Warning: Graphic Language
Shortly before the COVID-19 lockdowns across the country, I was hospitalized due to a stress-induced seizure.
I had trouble breathing and I kept vomiting on the way to the emergency room. My vision was dim and spinning. By the time I was admitted, I was inches away from death, and with a mix of science and miracle, the medical staff brought me back to consciousness. I was released the next morning and I remember enjoying a good old-fashioned cheeseburger, something that I'd not eaten in months due to watching my sugar intake.
Being close to death changes a person permanently. It's forced me to amplify my need to adhere to deadlines and meeting times, to respect my time and other people's time. As a highly competitive person, I would hate to die without rectifying my failures and finishing my projects.
The experience made me re-focus my life's priorities:
As a person diagnosed with ASD-1 (Autism Spectrum Disorder Level 1 / Asperger's), I already knew - and accepted - that my lifespan was significantly going to be shorter than my contemporaries and I had to work twice as hard. The condition is both a gift and a curse. Autism has given me the ability to hyperfocus and learn skills quickly, but I am not so good with reading people - I can never figure out what they want. I can come across as militant, blunt, and terse - which has somewhat protected me from being manipulated and used, something that happens a lot with my fellow autistic people.
I won't let the downsides of autism control what I can do. Instead, I'll use its strengths.
I've got to stay the course and finish my work.
There is much work to be done and I'm not through yet.