We have been on a journey the last three to four months with selling our home, moving, remodeling, becoming debt free, and capping it of by going on a nice vacation cruise. I have continued to work from my home office while the various remodel and construction projects are under way. My wife and I have completed some of this remodel work ourselves, while the rest was finished using sub-contractors. We crammed a lot of activity into a short period, attempting to get projects completed before our vacation. I had been in great health through this transition and for the week immediately after the cruise.
The first week back from our vacation was rough returning to work. The nature of my work means that essentially 95% of the activity waits for me to manage when I return. No one else does the work for me. Our cruise was intentional in having an electronic blackout with no phones, internet, and email. This was our attempt to disconnect and recharge the batteries. It worked!
I came back to hundreds of emails and new tasks that needed handling. I attempted to balance this with replacing all our windows and installing new mini-blinds. I topped off the first weekend back with a 9-mile hike between Saturday and Sunday.
Then my health began to suffer
I developed a cough on the Monday after my hiking. It got worse Tuesday and that night I barely slept two hours. I felt like I was coughing up a lung. My wife called my doctor to schedule an appointment however he could not see me that week.
Wednesday night brought no relief or sleep. This was driving me crazy and I knew I couldn’t go another day in this condition. (BTW – I very rarely get sick. This is highly unusual for me.) I went to the emergency room at 6 AM Thursday.
My vitals were taken and the ER doctor examined me. He order x-rays of my chest, which then revealed I had pneumonia. He mentioned I was dehydrated and that I had a bacterial infection that he prescribed treatment for. He also gave me some heavy-duty cough syrup with Codeine – life began to improve immensely. 🙂
I received a couple health surprises from the doctor
I was able to see my doctor first thing Monday morning to follow-up my ER visit. He read the ER doctor and x-ray technician’s notes, and then dropped this bombshell on me: you have an 18 cm lump on your lung that is probably from the pneumonia, but we should get it checked out. I thanked God that I am a non-smoker!
After working through the insurance company, I was able to schedule a CT scan that required them to inject dye into my blood stream. That was completed yesterday –
I have no idea what the results are at this point.
[Update 3/11: The doctor gave me great news that the spot on my lung is arthritis, probably caused from a prior skiing injury in my youth. Also, he is not concerned about the enzyme level, since the antibiotic treatment can cause that particular side effect. We are still proceeding with the blood test next week just in case.]
Surprise #2: I was told I have some elevated enzymes. This is probably attributed to some prescribed medicine that I started taking about four months ago. I believe this will be resolved with the next scheduled blood tests. They should be able to adjust my dose or change the type of medicine.
I have little energy and tire easily
This really kicked my butt. I have never felt this sick before and it has forced me to really slow down. I am finally sleeping well each night and I am attempting to nap at least 30 minutes each day. Walking up a hill can make me feel winded and start a fresh round of coughing. I have been quiet on the blog and negligent on visiting my favorite sites while attempting to rest.
The good news is I am at about 80% energy now and I have lost weight because I ate very little for a week. My appetite is back and I am monitoring how much food I eat – trying to stay at healthy portions.
Getting sick helped me appreciate my health
I have had a lot of time the last two weeks to reflect about my life, my health, and how much longer I should continue working. My biological father died at 73 and my mother moved to a nursing home at 71 due to Parkinson’s. It is difficult to see my closet relatives in poor health and at such a young age. It seems that for many of us we must hit rock bottom to receive a wakeup call, as Luke mentioned in his recent article.
My thoughts are leading me toward my wife stopping work very soon and we start traveling more in our camper. With my friend Steve buying his rig recently I have been feeling motivated and more in a retirement mood now. Heck, he is doing it in his early 30’s! I know I can continue to work for a bit more with my employer remotely and still enjoy the camping experience.
Dear readers, I think the Just One More Year mantra will now morph into just a few more months.