What a Long Strange Trip It's Been

What a Long Strange
Trip It's Been!

       Life can really throw you a curve ball sometimes.  On Feb. 12th this year, I had my back pop at work.  In my line of work this happens from time to time, but this time it was different.  I started having serious back pain, numbness in my feet and weakness in my knees, following the incident.
       I fell down and ended up in the emergency room for a spinal tap on Feb. 22 and then fell again and was in the hospital for 5 days.  They gave me infusions of Immunoglobulin and that gave me blood clots in my legs.
       Today it is May 11, one day short of 3 months, and I have not returned to work and am only able to walk short distances or my right leg swells up.
      On Feb. 11th, I was healthy, happy and energetic.  My life was just great.  Wonderful family, great job that I loved doing, but then everything fell apart.  

       What I'm saying is the only really sure thing about life, is change.  You can make all your wonderful plans, but it may just rain on your parade. You don't control the weather. 
       "Never give up, Never Surrender!"  Remember that quote from Galaxy Quest.  It was a hilarious movie, but Capt. Peter Quincy Taggert's motto, are words we all need to live by.
       I have gone through a roller coaster of emotions during this time. The worst has been anxiety and fear. The doctor's warned me about all these horrible things that might happen to me, from being paralyzed, helpless and on a ventilator; to developing pulmonary embolisms, heart attack, stroke and the chance of death. The fear can make you feel completely out of control. I was on the verge of having a panic attack several times.
      The one thing you have control over, is your mind and your thoughts. This "time out" has been full of contemplation.  I don't think it is possible for me to ever go back to the hard physical work I performed prior to Feb. 12th. This change is permanent. My lumbar MRI kind of confirms it. The spinal specialist told me, I could return to work and then return to the hospital.
      The sense of loss at times, is almost overwhelming. A man's work is often tied to a man's sense of self. "We are what we do, is deeply ingrained in our psyche." 

"I'm not writing this for you to feel sorry for me, or for me to feel sorry for myself."

       I'm writing this to explore the present and the future. We can all journey together and take this "Long Strange Trip." It is a time for exploration and discovery. At 60 years of age, life is not over.  This is a new beginning and a time to face the inevitable . . . . .  Change!



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