Freedom from Deadlines/ Stress Can Kill

Freedom from Deadlines/ Stress Can Kill

Freedom from Deadlines

This is a true story of a journalist, who constantly rushed to meet deadlines, and punished his body to the max. He has been sitting on uncomfortable chairs or benches with little movement or change in posture, forgetting to have lunch and skip dinners, and subjected himself to many sleepless nights.

Last year, he paid a very high price for three decades of complacency about his physical wellbeing. He woke up at 4am with only an hour of sleep, and when he reached for his computer, his arms suddenly stopped functioning. He could not move his body at all. He was so scared. ‘What had happened to me’? he said.

He called out his wife and he was rushed to the hospital. The first 2 weeks at hospital was mind-numbing, hellish experience. He was unable to write, walk, talk or even take a pee. He had neither food nor water, except a liquid drip. His lips were so dry; it felt like salted fish sold at a market.

The doctors found out he was suffering from Acute Transverse Myelitis (ATM), a neurological dysfunction in the spinal cord. The disease paralyzed his entire body. He was confined to bed 24 hours a day, yet he could not sleep because he felt so uncomfortable.

He was forced to exercise for nine months, something he had never done for the past 35 years. Being unable to work, he spent most of his time making friends with the nurses and doctors, the overworked and lesser paid, unsung heroes. He went on trips with his family around Thailand and Vietnam, in his wheelchair. Yet he goes for jogs around the park every morning.

As his journey of recovery continues, he has plenty of time to look back on the things he had done, gaining new insights and meaning in his life. He had to be more patient with himself, and do what seem like jobs that are impossible, possible by taking one step at a time.

Stress does kill people, but don’t let stress overcome you, brothers and sisters. Live life positively.

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