Singin’: This’ll Be the Day That I Die,
This’ll Be The Day That I Die
Bobbie L. Washington
I’ve never thought of myself as anything special. I never had a lot of things growing up and never expected much out of life as a kid when you live below a certain economic line. However I did had my health. As far as I knew, I was in general good health with the exception of having the whooping cough that kept me out of school for seventeen days. Over the course of time, I had sustain a back injury while in high school when my elbows didn’t lock and I fell back with a set of dead weights. Yeah, that was pretty ugly at the time. I was in gymnastic and track and field and the coaches weren’t happy with that.
As I got older, college days were unremarkable with no health problems or injuries. As the years went by, I experienced a hernia problem, more specifically, a right inguinal hernia that I suffered through for a month. I remember tearing it because some lazy workers weren’t doing their job and I went and picked up some signage that wasn’t my job to do. That was a hard lesson to learn as you come to the reality that you will be cut on and that you’ll be carrying around a scar for the rest of your life. It happens and you move on.
Time ticks on and you move on to another career and friends. You’re invited along to a restaurant because your friends know that you are a vegetarian so you accept the invitation. While dining at the establishment you bite down on a cornbread muffin and then there is a loud pop. Everybody stops eating and you spit of a chunk of glass. I know that’s not a part of the recipe. So you go the the doctor and you discover that you have damaged the joint at the point where the mouth hinges to the skull and know you have temporomandibular joint dyspepsia or TMJ. That little dining experience cost me two years of having my mouth wired shut. I had a choice though, either the doctor could wire my mouth shut or he could go in a perform surgery and run the risk of hitting one or more major nerve that stems for that joint. In other words, I could have run the risk of losing my hearing, my sense of taste, my vision, my smell or having some paralysis to the face. And I thought having a scar would be the worst of that.
So you get through this chapter as well in life. You learn a little more about yourself, you have the ability to speak with your mouth closed and if you had to, take up the art of ventriloquism. So what more could there be? Well, how about appendicitis. I got that later on. I was eating a baked potato and felt a slight twinge in my stomach. Me being a male heterosexual, didn’t think much of it and went to bed feeling fine. As I slept, I felt the pain of a thousand pains hitting me in four compartmental sections. I had not called anyone as I went through that pain that night. So the next morning I wasn’t okay but was trying to figure out what was going on. I was in radio at the time working as an executive producer and we had on doctors as guest to talk about things in their respective fields. There as an internist, a plastic surgeon, and a psychiatrist. My thinking was that this is a panic attack so I called the psychiatrist. He said you should go to the doctor but I insist that it must be a panic attack. After four days of pain and not being able to move, I was taken by a friend to the hospital and they were shocked. Nobody is suppose to live past two days when their appendix burst and I waited four days. I was thirty minutes away form circling the drain. All of my internal organs had turned black. But this isn’t the day that I died.
On January 29, 2015, I died. What led up to this day was me not feeling great because I was stressed out and working seven days a week doing architecture, filming and editing and running a horse ranch. My sleeping habits were horrible averaging three hours on occasions. I was peeing a lot, my vision was blurry and I was tired all the time. I went to do some filming and I didn’t have the strength to pick up the camera case. I knew I was in trouble then. I have always been a good researcher so I googled my symptoms and the results told me that it was diabetes. I didn’t want to believe that. But this kept getting worse and a finally asked a friend to drive to to a clinic to see what this was. On the way there I had my first seizure. I lost the ability to speak and my left arm fold on itself. I could understand what my friend was saying as he drove me so that part of the brain was still functioning. I arrived to the clinic and they told my friend to take me to the hospital. This was drama building up as time was not on my side. We take off to the hospital and when we arrive there for check in, I had my second seizure. I’m wheeled into the ER and as a doctor is seeing me I had to go pee. I make it to the restroom and back and then I have my third seizure.
I told that I had conversations with two of my colleagues there. I have no memory of that. I was diagnosed DKA with is Diabetic Ketoacidosis and that’s not a good thing. What I found out three months later was that I had died. What was it like? I didn’t have this out of body seeing myself from above experience. There was a void of nothing. There was time lost. There was the darkness, just a sea of darkness. People have died and come back and tell these glorious tale of seeing the light at the end of some tunnel or seeing relatives or loved ones but I experienced none of that. The only thing I remember was the quiet of it all, no fanfare, no muss, a certain peacefulness to it all.
I’m a vegetarian, nonsmoker, non-drinking, don’t do drugs Type 1 diabetic. At best, I would say that I’m at 75% with good days and bad days all rolled into one. I was told that diabetics must consume 2000 calories per day. I’m barely consuming 1000 calories a day. I’m not a big food person. If there was a way to eliminate eating, I would do it. I find it to be a chore and now it is since I have to do this three times a day. And as I go through all of these test, they are finding other things that are wrong with me internally. On the surface, I am a facade of supposedly good health but beneath it, there are things that are going on. Of the laundry list of health issue is something called an aorta root dilation. I just know found out about this last month and from what I found, it’s not a good thing.
That male heterosexual thing is a problem when it comes to man’s health. We ignore pains in our body until someone points out to you that this is the problem. I’ve been having pain in my chest for quite sometime and this is the problem. I will be seeing a cardiologist in September and I am not looking forward to the conversation where they tell me that my chest will be cracked open but at the same time, I’m resigned to that outcome. It may not be as bad as I perceive or it could be as problematic as I think. This may be the one where I won’t come out of it. As Captain James T. Kirk said in Wrath of Khan, “ I’ve cheated death. I’ve tricked my way out of death and patted myself on the back for my ingenuity.”
Maybe I won’t be able to cheat death this time out. I know I don’t have the strength because I’m always weak in the morning, low blood sugar. Growing up in East St. Louis, Illinois, you witness a lot a bad things including your friends dying of an early age due to violence and drugs and car accidents. I’ve had my fair share of bullets flying by me and car accidents over the years and as you get older, you realize that you would like to live a long life. It’s something in your brain that gets turned on when you’re in your twenties that says there’s more to life if only you give it a chance. I would like to live a long life and impart some advice to that next generation. I will try to hold on but if that is not the case, it’s been a slice.