The Aftermath 5:
The Will to Live
The waiting and worrying took its toll on me fast. After two weeks, I was not eating and pretty much spent all of my time in bed. The only things I got up for were going to the bathroom and putting the dog out.
I felt so very sick, and was running a fever of 102 degrees. Night sweats became the norm. My UHIC surgeon was gone all of July and August, on loan to another university. Calling UHIC didn’t get me anywhere. They would just tell me recovery was a long process.
I eventually had my son take me to the emergency room on a day I was feeling particularly bad. The ER doctor diagnosed anxiety and put me on medication for that. No one seemed concerned about the symptoms of infection I continued to have.
These two weeks, I felt as hopeless and helpless as I ever had. The depression was unbearable and I contemplated suicide. There seemed to be no reason to live. The harassment by creditors continued.
I spent every Monday with the phone and phonebook, making calls to every agency I could find trying to get some help. These consistently yielded nothing but tears. I was literally someone slipping between the cracks. At my age, with my previous income, no children younger than eighteen, and owning my home, there was nothing I would qualify for.
The middle of July, I made the decision to decide what to do, go on or give up. I suddenly felt a power, a spiritual awakening happen. I grabbed my notebook and began to write. First, I wrote, “Don’t worry. God is in charge.” I taped this to the small refrigerator I had by the bed. This simple thought was such a relief. Whatever was going to happen would not be my fault.
I assessed my situation and how I was living.
Again, in my notebook, I began to write out a list of rules I would live by:
I would get up by 10 AM
I would eat at least two meals a day, a meal consisting of at least three different foods
I would sit in my chair for two hours every afternoon
I would complete one word search puzzle daily to stimulate my mind
Between five and six PM, I would work on the foot-high stack of paperwork and forms I needed to complete for my medical bills, regular bills and to apply for some sort of assistance
There were more, but these are the most important ones. I had to start making the effort to take care of myself. These rules were not shared with anyone else. I was accountable only to myself. If I was going to live, I needed to follow them.
I muddled through the next six weeks using these, waiting for my surgeon to return September first.