The Day I Should Have Died | Happy Re-birthday To Me

I consider myself a pretty luck man. Heck, I’d call myself blessed. I know the value of my life and continually appreciate it, no matter how ‘tough’ things may get. Today is my re-birthday. 13 years ago on September 15, 2001 I was given a wonderful gift. I had someone attempt to take my life away from me. (Wow, 13 years?)

I’ll admit it. Before that fateful day, I was just as jaded, jagged and miserable as many other human beings who occupy this earth are. I was always pissed off at the world. I continually wanted to know when the universe would stop shitting on me. I bitched at everything and everyone. My temper roller-coastered like it was my full-time job. I had your typical bad luck, bad girlfriends, bad relationships, bad jobs, etc, etc. Yeah, I was a miserable ole’ cuss. I can’t say ‘positivity’ was part of my repertoire. I was going nowhere fast, and I just couldn’t seem to get a leg up. I was simply treading water.

Then someone tried to kill me. I blogged about it in 2008 on this very blog (hard to believe). Every year I re-share the original blog post. It’s cathartic for me and my loved ones. It’s important to me, because I want the reminder. And I’d like you to have the reminder too, life is fleeting.

Let me tell you a story (that I wrote many moons ago)…

It’s been 7 years.

This time of the year always has a special place in most of America’s hearts. September 11, 2001 is a date none of us will soon forget. It changed the face of our nation and impacted our world in a way none of us could have ever imagined. Emily (crzegrl) shared here views of how it impacted her.

At the risk of diminishing or making that day any less than it really was. This time of the year has a very different meaning for me. I do remember September 11th. I do remember what I was doing that day. I do remember how I felt and how the world around me changed. But it’s not what is in the forefront of my mind.

September 15, 2001

My Re-Birthday.

It’s been 7 years.

It was a Saturday. (Yes I remember it that well)

There was a time in my life when I was not active in healthcare (It was a short time). I had stepped away from the healthcare setting and returned to my career in retail. Retail had helped pay my way through college, and then it was the way to put food on the table after college was over. My career in healthcare wasn’t paying the bills, and retail was a better option (at the time).

It was a typical Saturday night. I was one of the midnight managers on duty. Part of my responsibility as a manager was to hold the night-shift meeting with the over-night employees.

This particular night we decided to have an open forum concerning the difficulties people may or may not be having with the current state of affairs. The terrorists attacks were affecting everyone, and we wanted to let our employees know we cared.


I can’t say I remember how it happened.

I can’t say I was prepared for it.

It happened in time ‘slices’.


I was talking with the over-night group of employees. It was me in front of approximately 20 others. Half-way through the meeting and in mid-sentence I can vaguely remember an ‘itching’ or ‘biting’ feeling on my neck.

….??

It wasn’t anything out the ordinary. I chalked it up to one of the bodily aches or pains I have no explanation for. (Like when I get a shooting pain in my finger that comes a goes in a matter of 7 seconds)

It got more quiet. It was like I could only hear the fans of the air conditioning running. I guess the only way to explain it… is things seemed to slow down.. immensely. Like the slo-mo option on a VCR/DVD player.

I don’t know what happened next. Or should I say I don’t know which came first. The banshee-like shrieking screams or the shadow of a person coming out of my left peripheral vision. All I know is that it was a startling moment.

The Scream.

The Shadow.

And I reflexively look to my left.

I remember saying to my self, “Hmm, why is Jane (we’ll call her Jane for identity purposes) standing so close to me. She should be sitting out in the crowd with the rest of the group.”

She’s now advancing towards me. “What is she doing?”

Her left arm is raised in the air. I think she’s going to take a swing at me. So out of reflex, I block her left arm. I block her arm with my R arm and grab her swinging arm with my L hand. Then I grasp her swinging arm with both hands.

I can’t quite figure out why she’s trying to hit me?

Another handful of screams.

Through the tussle and wrestling of her arm I realize my hand is full of blood??? In fact I have blood on both my hands?

