Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Well, I Guess I'm Alive

A burst appendix, 4-5 days in the hospital, over $20k in medical bills and I'm just now starting to feel comfortable determining I'm actually alive. Not alive and well, but alive, nonetheless.

Last week, I went for my follow-up with the surgeon who saved my life. I figured I'd have to pay for the appointment. When I was given a sheet at the end of the visit that said NC (No Charge), I actually started to tear up. That's what this mountain of medical bills has reduced me to. I asked the admin assistant to tell the doctor that Huxford said he's the best doctor ever and it was all I could do to keep the flood gates from opening. Not having to pay $80 or so dollars led me to want to cry in relief. I can't express how much that is NOT me. Sure, I cry at the end of Old Yeller, but through all the tough financial times I've ever been through, I've never come close to being reduced to tears.

I think I've got a bit of the pneumonia. They warned me it was possible and I thought I did enough of the breathing exercises, but the lungs still feel full of something that shouldn't be there. Redoubling the efforts on the breathing exercises and buying some Mucinex in hopes that it will lead me to some productive coughs to get this crap out.

My contract was technically terminated for about two days. The manager at the company that I'm working my contract at decided that, when I left a voicemail advising him that I had spiked a 101 fever with shakes and chills, which my discharge papers indicated should lead me to return to the emergency room. I apologized for having naively thought I could make it back in last Thursday, but would prefer to stay home and recover a bit more. I acknowledged that, if this put him in a pinch, I would drag myself in and just hope having Friday-Sunday off would minimize any negative impact.

Never heard anything back from him. When I tried to inquire Monday about what the schedule looked like for the evening, I was informed by a colleague that he had been told I had been jettisoned. Gotta love living in a right-to-hire/right-to-fire state, stuck only being able to get work as a contractor and dealing with people that are not only cold-blooded but don't even have the decency to make sure you're told that you're done.

When I reached out to the actual contract company and a few colleagues, I was miraculously restored to being able to work that evening. And I was happy to attend. The sad truth is that I need any chance to generate income right now. That means just going back to work with the guy who was ready to fire me because I needed an extra day to recover from having an organ burst and be ripped out of me. That means not approaching him to try to get an explanation or explain how I didn't mean to leave him in the lurch, for fear of my Irish coming out and getting me fired...again.

I just came home from my second night working. 10 hours total so far for the week. I'm more than a bit lethargic at this time. I move slowly and deliberately right now, both due to babying my abdomen and the lesser lung capacity I feel I have. I was asked to come in early tomorrow and nearly had an anxiety attack over trying to figure out how to explain to them that I'd like to just limit my work this week to the main project I was hired for. It involves reimaging computers, which means I don't have to be all that ambulatory. Work during the day often involves quite a bit of movement and even lifting several heavy objects (like dual monitor stands with the monitors already attached). When I finally mustered up the courage to express my concerns, I had to wonder whether the "I understand: your health is the most important thing right now" would hold up as legitimate. It didn't come from the guy who apparently fired me, but I feel like I can't trust anyone to actually be sincere and understanding of the health issues I have right now.

All that to say: I'm reasonably certain I'm alive...and trying to figure out if that's a good thing.


  1. Oof. Glad you're up on your feet again, but really sorry that you *have* to be. Good luck with your recovery... and with avoiding a confrontation with that jerk manager.

  2. Glad to see things are looking up again. Best wishes.


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