Sometimes you start with a plan and with the best of intentions—and then life happens. This is when you find out how you are truly doing.
A week ago Friday, I took the men in my Mentoring Group on our year-end retreat. We had a great time on Friday evening, including catching up with one another around a beautiful campfire.
After I went to bed, I felt some itching but nothing too out of the ordinary. My skin is normally dry in the winter, so I didn’t think too much about it.
However, in the morning, I asked one of the guys from my cabin how he slept. “Not too well,” he reported. “I felt like bugs were crawling all over me.” One of the other guys overheard us and chimed in, “Me, too!”
Uh-oh, I thought. Could it be? No way!
“Let’s check out the beds,” I suggested, not really wanting to confront what I thought I’d find.
Sure enough, we found numerous bed bugs, some dead and some alive. We also found red streaks in the sheets—a tell-tale sign of bed bugs. (This is more than you want to know, but it is their blood infused fecal matter. I know, yuck!)
Though we were pretty grossed out, we reported the matter and began day two of our retreat. None of us seemed worse for the wear and the bugs appeared to be isolated to one cabin. We went on with our program.
When I got home that afternoon, I went through a rigorous cleaning procedure, throwing many items away and running others through the clothes washer on high heat. This is about the only way to kill them.
Nothing happened until Sunday, when the bites and welts started appearing on all the exposed parts of my skin. Fortunately, I had worn a long-sleeve t-shirt and pajama bottoms.
But my head, neck, hands, part of my arms, and ankles were exposed. My hands, in particular, looked like I had a bad case of measles. On Monday, I simply applied some cortisone and went about my duties.
On Tuesday, my friend Stu McClaren flew in with a video crew from Toronto to shoot some footage for a new project we plan to launch next year. (I can’t wait to tell you about it.)
I thought about canceling the shoot, but decided it would be too expensive. We worked hard all-day Wednesday and Thursday, including hosting a book signing on Thursday, so we could capture the footage for b-roll.
Meanwhile the bites were getting worse. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was having a severe allergic reaction to them. Over the course of the next three days, I ended up in UrgentCare (a kinder, gentler form of ER) three times.
They ended up giving me two shots of prednisone and a battery of medications to take besides, including antibiotics and Ativan to control the intense itching. The good news is that I turned the corner Sunday night. The welts are smaller and have disappeared on my face and neck. My hands are still pretty bad, but even they are improving.
The bad news is that I am operating at about 80 percent of capacity mentally, no doubt from the effects of the Ativan. I am tired, light-headed, and occasionally confused—not really a condition conducive to writing or podcasting.
On top of this, my dad was rushed to the ER with a seizure on Tuesday morning. He is still in ICU here in Nashville. The doctors have still not confirmed a diagnosis.
He’s had a number of seizures while in the hospital, and they can’t seem to figure out what is causing them. He suffers from an old war injury to the head, so that might be it. They have ruled out a heart attack and a stroke. They are now trying to see if an infection, like meningitis, is the culprit.
It is disturbing to watch my dad in this condition. He is very confused and engaging in lots of erratic behavior. Gail, my sister, and my mom have taken turns watching him. I’ve been pretty much useless, because of the drugs.
And, last but not least, I am still moving into my new office, with all the disruption that affords. My stuff is kind of in both locations, and I am shuffling around and running errands trying to get everything I need in place.
As you can imagine, I am woefully behind. I will dig out, but it’s going to take a few days to perhaps a week. I have been pretty much given up on the idea of writing or podcasting this week, but we’ll see how it goes. (I didn’t intend to write this post, but I thought an explanation was in order.)
My Take Away
So in the midst of this, I don’t have any big life lessons, other than to lean into what I know to be true:
- God loves me.
- This too will pass.
- Be grateful—if not for all things then in all things.
- Do the next right thing.
- Don’t push myself too hard.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Prayer matters.
Frankly, this is a good reminder for someone who likes to control his environment that you can’t always control everything. Sometimes life just happens, and you have to roll with it, right?