I guess it could be considered a new year’s resolution though I never officially decided that it would be. It developed out of a moment of self-awareness: my relationship issues were actually more my fault than anything else. I was handling things very poorly and decided to fix that. I went on a self-help book quest on Amazon (that wasn’t overwhelming at all *insert crossed eyes here*). I settled on The Dance of Connection and Make the Leap and promptly requested them from the library (being frugal was on my list of habit changes). They were very helpful – I implemented suggestions and saw happy results almost immediately. I remember joking with Mom about 2010 being the year for my personal transformation. What I didn’t know was that it would happen in such a big way because of things out of my control.
As I went about my daily routine of showering, commuting, prepping & sending emails, an embolism was blooming in my pulmonary artery. My breathing had been difficult for awhile but I just attributed that to being out of shape and toting around a few extra pounds. I woke up on a Tuesday morning, preparing to travel to Vermont for business and a familiar pain presented itself on my right side. I say familiar because I have had the pleasure of having a lung infection called pleurisy. Assuming that this is what I had, I went up to Vermont anyway but did schedule an appointment with the pulmonologist for the following Tuesday. The whole time I was away, I was short of breath, tired, kind of weak and had pain on deep breaths.
The doctor and I, when I do see him, both agree – it would be weird to develop pleurisy with no prior illness like bronchitis or the flu because, when it happens, it’s usually after an illness. He decided, after hearing about my being on Yaz birth control, to run a test for blood clots. When this came back positive I was sent for a CT scan. This was at 11AM March 11th. At 3PM, the pulmonologist called and told me to go to the hospital and admit myself to the ER. This floors me. I have to go to the hospital? Why? This never crossed my mind, that it was something this serious.
It turns out, even though my doctor assured me it would all be fine, pulmonary embolisms are nothing to mess with. Quite recently in fact, our infomercial maven, Billy Mays, died from one. At any time during that week, I could have as well. And younger people are actually more likely to die from one because they dismiss pain, thinking it will go away. I am in the hospital for 6 days during which time you have a lot of time to think. And you are surrounded by age and sickness and helplessness. And you are helpless. You are at the mercy of the hospital – when they take your blood (530AM, bright lights coming on and a needle stick are a very rude awakening), when they feed you. At least I could go to the bathroom and shower without help. Most people there weren’t so lucky.
While it was scary and there is still some residual pain, I am alive. I am here to experience that pain. But I am also alive to continue my friendships, be a daughter, a partner, a web designer, a writer and a poet. If I say I’m going to do something, I do it. If I want to see someone, I make the plans. I’m having more fun, more peace, and more enjoyment. When I see how much of my own enjoyment of life I was keeping away from myself, it makes me shake my head. Why didn’t I see that before? As my friend Sarah said, you got a tap on the shoulder.
Thanks. I needed that.