I’ve been out of commission for two months now. It has felt like eternity at times. But finally, the big “pause” button on my life is lifting. I would say I’m at 70–80% capacity. I’ll know when I’m at 100% when I can drink again, attend concerts again, talk with friends for hours again…when I don’t have to take drugs every few hours anymore or wear earplugs and a baseball cap to block sound and light anymore…
I’d like to share the biggest “takeaways” from this experience:
Life is too short for bullshit.
…Whether at work or in your personal life. I’m talking about the consistent, annoying bullshit. The repetitive, unrelenting bullshit that we tend to put up with. Not the minor bullshit; I don’t think it’s possible to rid your life of minor bullshit. Illness brings clarity in this area.
If you don’t have health, you don’t have much.
Oh, the things my healthy self took for granted. Small things such as taking a deep breath without feeling pain. Eating toast without feeling pain. Sleeping on my side without feeling pain. Reading a magazine without feeling pain. Talking or listening to someone without feeling pain. Being able to walk up and down my street without feeling pain.
Have a stash of “emergency” money and have health insurance, for god’s sake.
Doctoring is expensive. Luckily my illness was temporary; otherwise I’d be selling my worldly possessions to cover doctor and prescription co-pays and ER and hospital bills. Once I was finally diagnosed, I was admitted to the hospital for two days. Know how much those two days cost my insurance company? $33K. Know how much 3 ER visits cost my insurance company? Well, I’m still waiting for one more bill, but I can estimate $8K total. Prescription drugs? I think I’ve had about 20 prescriptions at this point. The main drug I’ve been taking cost my insurance company $3K. I mean, mind-blowing.
When you are sick, you need to advocate for yourself.
Don’t wait too long for doctors to call back. You must hound them. When you do get in touch with them, ask a lot of questions. When appointments are made for you and they are months out, make sure you get on a cancellation list. Then call the doctor’s office randomly to ask if there were any recent cancellations (this actually worked for me). And when you are really sick and in a lot of pain, have family and friends do the advocating for you.
Your friends are family.
When you’re sick and your family lives hours away, your friends are your family. You learn who’s got your back. I am ETERNALLY grateful for everything my friends did. They sent cards. They sent flowers. They had meals delivered. They cooked meals. They scooped Olive’s cat litter. They took out my trash. They hauled and unloaded groceries. It was truly amazing.
Your family is family.