I think I came very close to dying. It started as most things do with a sharp pain in the upper-right chest and should while trying to sleep. Minor pain was ignored, and I went to work. Extreme pain ensued when I took a really deep breath (I smoke(d) so that was regular sometimes) that was summarily ignored. That night sleep came very uneasily as the pain had become more severe and I could only sleep on my back with pain coming with each breath (It's kind of funny what the quasi-conscious mind does with certain sensations. Mine interpreted it as a Space Invader type game and each pain on inhale was a shot down alien ship). By Wednesday I could barely move or breathe because of the near constant wracking agony I experienced with each breath. I was good enough to get to work, with the understanding that I may have to cut the work day short and go to the emergency room. (I'd rather end up in the hospital near work that that which is close to home).
I was admitted to the hospital on July 21, and was released on July 27. It turned out that a sedentary lifestyle combined with smoking had caused blood clots to form in my legs and migrate to my lungs. The records I got afterwards called it multiple bilateral pulmonary embolisms, and one of which could have moved to the brain and have me go all stroke.
So now I'm on blood-thinners, which means I am not allowed to drink alcohol, which was a major blow, being a functional alcoholic. I know that will elicit little sympathy from the teetotalers (not meant pejoratively) in this bunch, but alcohol's a difficult thing to give up when you're physically dependent. They gave me withdrawal medication for that. I was told I could have a couple non-alcoholic beers, which at least gives me the beer flavor.
I was also told I had to quit smoking (which I think they mean tobacco, because although they didn't mention it I also chew tobacco). The patch only marginally works. I have no urge to have a cigarette, except at certain trigger-points while driving. As far a dip goes, I've gone to a regimen of 1/3 real dip, 1/3 snus, and 1/3 gum chewed up and put between my lip and gum. I am gradually reducing the dip amounts and replacing dip with 1/2 snus and 1/2 gum. After that I'll go to gum and try to wean the physical habit of having something between my lip and gum (you'd be surprised how one gets used to that
So I am, due to a medical emergency, having to quit to major addictions at the same time. One was immediate (alcohol) as it would interfere with the blood thinner treatment. Tobacco is a more graduated system of reduction. I don't think I have the strength to go cold turkey on both of them.
The good news, I suppose, is I didn't die. But the hospital psychiatrist came to talk to me (right after my dose of morphine I might add, so my answers were a bit more honest than they would be if I wasn't high) mostly about thoughts of suicide, their frequency, did you think of any plans or methods type of question. Yes I've thought of suicide, (who hasn't?), about once every two to three days. And yes there are numerous methods with various advantages and disadvantages, but none that met the necessary criteria for actual implementation. Besides I will not go out directly by my own hand. I may go out
because of choices I've made (smoking), but it won't be an immediate and direct result of an action of mine. For that little chat (I think) my records indicated undetermined depressive psychosis. (Yay! I'm psychotic). At least I didn't get Baker acted.
As far as post-hospital events go, I've found I have motivation for doing things besides playing my xBox until I'm drunk enough to go to "sleep". All areas in the house in which I live are in the process of being cleaned organized and in some cases remodeled. I'm taking care of my vehicle rather than relying on the constant state of neglect. I feel mostly better physically; I ache because I've done more walking than I am accustomed to. (I went to Busch Gardens 2 Saturdays in a row, and spent time walking around on Sunday with one of my best friends) I reckon those to be considered improvements.
My coworkers have noted that I am acting less miserable, look healthier in the face, and have lost belly weight (beer guts evidentially go away quickly). I am in better spirits than I have been in a long time. I've lost 20 pounds since leaving. And I've been eating fair portions.
So almost dying = good thing.
How have things been around here? My reading has diminished to almost nothing. Any big news?