So a ways back I attended one of my favourite conventions to date. Con-G. This convention numbers on the top two favourite conventions of the year (tying with ConBravo) but I say this as a generality. By which I mean that I love Con-G as a convention on a whole. The specific Con-G that I am talking about today was fun but ended with me in a hospital. So you can imagine that it was not my favourite day.
So the story begins when I got really excited for the convention. I was going to be meeting and filming with members of channel awesome as well as hosting a lot of fun content. And I did those things. Those were the things I did. But in getting excited I also got really nervous. And that leads to stress. And in my wonderful world of personal issues my stress (or more accurately anxiety) leads to me getting very sick. It was a common occurrence for me at the time. I would get stressed about an upcoming convention and the things I had planned and I would get very ill as a byproduct. So much so that it had become a regular thing for me. People expected me to be sick. All the damn time.
And boy did I deliver at this convention.
Another thing people know about me is that I don’t accept help easily. I can be very stubborn about letting others assist me in any way. Now I’m not sure if it’s a pride thing or if I just can’t seem to find any competent people to help me. Or maybe a mixture of the two? I just don’t think it’s of any help to me if the people that I am allowing to do work for me can’t be bothered to dress themselves in the morning. Giving myself more people to manage just feels like I’m adding more work, you know? Maybe I don’t trust them to do a good job? Maybe that’s because they don’t do a good job? Anyway. I can be stubborn about help.
I can also be stubborn about my personal limits. I have an issue with quitting. Or at least understanding where my roof is, so to speak. I overestimate myself regularly and bite off more then I can chew habitually. And as you can imagine, an innate ability to get sick when you stress out is a bad mix with stubbornness like this. It’s bad cocktail to make. Even worse to drink.
So I go to this convention. Nervous and stressed. Determined to get all this work done. Sick as a dog on the Friday. But I keep telling myself that I can do this. That I am strong enough to, at least, make it to the end of the convention and then crash.
I got pretty close.
Everything was going as expected by the end of Saturday night. I was feeling like a pile of crap that had just been set on fire and then launched into space. But I was still stable enough to move and talk and be charming to a point. I tried to go to bed and get some rest but the symptoms weren’t letting up. I just had a cold right? I could shake it off just as much as the next guy. But the cough meds weren’t working. Rest wasn’t helping. I was getting worse and worse by the moment. Something was wrong.
I was dying.
Now, one might think that to be a rather dramatic statement given the current situation. But I would later find out that I had a severe case of pneumonia in both my lungs and it was advancing fast. I got out of bed. I needed to get an ambulance. It was 6AM. I needed to get to the lobby and get a staff member to help me. Anyone. I open the door and find three people sitting there in front of me. Right in the hallway. Just having a little 6AM pow-wow outside my door. I had considered that maybe I was hallucinating. But then one of them gets up and starts talking to me. I was not in the best of shape so the first thing they asked was if I was ok. I responded that I needed to get an ambulance because I was very sick. That I had taken some cough medication and that it was not working. The man nods to me and then leans in to ask me, what I thought at the time, the most offensive question I had heard that year.
“Are you on cocaine?”
WHAT?! What the hell kind of conventions have you been going to that this even registers as a question? I look this guy straight in the eye and say “Dude. I need you to get out of my way. I need to get to the lobby.” And so he opts to help me out. He gets me into the elevator and downstairs. He helps the receptionist call an ambulance. He sits me down and when the paramedics arrive he tells them that I AM ON COCAINE. I would have shouted at him or at the very least thrown something if I could move or breathe. It was the least helpful thing. It took the paramedics the span of five seconds to see that it was not illicit drugs that was ailing me but still. Throwing them right off the path. Not cool man.
Anyway. Since then I have done a very good job at managing stress. It has been about a year and a half since I was in a hospital ER. But I’ll never forget that day. Or that guy. It was a very humbling experience.