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.

Only silence. I have not forgotten.

9/11: A Day In History We Will Never Forget

It’s been 13 years. While I was not near any of the attacks, and I was not part of the service at the time. But, just like so many other Americans, I can still remember that day vividly.

May those who lost their lives, rest in peace. And those who have survived and lost loved ones, a heart felt thank you. I have not forgotten. Many of us have not forgotten.

 

Image source: http://elitedaily.com/life/culture/911-day-history-forget/

Lessons from a Year as Just a Nurse

Sean.Dent:

Beautifully written blog about lessons learned as a first year nurse. Worth the read for all levels of nursing!!!

“Learning to go with the flow has been a valuable lesson …..watching the nurses who have burnt out early versus those with impressive staying power seems to be highly correlated with their ability to let things go without getting bent out of shape over it”

“I have learned that I am never, ever alone.”

“Teamwork works, and it is often so natural in this environment that it goes unnoticed.”

“if you focus on the glory of what you do going to someone else you won’t miss it if it isn’t there”

“There’s a big difference between wanting recognition for the nursing profession and recognition for your self, as a nurse. Don’t mess with the latter, its risky business and can lead you down a slippery slope…… What matters instead, is that you learn to not find your worth in what you do based on the praise you receive for it.”

Originally posted on According to Kateri; a Blog:

I learned a lot in Kindergarten, but unfortunately, and contrary to popular belief, I didn’t learn everything. It felt like I learned a lot in nursing school, but it still wasn’t enough. I have learned a lot in nursing, in my years thus far of being a nurse at the bedside. But most of all, I have learned exponentially more than I would have imagined in a year of open dialogue with nurses; from nursing students to seasoned nurses. Burnt-out nurses to those still full of naïve passion. These are some of the most valuable lessons I learned and applied in the past year.

Don’t cry over spilled…

Poop. They say don’t cry over spilled milk, but I have worked in NICUs and PICUs and I can tell you that a drop, an ounce, a whole frozen milksicle of hard earned maternal breast milk is certainly worth crying over…

View original 1,353 more words

Wishing my wife a very Happy Anniversary. Thank you for saying yes, angel.

It all started over 10 years ago. This beautiful red head I met while taking pre-req courses for nursing school. We went on to attend the same nursing school, and ironically sat next to each other in class. (I thought she was quite the looker)

We ‘danced’ a while during nursing school. We played the on-again-off-again dating game for quite some time before we both figured out how to live in the present. Late night phone conversations lasting til three in the morning. Instant messaging conversations that distracted me from studying. And text messaging conversations that grabbed my attention.

10 years later, with now 9 years of marriage under our belt, and I still love her madly.

The crystal poem in our glass cabinet at home

The crystal poem in our glass cabinet at home

She is the air I breathe, and is THE reason for all my happiness. During our diploma nursing program graduation ceremony, we all got to thank those that helped us get through school. I of course thanked her, and said, “Jill, you are my everything

The day of our wedding, I surprised her with a gift in her dressing room with a crystal, that had a poem etched into it. At the end of the poem it read, “you are my everything“. I told her a long, long time ago that she is my everything.

And she still is.

She is everything good in my life. She is the rock. She is my sounding board. She is my sage listener. She leads by example. She never gives up, ever. She’s quite the problem solver. She always finds a way. She is tough as nails. She lifts up others. She is self-less. She is passionate. She is funny. She loves to laugh. She has a mesmerizing smile. She has the biggest heart. She has the kindest soul. She gets more beautiful each day I am with her (yep… she’s a hottie). She’s one hell of a dresser. Not to mention a talented jewelry-maker. While not the most graceful, she is full of grace and poise. She has a glow about her, that infects all those who come near her. You can’t help but have a better day when you are in her presence.

I am a better person, a better husband, a better man  because of her.

Thank you Angel for saying yes.

It’s the aftermath…

http://mystrongmedicine.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/e003d-insomniamath.jpg?w=869

I can ‘survive’ the actual worked shift. I can pry my eyes to stay open after midnight. Especially when I’m busy at work.

I can even make a valiant attempt at ignoring the ‘low lights’ on the nursing units once the visiting hours are over.

What I have trouble is the aftermath. I finish my NOC shift (or my pseudo-NOC shift called the twilight shift) and I head home in the middle of night. I make a horrid attempt at catching some shut eye, but I toss and turn for hours on end.

