Updated: Nov 24, 2021
I know everyone must be curious how I managed to get an invite to visit Hell. Furthermore, you might ask, how did you do it twice in under a year. Well, my friends the answer is simple. Spend years and years treating your body like an amusement park ride instead of a temple and turn a blind eye on all the signs showing you that something is clearly not right.
Do this so well that your pancreas stages an intervention with your liver and all the members from your blood and chemical balance team. They get together and come to the conclusion that “enough is enough, we are putting an end to this right now.” That’s the point where your pancreas tells everyone, “No worries boys, I got this!” and delivers to you the most crippling, debilitating, pain inducing moment of your life know as pancreatitis.
My first such occasion to have the pleasure of this experience came the spring of 2020 right at the beginning of the pandemic. I returned home from a long day working as Chef at one of Hamilton, Ontario’s best restaurants and mentioned to my wife that I my stomach was upset and crampy. I didn’t think anything of it and put it off to indigestion. Maybe a few drinks will kill that pain. At 4am I wanted to jump off a cliff. My pain was horrible, but I figured I could make it until morning and go to a clinic, see a doctor, get some meds and off I would go. I was outside the clinic 15 minutes before they opened so I could get right in. I hadn’t taken into account that now they were only taking patience with an appointment due to Covid protocols. I really did not want to go to the hospital, there is a nasty virus in there. I thought it might get better. By the time my wife made it back to the car I was near passing out from the pain and she said,
“YOU ARE GOING TO THE HOSPITAL.”
I spent 1 week in a makeshift intensive care recovery unit. Apparently, the first 3 days were touch and go. It is hard for me to remember as I was on a morphine drip the whole time and it took 6 days of constant intravenous drugs to fix the chemical imbalance that had occurred inside me and to balance my bloodwork. It took 3 months for me to recover from this experience.
On April 30th, 2021 it happened again.
This time around I am still unsure what exactly caused this attack, but I think I had become a little complacent in my recovery efforts, felt as though everything was better, when clearly it wasn’t, and let my nutrition slip. With my body having already endured such trauma, it did not take much to push me back into the hospital again.
This time it was much worse.
I spent another week in intensive care. I had to be in an isolation area known as step up where I had a team of nurses and doctors looking over me 24/7. There is a moment I will never forget where for a short time I believe that I died. I remember everything going black and the feeling of my brain, body and soul sliding down a dark hill into a tunnel. I remember the feeling of slipping away, and I remember screaming “no, no, no, I’m not ready!!” and then resigning myself to the idea that I didn’t get a choice. I remember sliding into this abyss and when I got to the bottom thinking,
“so this is what it feels like when you die.”
Fortunately, I was wrong.
I am not sure if any of this is accurate or if it was a hallucination brought on by the trauma my body had endured and the cocktail of medication they had me on, but it is real to me, and that was the moment I decided to take control of my life and would never use my history as an excuse, ever again.
To quote Bob Dylan…” The times they are a-changin” (Dylan, 1963)
Dylan, B (1963). The Times They Are A-Changin’ Warner Bros. Inc. The Times They Are A-Changin’ | The Official Bob Dylan Site