“OK. Who’s blood is this?”, I blurt out with a sense of sarcasm.

… ??

More screams.

… ??

Wait a minute.

What’s that in Jane’s hand?

Is that..?

No way.

Wholly SH#T. Jane has a knife in her hand.

“The blood is YOURS! She cut your throat. Your bleeding from your neck!!!!!!”, a voice from the crowd cries out hysterically.

Now, I’m no idiot. I know the inner workings of the human body. I’m pretty well versed in what anatomical structures are located in the neck.

I know I’m still breathing. I’m not chocking. Not having any trouble moving air.

???

At the same time Jane is tackled by a single employee from behind. Then another, then another. And then more. It takes close to 5 people to get her down.

I put my hand on my neck.. and sure enough … nothing but blood.



Yep. It’s a true story. I was attacked from behind with a swiss army knife by an employee of mine, in front of approximately 20 people. She sliced my neck almost from ear to ear.

Here are the finer points of the story:

- she used a very dull and old swiss army knife

- she did not use the blade side of the knife and drag it across my neck to cut me. She used the knife in a stabbing motion and scraped the tip of the knife across the length of my neck

- she never spent a night in jail. She had a psychiatric evaluation. Her medications were adjusted. And that’s the last thing I was told (Please don’t ask.. I don’t know what the heck happen concerning her lawful conviction)

- Yes, I have a Keloid scar that has taken 7 yrs to slowly diminish on my neck. (The intent of the ED physician was to use the smallest/thinnest suture possible so to NOT leave a scar, and it did the exact opposite)

-The only entertaining piece of all this was that when the 911 call was made. All the EMS arrived expecting to see a decapitated man. And I mean ALL of the EMS. For the small town I was in, I think I counted 4 Ambulances and 6 marked Police and 2 unmarked Police cars.


There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about that day. It changed my life. We always whine and complain about some of the most ridiculous things in life that seem so very important at the time. Everything from being late for work, being stuck in traffic, having to wait in line in the grocery store, having a poor wait staff wait on you at the restaurant, or having to sit in coach for a 4hr flight… the list is endless. Everyone hates having a bad day.

I touched on my theory about life and how bad your day really was in a previous blog post: Blinking & Breathing, I can’t complain.

I’m not perfect. I do have stress in my life. I do have those ‘Pull out your hair’ moments and those “all I wanna do is scream” moments. But I’m always grounded and reminded by my profession and by my past that maybe you and/or I not having THAT bad of a day.

September 15th is my Re-Birthday. I was given a second chance at life. For some strange reason, I survived that incident. I will never know why. I questioned it for a long time, and never got the answer I wanted until I realized there was no answer. I’m here. I’m staying here. I’m not going anywhere. And while I’m here, I’m making the most of my stay.

Here’s what scares me sometimes when I think about my attack.

As an employee for the retail store I worked for, each employee is issued a box cutter. The only reason I’m still here is because Jane had bad aim, and a dull swiss army knife.

What if she would have used the box cutter instead of her swiss army knife?

Nope.

I don’t have bad days anymore.

Carpe Diem

Via Happy Re-Birthday To Me | My Strong Medicine

Last summer we moved to a new city. With the move came new friends. When my face was still new, I had a friend comment on my ‘positivity’ and being ‘always happy’. I told her there was a story behind my obsessive passion for being happy, but that I’d it to her later. I plan on sharing this post with her (Thanks Allison).

This is the reason I’m always positive. Why I greet every morning with my:

“Gewwwwwwd morning”

I get to be here another day.

Many great things have happened to me since that scary day.

I became a Registered Nurse, I met and married my soul mate, and now I’m working as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, a job I truly love. I’ve re-kindled my love for teaching as well as coaching. My love for exercise and fitness has blossomed into becoming a CF-L1 Trainer at my new CrossFit gym. They truly are my extended family.

