So what changed? Why did I suddenly start taking notice of my body?
Well, one day I was walking up the stairs at work, at least that’s what I wanted to do, however half way I up found myself totally out of breath. I had to stop and sit on the steps for a few minutes before I could continue.
Recently I’d noticed my fitness levels weren’t what they normally were. On a recent holiday I found snorkelling quite tiring and over the last few weeks it had become harder to get up and down the basketball court. But not being able to walk up the stairs?
This was the point that I realised something was seriously wrong. My body had finally had enough of my idiotic behaviour. I’d pushed it past its breaking point and now I had to deal with the consequences.
So back to the doctor I went. He didn’t look too pleased by what he saw when I walked in. Apparently I was quite jaundiced in the face. I hadn’t noticed, and neither had the people around me because they saw me everyday, so to them, and me, this was how I was supposed to look. Several days later the result of my blood tests came back showing how bad my situation was.
It revealed that my red blood count level had dropped to 1/3rd its normal level. Why’s that bad? Well, red blood cells carry and release oxygen throughout the body. Having a low red blood cell count also causes iron deficiencies over time, and low iron inhibits your bone marrow from producing red blood cells. It’s all a bit of a vicious cycle really. All this meant that now I couldn’t climb a flight a stairs without feeling like I’d run a marathon.
My GP demanded that I go into hospital that night for surgery. He said that if I had another major bleed I would need a blood transfusion.
Say what? I couldn’t be that sick that I needed a blood transfusion, could I?
He rang my surgeon, but was told I’d have to wait for a week before I could be operated on. So instead he told me to go home and spend the week in bed. I wasn’t allowed to go to work, and I definitely wasn’t to play any sport, no basketball grand final for me then.
I did what he said, mostly. I went to watch my team win the basketball grand final, and I kind of took it easy at home. I’m pretty sure I didn’t go to work that week, but I was thinking about it. Also, I kinda, sorta, went to a wedding. It was an out of town wedding too. I don’t really remember too much about it as by this point I was vaguer than a Hollywood cheerleader.
In case you can’t tell, I have a tough time relaxing, and maybe following orders.
So Tuesday comes around and it’s time to get operated on, again. The nursing staff all commented on how bad I looked and I didn’t have too much energy. I remember lying there on the surgery table waiting, with my eyes closed, for the anaesthetist to get the drugs started when I was aware of the surgeon entering the room. I didn’t, more like I couldn’t, open my eyes to say hello, and I guess he thought I was under already because suddenly I felt this aggressive prodding sensation in my bum hole.
“Not asleep yet!” I remember blurting out. The entire room though this was hilarious and the last thing I remember before the blackness of the anaesthetic took hold was the entire room bursting out into laughter.
My point is that I was so ill that even trained medical staff couldn’t tell if I was awake or not.
But none of that mattered (and it makes for a funny story) because I was going to get these damn haemorrhoids fixed and I was going to be good as new. I was going to spend a week at home recuperating and then I would be back to my normal self.
But that didn’t happen. I never returned to work, and for the next two and a half years I lived a half life that almost broke me.