As The Guy Who Almost Died, I have important lessons to teach you about life and death.
First, it's never a good situation when you're hoping for phlegm.
That's what I'm doing as I write this in an ER, hoping that my dry cough will change to something grosser – something a teenage boy eating Oreos would be proud to expectorate.
I have a blood disorder that nearly killed me several years ago and the only persistent symptom was a dry cough. It brought to mind those Hollywood roles where blondes supposedly on death's door cough tasteful amounts of blood into a white kerchief.
But eventually my symptoms progressed to waking up under my desk thinking, "This isn't good." If you develop the keen medical eye I have, you'll come to recognize that as a bad sign.
With this background, I prefer coughs to be horrible phlegm-filled monstrosities, because then I know I have a cold. When I have a dry hack with no other symptoms, I start hiding my more embarrassing sex-related possessions and making sure I'm wearing clean underwear.
As you can see, my Guy Who Almost Died wisdom runs deep. As such, I offer the following life lessons to save you the trouble of nearly dying. You're welcome.
Loved ones rock: People overplay how important it is to have a positive attitude when sick. It's like the train jumped the tracks and everybody's talking about how brave you were when all you did was hold tight and say, 'Whooooaaah.'
On the other hand, it made a big difference for me to see family and friends around me smiling and happy, as opposed to the doctor (I swear) who kept looking back and forth between me and the body bags.
Victimhood sucks: I joined a Facebook group for survivors of my condition, but it was mostly people talking about how they'd never live without fear again. What's the point?
It's like my hero, the sheep from Garfield, says: There are problems you can do something about, so why worry?; and there are problems you can't do anything about, so why worry?
Love your body: People who look in the mirror and say, "I hate my body" because it's not perfect deserve a slap. People with, say, ALS, they can hate their bodies if they so choose.
You have to love yours. That's a rule. Even love the bad stuff. Especially the phlegm. Cough cough ahem.