I’m not too sure where I’d be today had I not gone ‘under the knife’ so-to-speak. I can admit that I wouldn’t have the abundance of happiness I possess now. What I do know is that I took a tragic, frightening and possibly life-paralyzing event and turned it into something positive. Positive for me, and hopefully positive for anyone who’s around me.

This might sound a bit cliche’… or it might sound a bit phony.. but I needed someone to try and steal my most prize possession (my life) for me to truly appreciate its merit. And for that, I couldn’t be happier.

Thank you all for being a part of my life.

I’m living the dream…

It’s been a whiiiiillle…

(yes there’s a song in there somewhere)…(http://youtu.be/D1xdGTh-aWo?t=28s)

Life’s been  busy. Every time I think I’m going to set my fingers to the keyboard ‘something comes up’. Quite honestly my weeks have been packed. I work my shifts at my awesome job. Each night after work I either partake in some training or I’m coaching others at my box. On my days off from work, I’m at the box training or coaching.

I guess I failed to mention I went and got my CrossFit Level 1 Trainer certification huh?

2014-07-14 08.09.42That was a blast by the way.

In the midst of all this, my summer just flew by. Everything from CrossFit competitions, attending local entertainment, Cirque de Soleil, Lindsey Stirling concert, Wine tasting tour, The Zoo, Zip-lining, road trips to Arts Festival, road trips to other states, and then some nursing student teaching sprinkled on the ends.

I’ve truly been living the dream.

I’m doing a job I love, at a great establishment that supports my profession well, and I work with some pretty awesome people. Not only great colleagues, but great physician partners and great bedside nurses. Not to mention all the other staff I interact with. I mean I have fun at work. Period.

Then when I’m not at my full-time paid employment job, I get to exercise my other passion of coaching excellence of movement. I get to coach weightlifting and CrossFit all under one roof with some pretty awesome fellow coaches and a great group of athletes from all walks of life. I mean I have fun at my gym (my second home). Period.

Truly. Living. The Dream.

Here’s the crazy thing. Last year when we moved up here, we said to ourselves we hit the jackpot. We live minute away from the beach. We’ll live at the beach!!

We’ve been so busy this summer we never put our feet in the sand the entire summer.

:|

I guess that’s a good thing isn’t it?

Along the way I had some major physical ups and downs. I sustained a fairly severe hip injury that sidelined me for months. At the beginning of this year I started to pursue weightlifting full time, with CrossFit sprinkled on the side. I wanted to see what I could do with that barbell. I set a goal in January. I wanted to be able to Snatch 200lbs. I pretty lofty feat for someone who could barely get 45bls over his head just one year earlier.

Two injuries and a total of 2+ months of complete rest later… I accomplished my goal!!!

My summer briefly in pictures:

Oh, and of course I did the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS:

I forgot to mention that I’m still v-logging to my heart’s content over at Scrubs Beat with my partner Katie Duke. Here’s my latest episode. A funny nursing student story about the Hopper:

The next several weeks are chock full of more ‘stuff’ going on, including this weekend. I have another CrossFit event with my extended family celebrating the life of a fallen hero. More pictures to follow.

How has your summer been?

 

 

62 days later

2 months and 1 day. That’s how much time had passed since I injured my hip Memorial Day weekend (technically now 2 months and 2 days).

3a22b1de5b0b9b5227d7ceb1555c16d5I still remember that night like it was yesterday.  I had just finished a long 7-day stretch at work. My training had lapsed due to lack of time and I was wanting to move some weight.

I had set a goal of hitting 200lbs on my Snatch, and the last time I tested my Snatch PR I hit #195, so I was itching for it.

That night I tried and failed miserably. I missed weights I should have, I was sloppy and I was frustrated.

I moved on to the Clean & Jerk, and failed even worse. It was not pretty.

I thought I’d finish the night on a good note and test my 1RM Back Squat. Weeks prior I had hit a milestone PR of 300lb Front Squat, so I was due to push the envelope on my back squat. I PR’d my backsquat… but my legs were feeling good, so I thought I’d up the ante.

