I dodged the bullet and my health is steadily improving. I am beginning to get clear headed again, the recent fogginess resulting from lungs that were not sufficient to make oxygen for the brain.
The docs say the heart came through it with flying colors, even miraculously so, and I am getting stronger and stronger each day.
However, it has put me a bit “out of phase” and it is a bit difficult to explain what I mean.
Words do not seem the right vehicle for this roadtrip, but they are the only means I have to convey the thoughts.
When I remarked to my wife that I felt “out of phase” we both laughed and began recounting Star Trek episodes where someone was out of phase with the crew, or the universe, or time, or themselves.
“Well, kinda like that….” I laughed a bit and then we got quiet.
“My life feels different. I got another shot at something – anything… everything. When I was in the ICU, they brought in 5 more people. Three of them did not leave that floor.”
My wife smiled a wry smile and said she just knew I would be alright… “You are too tough to leave us”, she said.
I feel both lucky and perplexed. Alive is wonderful – perplexed at how the fickle finger of “you are most definitely screwed’ plays out.
So what now?
One of the things one thinks about when they are told not to plan for tomorrow, is what we did with yesterday. And the day before that.. and so on.
Was it worth something? To someone, somewhere?
I am a good dad, and a pretty good husband. And I have lots of friends all over the world. And for that I am most grateful.
But I want to do more, to see more, to meet more people and help as many reach their dreams as I can. I know I have lots to offer, and now I need to find the ways I can deliver it to the most people.
So I have plans.
Lighting Essentials is my flagship, although I may be the first to acknowledge it is less about “Lighting” these days as it is about the philosophy and action of photographing. I want that to continue, but I also know that there is more to do – more to teach – more to learn.
I have more plans for Lighting Essentials than I can execute by myself… but that is back to normal for me. I look forward to working with the site to make it more of a valuable resource to those who want it.
I read a couple of great essays lately, but one that has stayed with me is one from PetaPixel on the photography instructor no one wants… experience.
It made me realize how much I love doing Project 52, and how it delivers real world experience to photographers all over the world. No, it is not the same as actually assisting a photographer – but it as close as we can get with the limitations we have.
I also have two versions of the PRO group running and the work they are cranking out is exceptional, Project 52 PRO is one of our groups that started this summer, and they are ripping it up with exceptional work and creativity.
Recently there was a photo competition held on CreativeLIVE. Out of the thousands of images that were submitted, only twenty were chosen to be reviewed. Of that twenty, four were Project 52 members. That is pretty cool and I think a great testimonial to the work the photographers put into their images when they are in Project 52.
We will be doing it again next year, and will also be doing some “Business Talks” webinars for those who want to get the info quickly, find the clients and get to work. It is not easy, it is not fast, but it is a proven method. (In fact, Kyle Johnson who was recently on CreativeLIVE discussing the transition from amateur to professional pretty much laid it out. I go into more specifics, but it was very gratifying to see someone else extolling the methods and techniques needed to get out there and find commercial clients.
I have decided to do four workshops next year. After the grueling period a few years ago, I had to stop doing them. I was burned out on the curriculum and I was getting tired of the backend hassles to set them up.
These workshops will be quite intensive and not geared for the beginner, but instead to the photographer looking to get kicked in the butt and launched a few rungs up in both lighting and concepts.
Watch for more, and offer suggestions if you have any.
I am looking forward to posting more here – especially to other posts I find interesting.
Please consider signing up for the “newsletter” – In The Frame – it goes out every Sunday and is the kind of content you usually do not see in photographic newsletters.
Thanks for continuing to follow Lighting Essentials. And remember… Movement is Life. Remember to get up and stretch every hour or so, and get a good 5 minutes of movement in for every two hours you sit.
It can save you a lot of problems… heh.
Project 52 member, Mike Moore’s Project.
I live in Encinitas California. It is a small but growing city 25 miles north of San Diego. Known for its legendary surf spots, Pipes, Swami’s and Stonesteps to name a few, Encinitas is often described as laid-back and funky.
For my project I chose to focus on Stonesteps Beach; in particular, the 27th Annual Stonesteps Longboard surf contest. Held on one Saturday in August, this neighborhood event brings old friends back together again and offers an opportunity to make new friends. The event is completely run by volunteers and neighbors. Local businesses donate prizes for the winners of the contest.
My vision was to show the contestants surfing and spectators mingling. Also, I wanted to capture details showing you the spirit of the event. A behind the scenes view that most people may not think about but, once they see the photographs, have an “ah-ha” moment.
Here is my view of the 27th Annual Stonesteps Longboard surf contest…enjoy the ride!
The curtain to the ER room flew open. A white coated doctor stood there with some papers in his hand and just looked at me.
“You aren’t supposed to be here”, he said.
I smiled and said they were moving me to the ICU in a few minutes.
