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What I learned from dying; Sometimes I forget I’m dying

Sometimes I forget that I’m dying. Sure, I feel super tired almost always, I spit up foul smelling bile all day and my hands and feet are numb, but that just equals sick in my mind. It’s easy to forget that those things are signs of my slow departure from this earth.

I’m pretty sure I was supposed to either be dead by now or making good progress toward it, based on the hints I got from doctors early on and how often doctors and nurses hear my diagnosis and assume I’m already under Hospice care.

But I’m very much not dead and as far as I can tell I haven’t even headed that direction lately, but then again that could all turn quickly like it did in September when I almost died from sudden stage 5 kidney failure, pneumonia and sepsis.

I realized the other day that I was shopping for Christmas presents without any thought of whether I’d be able to celebrate it, which is a good improvement over recent months when planning anything more than a couple of days out introduced worries over whether I’d be able to even get out of bed that day.

Nowadays I’m reliably getting out of bed every morning, although it doesn’t take much activity after that to bring me right back for a quick rest, but I’ll invariably be back up later for some other small task like helping my fiancée sort through my boxes of stuff in the garage.

As I write how much better I’m doing it’s still easy to think about how things used to be. I’ve almost grown embarrassed to keep saying, “I used to not be this wimpy” to new people I meet. My pants that hang off me might be a clue that, but now I wish I’d taken more pictures back when I was in shape so I could prove it now, not that proving it helps anything except my pride.

My tiny legs and arms are a constant reminder of how much things have changed, but considering how many times I wasn’t able to walk without help, having bony but functional legs is a blessing.

I looked in the mirror the other day and I noticed my chin had loose skin that used to not be there. I’m not sure what that’s about, but it was another reminder that my appearance keeps changing and not really in any good ways.

But still all these changes equal sick, not dying, right?

Of course my diagnosis and my odds of survival don’t bear that out, but it’s nice to sort of forget about what’s looming for a little bit.

By Dave Taylor

dave.hancockclarion@gmail.com

2 Comments

  1. Shanonn Harpe on December 2, 2021 at 3:46 pm

    Dave, we love you.

  2. Dennis Panella on December 3, 2021 at 12:28 pm

    Dave,
    You are a very strong warrior! I too have this terrible disease. I was very fortunate to have the IVor Lewis surgery back in Feb 2021. I have my up’s and down’s mostly up’s but some days bring new challenges. Your stories brought goosebumps. Thank you for sharing!

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