On Being Sick

Today I got the news that my red blood count, hemoglobin, and iron levels were all on the low side of normal - and I couldn’t be happier.

It may seem like a strange thing to be excited about, but considering where it was, this is a huge improvement.  Last September I'd been feeling pretty bad.  I was very run down and thought I had some cold.  I went on a work trip for a week, and it was where I bottomed out.  I was exhausted the whole time, struggled to concentrate, struggle to eat and frankly was having a hard time doing anything other than lying in bed. 

By the time I got home, I realized I needed to go to the doctor and went that week.  After a blood test, my doctor called me back alarmed because my red blood count and hemoglobin were both critically low.  Further tests proved I had a bacterial infection and his assumptions were I was bleeding internally which had caused severe anemia.  I was put on strong antibiotics, acid reducers, and referred to a gastroenterologist.  And so began a multi-month journey of tests that provided little insight, blood and iron transfusions, and being stuck with needles multiple times a week.

I can say that I have more energy now than I did even a month or so ago.  More than that, I think the multiple months of being sick have me focused on generally trying to make myself feel better.  To that end, I'm trying to be more active and have been going to the gym again - something I'd stopped doing altogether last year, even before I started feeling sick. 

I do have to say, I am incredibly grateful to be in the job I have currently.  As a full-time Microsoft employee, I have the best insurance I've had in my entire life, I think.  My out of pocket expense for all of this was probably less than $500 (for context, the bills I've seen so far at more than $40K and I don't think they are all in yet).  And my manager was incredibly accommodating in allowing me to work when I could, and take off time when I needed.  Travel tends to be a big part of my job, and while I wasnt able to cut it out completely this fall, I certainly did less than I have in years past.  If I was still i the startup world, I would have struggled much more to juggle work and being sick and I certainly would have been much more out of pocket on the expenses.