After being employed every day for 35 years, I took the opportunity to retire April 1st. However, between March 23rd and March 28th, I went from an eye exam to a golf ball sized brain tumor diagnosis. By April 3, I was scheduled for surgery April 10th. After 7 hours on the operating table I spent 3 nights and 3 days in neuro-intensive care through Friday the 13th. Recovery followed by retirement restart lie ahead. But first a little perspective on what just happened.
The surgery I had can best be explained by a scene in the movie Total Recall, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nAzVzeXGTGM . The subsequent recovery gave me an appreciation for those who endure prison and have had serious hospital stays. Imagine awakening to a constant pain in your head such that you can’t open your eyes and tolerate light, a back ache from lying on a hard table, a sinus completely full but you can’t blow your nose, and your electrolytes and hormones constantly heading out of bounds making you feel cruddy. Then imagine having EKG sensors all over your body, a catheter, a blood pressure cuff, blood clot preventing leg massagers, and 3 IV’s chaining you down so you are unable to change position much less leave the bed. Finally, think about having to constantly give blood, take medication and pass neurological tests hourly not knowing how many days you need to endure. Time stretches when you can’t sleep and speaking, reading and watching hurt. You lie in bed night and day measuring time by the testing and blood pressure cuff going off. And you know what, lots of people have much worse hospitalizations and incarcerations. Those people are truly tough and I appreciate that so much more now. And most do not get the support I had.
My wife came with me the morning of April 10th and stayed until I left the evening of the 13th. She waited on me hand and foot, acted as an advocate, carefully facilitated care between all the doctors, nurses, and technicians and tolerated my intolerance and rudeness. Friends and family provided emotional and culinary support. My only and best brother flew out from Philadelphia to help me home and begin my convalescence. I now know how much this can mean and how even small kindnesses can bring you to tears. And you know what, people have far more hardship with much less support. It makes you appreciate the people in your life and consider your fellow mankind.
At the end of all of this, I am even more convicted in my plan for retirement. Having validation makes the effort of careful planning worthwhile. In fact a year of planning that I’ll tell about in my next post. I’ll be interested whether you think it’s a good plan and all comments are welcome.