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?

 

 

Life Advice…

I’ve been a fan of Mike Rowe and his former (awesome ) show “Dirty Jobs” for many years (by the way, I’m still a lil depressed that the show got cancelled after 8 seasons). I read the following article on [Life]Buzz a while back and just felt the need to re-share this.

What’s better than Life Advice from non-other than Mike Rowe? Pearls of wisdom on happiness, hard work, career and opportunity. It’s amazing how complicated we make life out to be. Life is not that complicated once you figure out that you get to decide how to live it.

Hey Mike!

I’ve spent this last year trying to figure out the right career for myself and I still can’t figure out what to do. I have always been a hands on kind of guy and a go-getter. I could never be an office worker. I need change, excitement, and adventure in my life, but where the pay is steady. I grew up in construction and my first job was a restoration project. I love everything outdoors. I play music for extra money. I like trying pretty much everything, but get bored very easily. I want a career that will always keep me happy, but can allow me to have a family and get some time to travel. I figure if anyone knows jobs its you so I was wondering your thoughts on this if you ever get the time! Thank you!

-Parker Hall

And here’s the reply…

Hi Parker

My first thought is that you should learn to weld and move to North Dakota. The opportunities are enormous, and as a “hands-on go-getter,” you’re qualified for the work. But after reading your post a second time, it occurs to me that your qualifications are not the reason you can’t find the career you want.

I had drinks last night with a woman I know. Let’s call her Claire. Claire just turned 42. She’s cute, smart, and successful. She’s frustrated though, because she can’t find a man. I listened all evening about how difficult her search has been. About how all the “good ones” were taken. About how her other friends had found their soul-mates, and how it wasn’t fair that she had not.

“Look at me,” she said. “I take care of myself. I’ve put myself out there. Why is this so hard?”
“How about that guy at the end of the bar,” I said. “He keeps looking at you.”
“Not my type.”
“Really? How do you know?”
“I just know.”
“Have you tried a dating site?” I asked.”
“Are you kidding? I would never date someone I met online!”
“Alright. How about a change of scene? Your company has offices all over – maybe try living in another city?”
“What? Leave San Francisco? Never!”
“How about the other side of town? You know, mix it up a little. Visit different places. New museums, new bars, new theaters…?”
She looked at me like I had two heads. “Why the hell would I do that?”

Here’s the thing, Parker. Claire doesn’t really want a man. She wants the “right” man. She wants a soul-mate. Specifically, a soul-mate from her zip code. She assembled this guy in her mind years ago, and now, dammit, she’s tired of waiting!!

I didn’t tell her this, because Claire has the capacity for sudden violence. But it’s true. She complains about being alone, even though her rules have more or less guaranteed she’ll stay that way. She has built a wall between herself and her goal. A wall made of conditions and expectations. Is it possible that you’ve built a similar wall?

Consider your own words. You don’t want a career – you want the “right” career. You need “excitement” and “adventure,” but not at the expense of stability. You want lots of “change” and the “freedom to travel,” but you need the certainty of “steady pay.” You talk about being “easily bored” as though boredom is out of your control. It isn’t. Boredom is a choice. Like tardiness. Or interrupting. It’s one thing to “love the outdoors,” but you take it a step further. You vow to “never” take an office job. You talk about the needs of your family, even though that family doesn’t exist. And finally, you say the career you describe must “always” make you “happy.”

These are my thoughts. You may choose to ignore them and I wouldn’t blame you – especially after being compared to a 42 year old woman who can’t find love. But since you asked…

Stop looking for the “right” career, and start looking for a job. Any job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.
Many people today resent the suggestion that they’re in charge of the way the feel. But trust me, Parker. Those people are mistaken. That was a big lesson from Dirty Jobs, and I learned it several hundred times before it stuck. What you do, who you’re with, and how you feel about the world around you, is completely up to you.

Good luck -
Mike

PS. I’m serious about welding and North Dakota. Those guys are writing their own ticket.
PPS Think I should forward this to Claire?

via: A Fan Asks Mike Rowe For Life Advice… His Response Is Truly Brilliant..

Away from the screen: #lookup

Look Up – YouTube.

I am 100% guilty as charged. I need to spend more time away from the screen.

#lookup

 

 

Just take a moment

Today I wasn’t the patient.

Just take a moment and be thankful for what you have gang. Life truly is fleeting.

A somber shift at work for me. I thought I’d end the day with some needed laughter.

Is this not the best Dad & Daughter duo ever?

Your price tag

It’s an interesting metaphysically-based yet philosophically important debate. What is one’s life worth? Better yet, let’s just cut to the chase, what is your life worth?

“an amount of a commodity equivalent to a specified sum of money.”

I for one love these debates, and thought-provoking challenge questions because of the cold-hard truth of the answer we’re seeking. There really is no right OR wrong answer. One could argue, defend and rationalize their individual notions on the subject with their own amazingly prophetic reasoning based on science or religion or heck even personal experience.

But in the end, no one is right. Aaaand no one is wrong.

I think it’s all about your attitude towards the thought. Your attitude or your feelings (maybe). When this question is posed to you personally how do you react? How do you think it through? What feelings and emotions get stirred up down in your belly (where the FIRE burns)?

And then when you’ve chewed on the question for a bit of time do you still have the same answer you started with?

Most don’t.

Let’s complicate things even more. I bet if your younger self was asked this question (pick an age.. any age) you’d get a different reaction and a different answer. I’m willing to gamble and say if you picked any age other than your current year, you might find a different way of navigating through this puzzle.

I know for sure that my 10 year old self had a different view on life than my 12 year old self. Or when I was 15, 18, 21, 25, 30, 33, or 35. Oh just for thoroughness, I’m willing to go out on a limb and say that my navigation through this wonderful postulate would be different just a year ago.

Why is that?

The human condition is a funny thing. It’s the sum of its parts, but not exclusive to its parts. Each time you accumulate a new milestone or experience it affects your past, present and future in some way, shape or form.

Throw into that melting pot where you were raised geographically, who raised you, how big was your household and things start to get mucky. Some ‘experts’ would also argue that your traditions, your religion and your heritage will further muddle the path to your answer.

So (in the above video) it makes complete sense (in my humble opinion) that ‘the man’ (those who have a death grip on your financial livelihood) and his cohorts can’t agree on a final price tag (I’m sure there’s a movie plot in there somewhere…).

Things that make ya go ……

Reference: How Much Is Your Life Worth? – YouTube.

Everything becoming less…

Well that sums it up 

Sadly this hits the nail on the head.