Wednesday, February 7, 2018

This Is About Time - Not About Watches

First and foremost, a very sincere apology for the long silence here at Tempus Fugit.  I would like to get a little personal and offer a "public service announcement" about the importance of managing your health.  What do these two things (measuring time and managing your health) have in common?  I'm glad you asked!

Last Tuesday night (January 30th), I worked my usual Tuesday late shift at the College Planning Center in Boston and came home.  As is normal, I warmed up some leftovers, had a glass of wine, and went went to bed.

The next morning I awoke discover that I had overnight lost the ability to sit up, move, or think coherently.  I chalked it up to the flu, and the Associate Editor gave me the day off -

It was already set to be a day off for me from the College Planning Center, so I took an Alka Seltzer Plus, and promptly slept until Wendy came home from work that evening.  At which point I could barely move, was quite incoherent, and unable to eat anything.  Wendy was concerned, but I assured her it was the flu, nothing could be done, other than get through it.  You know - "I'm a tough, stoic kind of guy"...

Thursday came with little improvement, so I informed he center I would not be in.  Fell back asleep.  Around 3:30 I awoke neither knowing what day it was or to some extent who I was.  It did occur to me that I hadn't had any fluids of any real description for nearly 36 hours.  So I tried to get some water down, and went back to sleep.

Friday, the same, but more energy spent on drinking water which did improve my hydration levels from "Dangerously Dehydrated" to "Not quite as Dangerously Dehydrated".

Saturday I had a shift at the Center, and knowing that it is a busy day, I didn't want to leave my colleagues short-handed, so Wendy drove me to the station, and I hopped on the first thing smoking.

Came home and felt miserable again.  Sunday, pretty much all day in bed.  At this point I had eaten maybe the equivalent of .75 meals in 5 days.  Woke up Monday rubber legged, sticky headed and somewhat delusional.  Wendy at this point had seen enough and took me to urgent care, who immediately redirected us to the Emergency room, where it became apparent that while I might indeed have started with the flu, it had progressed on to pneumonia. It is also important to mention that in the "less than coherent" state of mind I was in, this explained quite a bit.  

X-Rays taken, super drugs prescribed, 2 additional days of slowly getting strong enough to actually sit at the desk, and here we are.  Now, I am sure you're wondering - What the hell does this have to do with anything?

Well, as I said in the title, this is a post about time, and how you need to be aware of it as it pertains to your health, and to some extent your life itself.  As I was flat on my back in the ER, slowly gaining some ability to speak, I was informed that all too often, people misunderstand what is really happening to them.  They also fall victim to what seem like very silly fates.  I mean, c'mon, you're gonna' tell me my man Henki was too shit stupid and lazy to drink a bottle of water?  Gentle Reader, the answer is yes.  I was literally out of my head from the infection that I did not know that I had.  I was not thirsty, and it just did not occur to me that I needed to drink.  I mean, I'd been fine for several days, right?  Because in my mental state, I was failing to remember all of the common sense first aid stuff you learn as a kid, and  how even a simple virus can kill a perfectly healthy person.  It doesn't happen all at once.  You get the virus, it attacks the "main highways" to put the squeeze on.  If you're not eating and drinking, your body loses its ability to fight the infection.  And once that happens, the virus cooty-bug germs are marching down your main street.  

And if you think I am being melodramatic because it happened to me, allow me to inform you that in the course of the 3.5 hours we spent in the ER treatment area proper, we overheard several other cases that were people who thought they had the flu or were simply "old" but rather had pneumonia.  And for some of them, they found out just in time that it wasn't just "their time".

So as I said, a Public Service Announcement - I am lucky, I have an amazing wife who was there for me.  But I am also now realizing that things could have gone very, very differently had I been left solely to my own devices.  I wasn't trying to be stupid, I promise I can do that just fine under normal circumstances.  I just could not think clearly due to the fever and infection.  Flu can lead to other illnesses, and it can be all too easy to ignore, or simply not recognize when things are taking a permanent detour south.  So (as best you can) pay attention, and don't feel the need to be a "tough guy".  

As of this morning I am about 10 pounds lighter, a little bit sore, but hopefully a tiny bit wiser for the experience. 

Thanks for listening, and be well.

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