Friday, November 24, 2017

Something to Be Afraid Of

October 2, 2012


Walking past the Gibson Bus on my way to a meeting at Clinton Global Initiative - Every day last week I've had extra activities beyond my usually heavy workload

Every day last week I've had extra activities beyond my usually heavy workload. Midweek, though I didn't injure my back, I was suddenly having excruciating middle-back pain - this happened to coincide with the timing of my regular cancer follow-up examination, so in a way I thought, "How convenient." I spent a full day having the normal battery of test and a few more to address my back problem.

After a routine blood-pressure test my doctor said, "127 over 70 that's good." Well, I'm normally 110 over 70 and I felt that my systolic was most likely higher than normal because I was nervous about my back pain. I went home with basically a clean bill of health but my doctor thought I could have a bladder or urinary tract infection and prescribed antibiotics.

Later that night, the back pain worsened and my temperature and heart rate got very high. I could barely speak or control my muscles. I thought I may be having a stroke based on what I know of my old friend Luther Vandross' story. I called 911. My symptoms were very real but my mind was playing tricks on me and I became afraid.

Sometime the best fear generator is not knowing what's wrong. I waited for the emergency workers to arrive. I'd just been given a relatively clean bill of health and wanted to show them the new medication I'd taken.

My initial fear was reasonable - but as I worked harder to not pass out, I started to think about what was most likely happening. The ambulance arrived and I explained my story as clearly as I could. I adjusted my attitude and I started to slowly feel better. They took me to the hospital for a five hour ordeal. By the time I left my mind was in a good place and I'd reasoned that this was yet another infection that I've become more susceptible to since the first cancer surgery.

I was still a little nervous but I wasn't afraid. I believe the best defense against fear of the unknown is to embrace the fact that "I don't know." My motto is: Try not to be afraid until I'm absolutely positive there's Something to Be Afraid Of.

 


My regular cancer follow-up examination


I spent a full day having the normal battery of test


These fine guys gave me a few more test to address my back problem


My old friend Luther Vandross died of a stroke


The ambulance arrived and I explained my story to the St Lukes workers as clearly as I could


They took me to the hospital for a five hour ordeal


Chilling in my NYC apartment and my mind is in a good place


Try not to be afraid until I'm absolutely positive there's Something to Be Afraid Of


I try and stay positive and concentrate on feeling better