It’s been a little over 40 years now. I was about two and a half when the doctors performed an upper lobectomy on my left lung. I can remember bits and pieces of the post surgery recovery. I remember waking up in the post op recovery area and staring at the ceiling at five different televisions. All of which were showing different cartoons with no sound on. This was the first time I saw Mighty Mouse, Popeye, Tom and Jerry, and Hanna Barbera. All in glorious colour and all at once.
Over the past four decades I haven’t always taken care of my health. I struggled to breathe as a child in a home where my father smoked regularly. I just kind of adapted to shallow breathing. In my early teens I had my lung capacity tested numerous times to see how I was doing and why I always felt tired. (I’m still always tired). No definitive results ever came my way.
Then there was a time, post high school, where I smoked for a few years. That I regret. It forced me to become reliant on an inhaler more frequently now.
I may seem normal on the outside, but inside I am missing a portion of my left lung. As I watch the world, I am conscious of the fact that I am more susceptible to a lung virus and would truly struggle with recovery. Although I continue to go to work, I wash my hands frequently, sanitize door handles and my work station numerous times, as well as avoid close contact with my coworkers.
But they don’t know that I am extra paranoid and selfish about my own health. I’ve worked there for nearly 13 years and many of my coworkers have no idea about the fact that I’m missing part of a lung. They don’t know that I stress about the possibility of getting sick.
On my days off, I just stay home. I spend time with my family and we have a great time. Trying out new cooking and baking recipes and lots of video games! It helps to take my mind off the fears I have inside.