I went down in the squat… on my ascent back up I felt a ripping sensation in my lower abdomen… and the rest was history.

When I injured my groin/abs/hip back in May I told myself it was going to take me 6 weeks or more to recover. I was right on the money. 6 weeks later I was picking up the barbell again. I started with no weight, and have slowly worked my way back up.

As for the 62 days. It took that many days before I could run pain-free. The days leading up to that 62nd day, I couldn’t run, jog or take a large stride without some pain or tightness in my groin & hip. It took almost the 6 week mark before I could climb stairs at a brisk pace without pain or tightness. Well, last weekend I attempted a very slow, very sloppy, very short run. And it didn’t hurt.

I’ll say that again. It didn’t hurt my hip!!!

This was my wake-up call. I have the ability to run, and I’ve neglected that ability for too long. This hip injury has me re-evaluating my relationship with running. While I doubt I’ll ever LIKE or LOVE running, I will start to run more.

While I hate to run, I hate not being able to run more.

Every day is an opportunity

2014-01-27 16.50.11

Every day that you walk into the gym or the box you have an opportunity to redefine yourself. Good or bad, your yesterday does not define who you are today. “Today” is a fresh start; “today” is your day, IF you decide to take it, and make it yours.

via Lift Big Eat Big: Today I Had The Worst Squat Session Of My Life….

I had ‘one of those days’ last week. Everything was just ‘off’. I enjoyed this article because it did NOT focus on the misery of failing, or even the act of failing. Instead it focused on how to learn from a ‘bad day’. How to take those ‘lemons’ and figure out how to make your ‘lemonade’ (yep, it’s rudimentary, but it works).

We aren’t defined by how we act when things are going right and we’re on top of the world, we’re defined by how we act when the sky is falling in ‘our world’.

Just another opportunity to be better than yesterday. Accept it. Learn from it. Prevent it from happening again. It’s that simple.

Get. Back. Up. Period.

When pets are your children

I’ve decided that I don’t like being a parent. A parent to a 4-legged child that is. OK. Maybe ‘don’t like‘ is a strong statement. More like, I don’t like it when my ‘child’ is sick.

Helpless does not come close to describing how you feel.

One of our cats fell deathly ill over the past several days. After numerous trips to the Vet, endless exams, and frequent diagnostic studies it was felt that surgery was her only option of recovery. So our poor little feline underwent an exploratory laparotomy.

I won’t give the gory details of the procedure or the findings… but the truth of the matter is I never knew how much I needed that darn cat until the very real possibility of her not being around surfaced. Now all I can do is hope that she recovers.

My wife, the infamous cat lady herself, is stressed. This cat is HER baby.

*sigh*

I need my couch buddy back….

Breathe it in… if you can

Gif of the Day: Smoker's Lungs vs. Non-Smoker's Lungs

If you’ve been around my blog before, I’ve jumped on my pedestal once or twice about how much I am against smoking. If you haven’t, consider yourself warned. Both personally and professionally I emphatically do not approve of this filthy, disgusting and EXTREMELY unhealthy habit (I did mention my distaste didn’t I?)

There is nothing positive about smoking. Nah-thing. I’d be boring you if I started spouting off all the evidence-based research that supports how BAD smoking is for your health and the health of others around you. Google it.

The above GIF just supports everything there is to know about smoking. Look at the color of the lungs. Yes, black lungs are bad. Look at the size of the lungs as they inflate. Yes, you guessed it smaller inflation is bad.

Just think about how much your body has to work in overtime just to breathe, both at rest and while active. Just to breathe. I mean, breathing is not something we take lightly is it? You don’t need to breath efficiently do you?

I mean if you want to smoke, by all means go for it. Just remember, your body will probably not like it much in the end.

Reference: Gif of the Day: Smoker’s Lungs vs. Non-Smoker’s Lungs – Cheezburger.