In part 1 of this saga, I talked about the lead up to (preparation for) and follow up to the TEDx Schenectady performance I did this past Saturday. If you have interest in how I prepared for an intensive presentation (and thus how you can as well), you can read that here.
Here in part 2, I’ll talk about goals, perspective, food poisoning and infection with regards to last Sunday.
Oh what a difference a day makes!
Last Sunday I awoke to a perfect day.
A gorgeously stunning sun shiny day.
I was feeling motivated and looking forward to getting a lot done.
I fed the cats, read some things that had been on my to-do list for a while and planned out my to-do for the week over some coffee. I went down to the local farmers market, got some groceries for the week, ate a spinach and cheese empanada from a local vendor that I’ve supported in the past, and headed back home to catalog and review the latest batch of films for the next FCI film festival.
Somewhere around noon, I paused to take a break from cataloging and got up to get a drink of water. When I sat back down I felt a chill.
It wasn’t really cool enough for me to be cold.
Several minutes later, my whole body stated shaking.
I knew what this was. This was food poisoning.
Sparing you the gory details but suffice to say that, as my wife was out of town, I did everything I could to just make it to the finish line on my own in the worst 28 hour endurance test I’ve ever had the misfortune to be subject to (as a reminder for long-time readers – this is from a person who, to meet the requirements of a medical test he subjected himself to once for remuneration, had to stay awake for 63 hours straight in bed in an eight lux room (something darker than dusk but not night time), without any time cues or artificial stimulus, without moving, without caffeine or chemical stimulant, drinking water, eating 1/4 pieces of pb&j sandwiches at regular increments, and not knowing how long he would have to stay awake for).
The next morning after the fever broke, I noticed a large red rash that hurt to the touch, covering much of my lower left leg. I assumed that I slept on the leg wrong and cut off the blood supply. A trip to the doctor’s several days later provided the explanation that I had a substantial staph infection. Additionally, due to the localization of the infection and the severity of the rash, I had probably been battling a staph infection for a while asymptomatically and that it was only when I got the food poisoning that the body couldn’t fight the initial infection anymore.
And this was interesting because for much of the last several months, I was just perpetually exhausted. I would get home and just be wiped. I would have to force myself to stay awake after 8pm. It made no sense. It does now.
Getting sick was a drag, but I had a number of things to be grateful for.
- Had it happened a day earlier – there’s NO way the TEDx speech would have happened. So I’m glad that didn’t get ruined.
- It revealed a real illness that had been lurking inside of me. You can’t treat what you don’t know is here.
- It got me focused. While writhing around in agony from food poisoning there wasn’t a single thought that went through my head for any length of time that didn’t come back to my immediate well being.
- At the end of the day, I play guitar. I don’t take that for granted.
I see a lot of advice for musicians and guitar players that appears contradictory, but it’s often contradictory because the advice that you might need in your 10th year of playing guitar isn’t necessarily the advice you need in your first 3 months of playing guitar.
I had a LOT I wanted to get done this week. It didn’t happen. Life happened instead. It’s inconvenient but it’s not a big deal. I’m on this trip for the long haul. I’ve seen peaks and valleys and will continue to visit both of them because the only way to not see them is to decide you’re not going to go anywhere further. That’s a creative death sentence.
Now I’m going to go play some guitar.
As always, thanks for reading.