Paraphrasing one of my favorite authors, Mark Twain, I am not dead...well, not yet anyway. At the current rate, I should have a few decades left in the tank!
A few weeks back, I was not nearly as optimistic. An absolutely demonic viral infection possessed my intestinal tract, and the experience was, by far, the most challenging physical episode of my life. I've been shot, beaten and jumped off a motorcycle at 175 MPH, but none of it can even come close to the agony and despair of this experience. For five days straight, save for a day at urgent care as I was infused with a gallon of IV fluids, I had two places to be...in bed, or on the toilet. Dysentery-like symptoms meant five days of violent abdominal cramping, cold sweats and fever, and continuous painful diarrhea. My poor wife was on 24-hour vigil for the seemingly inevitable ambulance call that thankfully never came. I had the option of being hospitalized and in greater comfort, but at the typical exhorbitant cost, as well as exposure to a hospital full of other dangerous diseases. No thanks.
When the fever finally broke five days later, I was 13 pounds lighter and a changed human being on many more levels. Biologically, chemically, even mentally and emotionally, it was as if a panicked machine operator had smacked the "emergency stop" big red button. The diarrhea would continue for another week, but a careful and bland diet finally brought that back under control.
One aspect whose severity I was yet to fully understand was how this horrific episode had basically killed my natural immune protection. A healthy gut is key to good immune system function, and mine had been ripped into anything but. As my body began to recover, the next waves were about to crash into shore.
With my defenses down, a series of new viral infections started. Colds, coughs, aches and pains. I was being tag-teamed by the full spectrum of what's going around in my region. Finally, I after a couple weeks of this, I went back down with a severe respiratory viral infection. After being on my back again last weekend with fever and sweats, and about forty pounds of the most objectionable mucus I have ever seen lodged into every orifice of my noggin, I was taken to the hospital again Monday. Verdict? Pretty much the same as before: "Your vitals are good, x-rays are good, we don't dare try antibiotics lest we destroy the progress of your developing gut, so go home and tough it out." As the gastrointestinal part of me was again chugging along nicely, I wasn't headed back into the tunnel of destruction that had started this whole mess, and that was good enough for me.
Today, I am a total of 20 pounds lighter, and it's almost over. The latest battle has been won. The virus' last effects linger ever so slightly, but less every day. I am typing this from my son Adam's wedding site which will occur this afternoon. If the good Lord has decided I have now been through enough, I won't pick up virus number five.
For those of you who are family with my wife Aubrey's ailments, this has of course been a time of great concern for us. The initial virus episode I suffered would have likely killed her. She and I have been in virtual quarantine from one another for weeks now, her living in our Motorhome with me in the house. We've managed to keep her relatively healthy, although to our horror she did manage to get her very own GI virus alongside my respiratory one this last go. Fortunately, it was a junior player compared to the expert demon that took me out, and I am happy to report that we've both managed to get better enough in time for our son's wedding today. Sometimes, the light shines.
Next up: I have fallen well behind on critical business aspects during my absences. While my staff have done a fine job of keeping the ship afloat during my illnesses, as I am the main force managerially as well as in customer service, sales and marketing, we have fallen well behind. Embarrassingly behind. As I tend to these wounds, I ask not for sympathy so much as understanding. I will clean up my mess. It will take time, but I am
coming out of this with strong resolve and renewed purpose.
So that's it. This has been the most challeging year of my life for health maladies, especially in light of my dear Aubrey's near-fatal experience with lingering pneumonia earlier this year. They say that these experiences lead to better things. We are ready. I've had a lot of time to consider what that means. Where it goes from here. What's next. I am one ready sonofabitch.
To my suffering customers and aspiring customers, I am sorry. I will bring the boat back on course. I have been self-employed for 28 years, and I am no stranger to challenges. To be honest, I am more than a bit angry. Not at my customers, but at my crap luck. I am more than a bit miffed at having been compromised this way. That emotion is about to be re-tooled into action. The reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated indeed!