The other shoe

It was summer ‘22 and I had an amazing month. My side project started taking off. I reached that elusive $10K MRR with my productised services. I made my first (and only) birdie in golf. I got engaged (which is something that people around me can relate to, a lot better than anything else going on in my life). And was gonna go to Disneyland for the 1st time ever, for my 30th birthday (not an accomplishment, but still pretty cool).

Life was great! In fact, everything was going so well that I started to get paranoid. When is the other shoe gonna drop? Does it have to? Maybe it will not. 

And then I got covid and it fucked up everything. Including me.

I got it in July, a few days before my birthday (bye bye Disneyland) after being super careful for 2 years. And when I say super careful, I mean borderline OCD, sanitising all the groceries when they come through the door, super careful. I didn’t have many symptoms when I was positive, but as soon as I turned negative, I started having the worst breathing problems I’ve ever had. Partly because I never had breathing problems before. And partly because it got so bad that I could only get max 2h of sleep per night, yet I was stuck to a bed and couldn’t have anything with any sort of smell around me, including food or my pets.

After a week of this I ended up in A&E. I wasn’t able to get a full breath that whole time. I was so sad and scared. I thought I might actually die. This was it. I was gonna be just a +1 on the covid damage numbers. Not the way I thought I’d go out..

The A&E hospital was chaotic. I was terrified and could barely stand. They’ve drawn a lot of blood from me and did an x-ray. And after 7 hours of waiting in a room, oscillating between sitting in the fetal position on the floor and lying at a very specific angle in a bed, the doctor comes to draw yet another vile of blood and to respond with this, when I asked if there is anything they can do to help my breathing: “Did you come here expecting to get something?” then took the blood and left..

What in the fuck does that even mean!? You entitled monster with a god complex!! Why am I being treated like this? Why did any of this happen to me? Why am I scapegoating this shit doctor? I hate feeling like a victim.

I was furious. Still sad. But now angry too. This was just making my breathing worse. I still had no answers and was being treated like some sort of convict for no reason. If I troubleshoot a bug on a site and can’t find what’s causing it, I’m either a shit dev or it’s time to close the laptop and look again tomorrow cos my brain is fired. By no means does that mean the bug doesn’t exist or that it’s now gone..

After waiting 30 more minutes in this hellish limbo, I left. It was the middle of the night now. And I left almost the same way I went in. Just angrier. Still not being able to breathe and still thinking I was probably just gonna die.

Thankfully (weird thing to be thankful for but) my fiance has asthma. I tried his inhaler during this week and it didn’t seem to work. But now, after being kicked to the curb by this doctor, without any hope to get better or even a way to get a full breath in the foreseeable, I took a looot more than the recommend few puffs and I started being able to breathe just a teeny tiny bit better! Enough to be able to fall asleep.

Everything went from an amazing time in my life to feeling the worst I’ve ever felt. Pretty fucking quickly. The other shoe had indeed dropped and it did so in style and with a HUGE bang.

After this whole A&E bullshit debacle I ended up needing to use an inhaler every day. There was a period of about 2 months when I was a shadow of myself / a lab rat testing different medicine from the bed and reporting back to my doctor via phone (still no IRL consults possible) until finally found an inhaler that started working.

That helped me go from being 10% of myself to about 50%. And I cannot express how good that felt. It was so long since I felt anything like myself, that 50% was purely amazing.

Some time has gone by now.

I’ve had this for 8 months. Life is still not great. One week I can work out and lift weights, and then the next have a “cold” that lasts a month. My breathing’s gotten better, since upgrading my inhaler to an even higher strength and learning I might have late onset asthma.

It’s been hard to feel this weak and powerless. It’s been hard for everything to feel so out of control.

But it’s strange how we get used to things and accept that this is just life, for now..

My new baseline is very different to what it was. But gotta get on with stuff and adapt as otherwise what’s the point? Time just whizzes by, waiting for nobody.