And by Sunday, I was in trouble. A trip to the Urgent Care, and it took the Doctor all of 2.2 seconds with the stethoscope on my back to declare that I had Pneumonia to go along with my 102 degree temperature. Great. An Xray confirms and I'm sent home with an antibiotic and some instructions. I'm pretty sick, so I'm not listening. But I did hear Dr. Sunday tell me that if my fever didn't go down by Monday night, to call my regular Doc.
Bet you can't guess what didn't happenthat's right. Drug didn't work. Fever still high(103-104) and so, as our story began, I found my self in deep trouble on Tuesday after taking myself in for a second Xray. I'm sure, had I not had the inhaler, that far worse would have happened. Far worse. Results of the second Xray, far worse and a new big gun antibiotic was prescribed. Why the medical drama? What in the world does that have to do with Zealotry or Turfheadism. Some of you know the answer. Everything. Because it has to do with life.
Like many of you, I don't know when to quit. I love what I do so much that in many ways, on most days, it consumes me. Know what I'm talking about? The alarm goes off at 4 something and off and running we TurfHeads go, only to put our heads down at 8 or 9 or 10 and get up and do it againAmen. What happens in between is often a blur and often based on dragging hose and putting out fires and attending the meetings and doing the job and worry about other's needs. I've never been one of those people that do Balance. I do Immersion. I do Challenge. I do Squeaky Wheel Oiling. I don't do Balance. At least that's not something I think I am any good at.
This last little episode for me was a bit more than a wake up call. I've had a few health things knock me about over the last few years, but this was different. It was painful, more so than other things I've dealt with. It was sudden. It made me very afraid. And it seemed out of my control. Those things are enough. As I type this, I'm still weak. Still coughing. The antibiotic has the fever in check, but I'm still fighting. It was hard to make the calls and write the emails and tell everyone that I wouldn't be talking on the phone, wouldn't be working. I handled a few things, but mostly, I put it all off. My vision, still pretty blurry has kept me from writing much more than Twitter updates and Facebook quips. It's far from over and as much as I'm not good at letting go, I have to. In a couple weeks, I'd like to turn 44.
All of this down time has had me looking at some key areas of life. And health, one of those things that has never really been in balance for me, has got to come into a clearer focus. Now, I'll bet Daconil to Doughnuts that a few of you are reading this and in one way or another, you can relate. And I'll bet a few more of you are reading it and saying, That's not me or I'm tougher than that, I'm not fat like he is or whatever. Might be true, but I beg you to take another look. From my vantage point, I see way more Turfheads who don't get it, than who do. Way way way more. And maybe your challenge isn't exactly like mine, but I'll bet there's something. Sacrifice is fine. We all have to do it. But somehow, there has to be a way to return to center.
I was looking around the Web and found a little checklist (Dr. Oz, I think) and it's going to be my starting place:
- Eat Only The Good Stuff (and you know what good is)
- Walk Every Day 30-45 min. at minimum (when I feel like it, doesn't count)
- See The Doctor and Follow Preventative Healthcare (meaning see the Doctor when I'm not in need of rescue)
Relax and Cope With Stress (spiritual and emotional wellbeing doesn't come last)
Now, for me, these 4 steps represent a clear path. I can do this. But only if I hold myself accountable. I don't need or want anyone else managing this for me, nagging at me or making me feel like I've failed because I didn't do what they did. It has to be me, for me. Something I'm not good at, so the steps are simple. They have to be.