Life Stories: A Narrow Escape Part 3

Lessons Learned

I apologize for taking so long to finish this story (click here for Parts 1 and 2). Life has been good – it has been busy at work and I was finally able to move into my own place. So between work and fixing everything necessary for the apartment, this has been the first time that I am really able to sit down and write.

When I got released from the hospital last August 14, one of the first things I needed to figure out was how to get more sleep. This was the first lesson – never do so much that you sacrifice sleep. All the exercise, diet, and healthy active lifestyle would be all for naught if I had another attack. I needed to have at least seven hours of sleep so that my body has time to recover.

Over the next few weeks, I had to make certain sacrifices. If I got home beyond 10PM, it meant that I would not be able to go and work at the nutrition centre. I would have woken up at 5AM the following morning, and traffic to work would be very difficult by then. Consequently, I had to wait out until 7AM before leaving home to let the traffic dissipate and still allow me to get to work by 10AM.

While in Makati, I have to discipline myself not to stay out too late – that meant stepping back on my commitments to the community every Monday night and doing exercise classes at the nutrition centre every Wednesday night. I had to momentarily give up on these two activities, and I pretty much had no choice.

An offshoot of this is that I realised that I really needed to live closer to work. Hence the move.

The second lesson is that exercise should be a balanced affair. I can’t keep doing two-a-days of high-impact exercise for three straight days, which I did a week before my attack happened, and ultimately contributed to my high stress level at the time. Exercise should always be practiced in a safe environment. Inasmuch as I wanted to achieve my physical goals quickly, I should also be patient. Achieving the body you want is a marathon of proper nutrition, balanced exercise, and patience.

In my haste to achieve my ideal body, it actually dealt me more harm than good. I have a shoulder injury right now that’s been lingering. It doesn’t stop me from doing day-to-day activities, but I can’t lift a five-pound weight up over my shoulder without experiencing pain. As a result, I would have to take my time before doing lifting exercises again.

My entire 3-day confinement cost me Php 53,000.00 The professional fee for the neurologist alone is PhP 11,000.00. At the time of the attack, my HMO was just being processed. I had to pay the whole amount. I had to sell off some stocks, withdraw money from my insurance fund, and borrowed some from my parents. The last lesson is to always have a buffer fund ready, and it should be something that can easily be withdrawn from, not like stocks and insurance funds.

This is a challenge for me. If I can easily withdraw any amount of money, I will withdraw it and spend it. That’s why I stash it straight away in stocks and mutual funds so that I won’t be able to spend it. However, the problem with that strategy is that incidents happen where you need quick cash, and the hospital, the landlord, or the bank will not wait for you to encash the check from your mutual fund. Moreover, the amount should at least be three times the amount you earn in a month.

All told, it has been a learning experience for me. I can’t pretend that I will not grow older. While I’m taking care of my body now, it puts an even greater importance on rest as well. I can’t keep going a hundred miles an hour, even if the road is paved and well-taken care off. Chances are, I’ll wreck the car and be killed with it.

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