Why I’ve Made My Peace With Death
Over the last two years many have faced an existential crisis. Having been left to cringe in fear, faced with the impending doom of the pandemic. Perhaps this is you? Then in the twenty years before the virus, the specter of terrorism loomed in the fallout of the Twin Towers. You also can’t forget the shadow of nuclear annihilation during the four decades of the Cold War.
But this impending threat of death no longer bothers me. I hope that it won’t frighten you either after you read this.
It all began eleven years ago in Minneapolis. In the years prior to this drama I’d dealt with eczema, but it never was serious. At the time it was limited to a dry irritating patch on my hands. I’d recently returned from a vacation in San Francisco. Back then I worked a tiresome job as a circuit tester building embedded computing devices. Then for reasons that I still don’t understand, my eczema exploded. The rash consumed all of the flesh on my hands and arms like a hungry fungus before a regiment of steroids put out the fire. I couldn’t work for weeks. I may not have been in real danger of death, but it taught me I wasn’t invinceable.
Six years later my eczema returned with a vengeance, but then it never really left. Despite my best efforts, months of steroid therapy failed to totally dislodge my rash. Its long clung to my left fingers like a stubborn gum. I don’t want your sympathy, just your understanding.
By this time I’d evolved into a job rebuilding medical equipment for the chronically unwell. Like people kept alive by pacemakers. My new job presented much more variety, but I paid for it with much more trepidation. The revamps were tough with each controller being reconstructed with the precision of a spacecraft. Lives depended on it. The frosting on my worry was that I was driving over two hours daily in the most ideal conditions.
Still hidden to me at the time was an infection out of sight on the back of my calf. If I noticed it at all, I’d surely assumed it was eczema. But I paid it no mind. My work was my life. Lives depended on it! But the infection didn’t care. It spread like a fire, slowly at first. I felt exhausted all the time.
Take care of yourself! Others too if you can.
But then it spread across my body like wildfire. Terrifying my mom when she visited my apartment. In an intervention she rushed me to the Emergency Room. It was Impetigo! A disease rare in adults. It is spread by touch and is recognized by a brown crust of dried blood plasma on top of ozzy red sores. It’s deadly on rare occasions. Happily the disease is readily treatable with antibiotics but the doctor feared I’d be scarred for life.
I was released from the hospital the same day. Still my recovery took weeks. The antibiotics took weeks to extinguish the sepsis. The hives were the worst with an itch that could drive you to insanity, and I was laid off.
I don’t want your sympathy. I’m still here. I made a full recovery.
My point is that you can cope with your worst fears.
What is the worst you’ve endured?