He kind of wryly smiled and said, “No, I mean you are not supposed to BE here. I only get charts like this from the morgue.”
It kinda hit me at that moment how much trouble I was in.
He walked over to me and put his hand on my shoulder and quietly asked if I had family. I nodded and he said, “call them and get them here.”
“Am I going to die”, I asked – seriously.
“There is a distinct possibility of that happening at any moment.” The look in his eyes told me I was sorta toast.
“Not tonight”, I said. And I smiled at him, then at my wife. “Not tonight.”
He grinned and said that sounded good to him.
They moved me to CVICU and hooked me up to a bunch of IV’s and heart monitors and they checked my lungs every 2 hours. All while cautioning me not to move. At all.
This was August, 15, 2013. (Beware the Ides of August… heh)
I was marked for the end, but I had dodged the bullet so to speak, and now they had to help me dodge it a second time.
I had a Pulmonary Embolism (a type of heart attack) and had not been aware of it happening. It had happened a few weeks earlier when I was working around the house. I suddenly became totally out of breath and had to take breaks and calm myself while doing mundane things.
We called the doctor. They diagnosed me with high blood pressure and onset Diabetes. No lung X-Ray or any attention to the fact that my pulse was near 140.
If I had been a hummingbird, I would have been flying high…
That medication did nothing for my pulse, and my blood pressure remained high.
That Thursday in August I awakened as usual with a bit of stiffness in my left leg. After taking my daughter to school, I came in from the driveway so exhausted from the short walk in that I laid down to take a short nap.
At noon I awakened to my left leg aching pretty bad. I thought I had slept on it wrong so I started to rub out the kink.
Instantly I knew something was wrong. My leg was as hard as a brick, and looking down I noticed it was also double the size of my right leg.
And it was purple.
Paramedics arrive, and they are worried looking. “It may be a DVT” one said.
Of course I thought – a DVT. What a DVT was I had no idea.
“You are going to the hospital now”, said one of them as he glanced at his partner. I could tell that they didn’t like what they saw.
On Friday we discussed options… there were some bad options. I could die with any breath. I could lose the leg. They could pump me full of a powerful blood thinner, but if I had even the tiniest ulcer or hemorrhage anywhere in my body I would bleed out.
Someone in the radiology department said they would try a very tricky, very risky surgery to isolate the blood clot and kill it in place without filling my body with deadly blood thinner.
You see, I had a DVT. A Deep Vein Thrombosis – a blood clot – in my main artery in the left leg and it was killing my leg. And me. The blood clot had broken off earlier when I had the heart attack and I had been extremely lucky.
The clot entered the heart, passed through the chambers and exited the heart into my lungs. All without getting caught or stuck or – well – killing me where I stood.
And the chances of that happening again were slim to none.
Now the DVT was being crushed by the swelling leg and would most assuredly throw another clot toward the heart.
They had to move fast.
Oh, and the blood clot I had was nearly 36CM… over 14 inches long.
I say go big or go home. Microscopic can kill, and I have one over a foot long.
Well, the surgery worked. I am no longer in dire danger.
Now the culprit. How had I gotten a 14 inch blood clot?
Sitting on my fat ass, that’s how.
I wrote three books in two years. I write every day. I shoot and edit at the computer. I took several long car trips. I flew frequently.
All of those activities are clot creating.
I have learned so much about sedentary dangers. I have no plans on having another one of these episodes. Believe me.
Sitting in one spot can let the blood ‘pool’ in your ass and your ankles. The pooling can create small clots. Many times your body will take care of them, but on the off-chance it doesn’t. You… could die.
That would turn an otherwise great day into one that sucks, ya know.
So here is the deal.
Movement is life.
Set your phone or computer to remind you to get up and move at least a few minutes per hour.
Try doing some work standing (as I am now doing this writing).
When driving longer than two hours, stop and move around at least 10 minutes per hour and a half, or less. Stop. Take a photograph. Walk around and see the world you are passing through.
On plane rides longer than three hours, make sure you move around each hour for a few minutes. At the very least, do leg exercises to move the blood.
OK, this is hard to say… I don’t want to be some sort of nag. But seriously – let’s all work a little bit harder to get in shape. Walk more, take stairs yada yada yada. (Any magazine on the mag stand will have this same stuff in it, so pick one and do it.)
I am now on the mend. my BP is back to normal, and blood sugars are looking pretty good. I have lost 23 pounds and feeling pretty good.
My memory and retention are returning. (When one has massive blood clots in the lungs, they hardly work correctly. So they weren’t making oxygen for my brain. Another side effect of the PE, along with a very nasty nasty cough.)
I have taken two walks today, and my left leg is not cramping. I have stopped coughing and my lungs are working things out with the blood clots.
So that is why I haven’t been so active on this blog for the last few weeks.
I have a lot of stuff to add to the blog, but I wanted you to know what was happening.
And I want you to move. Movement is life.