(This is a continuation of posts about my experience with Guillain Barre Syndrome that began with the post called Heartbeats.)
My experience with Guillain Barre Syndrome was a result of things that happened long before I came down with the illness. Looking back I had experienced many highs and lows. When I was up I could do almost anything I put my mind to, but there were those times when I took on more than I could realistically handle. I would become overwhelmed and then retreat. I would go into a bit of depression and isolate myself. No one identified it as a problem then. Today we call it bi-polar disorder. Unfortunately it has a very negative connotation, but it can be managed with self awareness and some medication. Also, many of the most productive and creative people in this world have some level of bi-polar disorder. They often have long periods of mania with seemingly endless energy, and they've learned to hide their struggles with depression.
Now to the events just before coming down with Guillain Barre Syndrome. I was a supervisor for Kay-Bee Toy Stores. In July we had remodeled several stores. It wasn’t until then that shoppers realized the change in ownership of that store. The previous Christmas sales were not the greatest so as we got closer to the Christmas after the remodel, we only built up the inventory to allow for a little more than the previous Christmas level of sales. That was a mistake. As we entered the Christmas season, sales began to grow dramatically. We were depleting inventory faster than we could replenish it. I convinced the Regional Manager to start sending us two trucks per week instead of one. The difficulty was that you could never be sure exactly what was coming on the next shipment under normal circumstances, but now I had to guess what to order since one shipment was being prepared while I wrote the order for the next one. There was no electronic point of sale system with computers keeping track of store inventory in those days, so I needed to check every item in the store and make a judgment call as to what would be needed. Without a POS system, I needed to enter the stock number of each case of an item into a small terminal when I finally arrived home. In addition to all of this, the managers of these stores had never experienced these levels of sales.
During this time I was working at least 100 hours per week. This took a tremendous toll on my body. But my ego was getting such a boost as I received accolades for doubling and tripling sales in these stores as well as significantly increasing sales in my other stores. This boost to my ego helped me ignore the brutal beating my work load was giving my body. I had no clue how it was about to take a life threatening toll on me. After the Christmas season was over I was named the District Supervisor of the year. This only added to my sense of invincibility. When I came down with bronchitis, I was sure I could just work through it. Sidewalk sales were about to take place, and I was determined to keep the record sales coming. Even in my personal life I was determined not to give in to illness. I insisted on researching then teaching members of our church young adults group about wine at a wine and cheese tasting party. Then one day I woke up struggling to breath.
Is this what God would want for me? Was I a better person for helping the managers and employees be so successful? Where does self sacrifice for the good end and foolish martyrdom begin?
Please stay on topic.