Time Out – When death came knocking at my door

I woke up with a strange feeling. Something was off but I couldn’t tell right away what it was. I had work that night and didn’t have time for random out of left field complications. I looked at the clock and it had only been a couple hours. “Shit” I thought to myself, “I’ve gotten no sleep and tonight is going to be miserable.” I went downstairs because the initially seemingly normal discomfort started turning into pain. I chose to ignore it at first, but as a health care provider myself, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that this wasn’t just “normal stuff”. An hour went by and things rapidly started getting worse. I started wondering if I should go to the emergency room but… “ugh who wants to sit there for hours only to get no help?”. Last time they gave me an ibuprofen and sent me home. I was nearly paralyzed from a pinched nerve in my neck and an ibuprofen was the best they could do. Besides I had work. Another 20 minutes ticked by. I checked the ER wait time… it wasn’t too bad. I could probably get out before I had my shift… at the same hospital. Then things rapidly changed. I started panicking. I didn’t know where my husband was so I just decided to take myself… strong independent woman and all… always alone. Always only reliant on myself. Just as I was about to leave the house I happened upon my husband who was fast asleep in the guest bedroom under a pile of laundry that still needed to be folded. “Typical,” I thought to myself as I belted his name out causing him to spring out of bed. I told him we needed to leave now. Something was wrong and at the worst it would just be another useless trip to the ER.

But it wasn’t. That quick decision to go based on a hunch that something was wrong was what saved my life.

That morning had been like any other. I was in perfect health, as always. Came home from work, took a shower, ate something, and went to bed. Never would I have guessed that within just 2 hours my health would take such a plunge south. Such a plunge that the ER decided they didn’t even have time to take me to the OR to fix the problem at hand. No anesthesia, no time. 9 extravasated attempts at a peripheral line, and a baby dose of fentanyl later – the needful procedure was performed right there… on the spot. Raw. But it had saved my life which was, after all, worth it.

I’ll talk about what happened in a later blog post because it’s something every female should know about. Today isn’t that day. What I do want to talk about however is time. How valuable it is. How finite it is. How invincible we aren’t.

I’ve always had the personality that thinks a gazillion times before doing something that has to do with another person. Habits, manners, etiquette – these things are of utmost importance to me. Whether someone communicates or not. Whether someone is considerate of another person or not. These are the things that I value. I acknowledge that everyone values different things, some people may not value these as highly as I do. However, after the above incident especially, I started thinking more seriously about what my values were and what kind of people I wanted surrounding me.

Respecting me means one must respect my time, because my time is not infinite. I don’t have clones. I don’t have a time turner.

Respecting my time means I matter to you. My presence matters to you. My feelings matter to you. How your actions impact me matter to you.

That had I died that day it would have mattered to you.

No one’s time on this planet is infinite. We all have an expiration date. Multiple, perhaps but sometimes we’re able to bypass them. I realized that day however that it does matter to me if someone is considerate of my time or if they consider it to be something that can be wasted.

Like money spent on stocks is finite and valuable, choosing where to spend my valuable albeit finite time is an investment. When time and time again that investment fails to materialize it is heart breaking. It literally hurts. It’s time I was alive that was wasted on an investment that had no expectation of a return. What happens when there is no return on investment? We stop investing.

Being alive means using the finite time we have to do things we enjoy. We do things that are good for ourselves and others… and a part of that good is respecting another’s finite time on this planet. If things had ended that day I wouldn’t have had any more time to spend with my family. My friends. You. It doesn’t mean that mutual time spent is always going to materialize, but leaving someone hanging with no communication means that their investment in you didn’t pan out (which is okay if communicated)… but the problem is that they weren’t able to pull out of that investment in time and put it somewhere else with a higher guarantee of return.

So next time another person asks me why I make such a big deal out of my time – this is it. I’ll put it all in this space. Because it matters much more than you think.

Just ask a dead person.

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