I tried to comply, but my chest broke into a convulsive coughing attack.
He moved his instrument to my back. “Again.”
I was barely able to fight off another violent and unproductive fit of hacking and wheezing.
The doctor leaned against the wall and folded his arms. “You’ve got plenty of stuff banging around in there. I’ve seen too many people your age die from pneumonia. I don’t want you to die.”
Pneumonia? I’ve never even had bronchitis before.
“Me neither. Sir, I don’t have health insurance and I’ve already lost three days of work because of this. What are my options?”
The doctor shook his head and went on a rant about the state of our health care system and his beliefs about pharmaceutical companies. I agreed with every word he said, and I was thankful for his time in discussing my least expensive treatment options. I certainly got my $85 worth for the visit.
During my ride to the pharmacy, I thought about my childhood friend, Bruce, who had died from complications with pneumonia. He was “my age” when he died. I began to think about my overall health and well-being.
The pharmacist filled the only prescription I could afford, an antibiotic that would hopefully keep me out of a hospital bed, or worse, my death bed.
It cost me a full day of wages to pay for the office visit and the medication.
I was depressed, because I was tired of being sick and tired, all the time. And I was desperate for relief.
I scoured my medicine cabinet and found an unfinished bottle of Oxycodone pills for a surgery I had two years earlier. I hoped the “codone” part was similar to codeine, that is commonly used to treat a bad cough. The pills brought me little relief.
My mother-in-law sent me an unused portion of the high-strength narcotic that a doctor prescribed to treat her recent battle with pneumonia. The results are still pending.
In the few quiet and pain free moments I have, I think about the doctor’s words, “I don’t want you to die,” although from a different perspective.
Am I really living? Am I doing everything that I am capable of doing? Am I treating my body, my mind, and my spirit with the respect that it deserves?
The simple answer is: No.
More often than not, I let circumstances or people dictate the direction I am heading in life. I feel like I am on auto pilot, and I’m just along for the ride. The problem is, the scenery that surrounds me is ugly!
I don’t want to live in this place anymore.
I no longer want to hear the “noise and traffic” of people who surround me. I don’t want to play a part in the soap-opera drama of other peoples’ lives. I am tired of being stepped on, as a rung of someone else’s ladder towards success.
This is not a mid-life crisis. I’m not talking about buying a Corvette, beginning a sky-diving hobby, or travelling the globe. I don’t live my life based on the contents of a bucket list. I never have and I never will.
I simply want to live knowing that I am using the full capacity of my potential. I am nowhere near where I think I could be.
For years, I have let others determine my value and my worth.
I’ve been a meaningless and replaceable cog in the wheel of gigantic corporations. I’ve worked for a few family-owned businesses that degrade and belittle the workers who have paved the way to their success. I have wasted time and effort trying to please “friends.”
I am tired of walking down the same streets of life, day after day.
When my strength returns, when I kick this virus, and when I can think clearly, I will start living.
My priority will be to take care of Number One (Me), because I’m tired of people Number Two-ing on me. And that’s not the narcotics talking :)
Be Kind. Be Thankful, Be Significant.