I crawl out of bed and do my best to stay vertical. Try to be productive and ‘normal’. But by the end of the afternoon the fog creeps back in. That fog in my brain just starts to make things ‘fuzzy’ and slow. My skin sort of tingles and I start acting like a darn zombie.

I ache like I have the flu, my eyes start to itch, burn and get completely out of focus. And at some point the synapses in my brain start to fizzle.

*sigh*

I now have to make another pitiful attempt at sleeping. My body and it’s regimented schedule are already way off kilter. Now I spend a couple days finding some sense of balance.

Insomnia really does suck.

http://www.goodchinow.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Insomnia-2.png

 

Image sources:

http://seriouslyreallyseriously.blogspot.com/2013/09/insomnia-breeds-insomnia.html

http://regoslife.net/lifestyle-enhancements/fitness-fridays-top-5-cures-for-insomnia/

http://www.goodchinow.com/insomnia/

 

Honoring the fallen. CrossFit Hero WOD: The Stoddard| CrossFit FBO

Every so often people ask me, or just ask this question in general: “Why CrossFit?”

Today is why. It’s because of the ‘more’ factor. CrossFit will of course increase your fitness, but it does so much ‘more’. It’s the ‘more’ that draws you in and keeps you coming back. It’s the ‘more’ that separates CrossFit from the others. The ‘more’ I’m talking about is the community.

I’ve mentioned it before here:

The infamous Hero WOD in CrossFit is one of the most respected and more grueling type of workouts performed in the world of constantly varied functional movement. Hero WODs are workouts that are created and named after a fallen hero (or heroes) who have given their life in the line of duty. The majority of these Hero workouts are named after fallen soldiers, but many are in remembrance of those heroes we’ve lost serving the public (Police, FireFighter, etc.)
This one was a little close to the vest. The hero being honored was a (blood relative) family member to some of our coaching staff.

This year the Stoddard honored not only its namesake, but a local veteran who recently passed suddenly.

The 4th annual Stoddard WOD. This event was created 4 years ago to honor Army Ranger SFC James J Stoddard Jr who was killed in action serving his 3rd tour in Afghanistan in 2005. The Stoddard Sr/Jr Memorial was started to honor both Jamie and his father James John Stoddard Sr (Chuck). Since the memorial fund was created, we have been able to make donations to several great causes including Wounded Warriors, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, March of Dimes, and scholarships for graduating seniors from the Stoddards hometown highschool. The cost for this years event will be $25 and will include an event T-shirt. This years proceeds will go to Erie’s own Vietnam Vet Memorial Wall. Please come out and join us honoring a hero and raising money for a fantastic local cause.

This year, A chipper WOD for time:

  • 50 box jumps 30in
  • 40 Kettlebell Swings 1.5 pood
  • 30 hand release push-ups
  • 20  yard burpee broad jumps
  • 1 run around stadium w/ plate of your choice above head (45lb, 25lb, 15lb, 10lb)
  • 20 yard burpee broad jumps
  • 30 hand release push-ups
  • 40 kettlebell swings 1.5 pood
  • 50 box jumps

This past summer, a member of the color guard who helps with the opening ceremonies of our Annual Garage Games Great Lake Challenge suffered a life-ending medical illness during this years event. He was a veteran of the Vietnam War and was very active in supporting our local War Memorial Wall. He was remembered for always wanting to ‘keep the lights on’ this particular war memorial.

A portion of the funds that were raised during this event today will go towards ‘keeping those lights on’.

While I did not physically participate this year, I was there to watch, volunteer and show my support. It was held at a local football stadium and it was quite the turnout. While I don’t know the exact number, it far exceeded the approximate 70 participants from last year!!

While I cannot speak for other CrossFit communities around the world, ‘m always personally touched at the outpouring of support from our local community. This was just a simple fundraiser, not a ‘competition’. It was to honor the memory of two fallen heroes who decided that our freedom was worth fighting for.

This was a small way of showing our appreciation and speaking a resounding ‘Thank You’.

A large group of CrossFit citizens honoring a fallen soldier who was part of our extended CrossFit family and supporting another veteran by sweating a little bit and enjoying the very freedom they helped defend. It was a friendly competition with no strict judging. We had fellow athletes who would count your reps and man your timer, but that was it. Another amazing event full of energy, laughter, passion and pride.

The weather was suspect the entire morning with some sprinkles here and there, it looked like it wanted to down pour, and ironically the rain held out until the very end of the kids heat. I guess our soldiers were looking out for us.

 

I’m honored to part of such an amazing family. Thank you.