Inspiration from Gratefulness!

This holiday season is really playing monkey business with a huge product release I am attempting to mastermind with the team.

Nevertheless...

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and with it comes the obligatory necessary introspection for what is truly amazing in our universe. I ask myself the following question:

"For what right now am I truly grateful..."

My Answer: The discovery that VIBRANT LIFE exists!

I write half-baked entries here on The DEW View! that never make it to the home page (no cheap shots here where you tell me you think ALL the posts are half-baked...). One of those "never-finished" articles was a piece I wrote about my hospital experience in August. I am finishing it up right now...

I'll summarize the rest of this by saying that being thankful ONLY for "being alive" is like being grateful for dirty water... You deserve better... The happiest life is a fulfilled life -- where a passion for enrichment and meaning from who we are and what we affect provides a sense of purpose and outlet for gratefulness...

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You might have noticed that the airways have been rather silent on The DEW VIEW! I won't say that I had any good cause for the cone of silence. Rather I have been wearing more hats since the acquisition of my old company. You know: getting acclimated to a new leadership team, maintaining and growing existing relationships on the "whale hunting" front, and stabilizing a pretty cool technology that needs some "adult supervision"...

After a few hours in ER...

And then last week 2 weeks months ago happened... Let me tell you the conclusion and then work my way more gracefully backwards...

"I could have died but I didn't..."

Had I read this from another bog and perhaps as I reread your comments in the coming days, I will come to realize that I am being overly dramatic. This is my story to share...

I had been feeling pretty badly last week as I went through my usually frenetic pace of task juggling. I don't get sick much (or so I tell myself) so I didn't think much about it. I just downed some over the counter meds and predicted that it would all go away in a day or two...

By Friday, I was feeling pretty lousy... My wife must have asked me at least a dozen times if she should take me me to the emergency room. NO! (First off, it takes hours sitting in the waiting room to get any one's attention...)

Within a few hours my face started to swell... I guess it had been doing that all week; I just wasn't looking at myself in the mirror. A quick trip to my doctor got me a couple prescriptions of antibiotics to choke down - which I started immediately. Fast forward 24 hours and I am still no better...

Around 4AM in the morning, I got up, took a shower, and drove myself to the Emergency Room. The swelling was making it hard to breathe and my head looked like a cartoon from American Dad!

NO, I am not puffing out my cheeks in the picture!

The Emergency Room staff wisked me back immediately and began to insert tubes, needles and talk their internal "Doc Speak". I was told that everything they were giving me would make me sleepy, but that they could not allow me to go to sleep (I won't try to guess why...). I remember fading in and out through much of this process and nurses and doctors kept streaming through my room talking to me -- asking me what seemed to be the same questions over and over.

One moment sticks out in my mind specifically... Around 6:30AM, I faded back into remembrance due to a surgeon making notes... on my neck with a Sharpie. The discussion was fast and furious about performing a tracheotomy. It is a weird sensation to overhear a team of doctors discussing what part of your throat is the best location to jab in another tube... Weird (and in hindsight super scary)!

Luckily for me (and my throat), the nose and throat surgeon that was contacted threw on a pair of pants, jumped in his car, and made it to the hospital before the critical juncture. He suggested doing a "scope" first and then cutting a hole. Not much better, but with less blood, the surgeon pushed a tube through my nose and back down into my throat past the swelling that was closing my throat off.

Major crisis averted...

First look in the mirror after 100 hours on meds...

(Eerily relevant: I learned about a month later that a family friend died recently from a staff infection caused by a tracheotomy... Too close for comfort!)

From this point forward, three different head doctors worked with me for the next 100 hours in ICU as a cocktail of antibiotics,  steroids, and medicine was fed into my body. Without a clear sense of what was really wrong the doctors ran and reran everything from HIV tests to tropical infectious NIH "stuff" (not sure, just got briefed by the doctor on the results).

I remember the surgeon who headed up Infectious Diseases telling me way too many times: "This could have killed you. This could have killed you...". I got the hint. It wasn't comforting to the staff that they didn't know what really wrong... Certainly thinking about this after the fact is more than a little unnerving.

And so life just kind of stopped for a few days as I was stuck in bed with tubes and needles and a bed pan -- I got better.

I never imagined that I wouldn't make it or that "being flat on my back" wasn't just my temporary position. Looking back at the situation and replaying in my mind the events that occurred, I realize how crazy it could have been. But it wasn't... And I learned a great lesson:

"Life is the sum total of our involvement in it with our ourselves...." (DEWism)

Here is what I mean by that.

Life is going on whether I am a part of it or not. My involvement is voluntary. It really is. I can let things happen to me or I can take control and channel life through my consciousness and determination. I can be consciously aware of my impact on those around me, my life eco-system, and the destiny of those my vision has a lasting impact upon.

I am thankful I have learned this lesson and grateful for a chance to execute with this calling for a new year and another day tomorrow...

YOU?