Home > Personal > Life-Threatening Illness = New Resolve

Life-Threatening Illness = New Resolve

25-Jul-06 10:17 pm EDT Leave a comment Go to comments
I’m back!  And on a personal note…so out comes the serious side again (as if there’s any other, riight?).
 
As many of you have heard, I recently faced one of the greatest challenges of my life: my 1st life-threatening illness.  The illness set in around June 15th, and symptoms unlike I’ve ever encountered before failed to disappear on their own.  Therefore on June 20th, I checked myself into Emergency at the Ottawa Health Sciences Centre’s General Hospital.
 
The cliche of "finding out who one’s friends are" in such a time of crisis applies.  It turned out I was suffering from a condition described as bacterial endocarditis.  This disease is essentially the formation and infestation of a staphlococi aureus bacteria on one’s heart valves and is a condition that kills one in four people.  I wished I could say that this condition resulted in all my friends coming to support me in my time of need – a time that could well have been my last few days on earth.  But that’s not really what happened.  And I’m left consequently with a profound sense of awe at the frequency and swiftness with which people who seem otherwise great and wonderful can either treat you with disrespect or kick you when you’re down.
It took me a long time to decide to put this up as my re-inaugural entry on my blog, but a convversation I had with a close friend this evening has made this subject something I wanted to share with those who take an interest in my life.  Because my perspective on it has changed a little as a result of this experience.  Up until now, I’ve taken it upon myself to care about my fellow man.  But others have pointed out that I do this sometimes at my own expense.  I can say without ego this is true, because I make the conscious effort and have seen the results.  But when that effort is so seldom rewarded, and when in times of crisis when I have a need and others choose not to be there the way I was for them, maybe it’s time to reevaluate that philosophy.
 
And I’ve had 6 weeks during my antibiotic therapy in which to do so.
 
The good news here is – I have completely recovered from the infection now and am headed back to work next week following a brief period of further convalecense at home.  Those who’ve "been there" for me and who’ve been supportive; they shall see very little change in the new Ross from the old.  Indeed, if anything I feel a powerful sense of loyalty to those who’ve been supportive.  In particular, I’d like to thank my family (espeically my cousin Monica without whom I’d never have made it these 6 weeks), my employer – Privasoft Corp. –  for its considerable, generous support during this very, very difficult period, and my new friends met in hospital Frank and Aubrey.  Frank espeically kept me sane with a smile on my face through the darkest times (of which there were many) – and that’s what real friends do for each other.  And thanks to Aubrey; who reminded me always I was never alone.
 
However, life’s taught be that I’m not getting any younger here and it’s just a fact I’m no longer able to afford to invest time in people who seem to find me a convenience more than a friend.  Life’s just too short.  They may expect to see big changes and, so far as they’ll be concerned, I’m afraid they may find me either more standoffish, or simply unavailable.  I can also say without any ego (hurt or otherwise) this has nothing to do with "getting even" or feelings of bitterness or any kind of betrayal (it’s summer after all, guys – I understand).  It’s how I should have appraoched things from the beginning, in fact.  It’s simply this: one can care about their fellow man, without the reverse being true.  But don’t expect the extent of that caring to go too damned far.  And yes, the painful truth is – those of whom I speak really, really do (even if they don’t wanna admit it to themselves).
 
It’s here thus I begin anew, as hard as change is.  Sometimes – it’s very hard indeed because for those of you left behind in the wake of this decision…well, I probably cared more than you’d care to know.
 
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Terry Glavin

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