The Second Mix Podcast - Reflect, Revise, and Remix Your Life
May 30, 2022

4 Things I Learned When I Almost Died This Year

4 Things I Learned When I Almost Died This Year

Second Mix is back for season 2!

I was in the hospital for 25 days out of a 45-day period in February and March of this year. 

This episode is about how it affected my personal journey and some of the things that I learned about how personal development actually works. 

Matt Bennett



[00:00:00] Hello listeners old and new. , I have to come to you with an apology. I was going to start season two of this podcast in February, but my life took a detour from everything. When I spent 25 days in the hospital during all of February and March, I've told the story so many times, I think I can give you a brief overview of what happened to me.

And then I'll tell you what I got out of the experience, all of this, in 5. 4 3, 2, 1 


On February 6th, 2022. I went into the emergency room for an appendectomy. I was admitted overnight and had surgery the next morning. The, uh, the day after I had the surgery, I was released the surgery seemingly having been flawless.

Two days later, I went back in the emergency room with a fever of 104 to 106 degrees, depending on that thermometer that I used. And after some checking, we were told that I had an infection from the surgery. I don't remember a whole lot of what happened next, but they gave me an antibiotic for the infection called Zosyn to which I had an allergic reaction.

I turned yellow, my liver dumped all of this. Billy Rubin it's called Billy Rubin into my bloodstream and they put in a PICC line in my arm. [00:02:00] Which is an IV that goes down to just above your heart and fed meets through that line. For 10 days, I did not eat food. I had ice chips and I got my nutrition, uh, all the nutrients and everything from this bag, uh, this IV.

And, uh, so I was in there for about 10 days. And after going home, this was the second time I did. Okay. For about a week I was on antibiotic pills and one day I got so nauseous that I couldn't take my antibiotics. So I went back into the ER to make sure everything was okay. And my white blood count showed that I was still battling an infection.

And so that was another week in the hospital though, this time I was a lot more aware and I did much better, although it also meant that I was bored a lot of the times, the previous time. I, I wasn't as aware as I could've been, there was only a couple of hours a day that I was awake and wondering, and thinking and all of that.

. I wanted to be active, but I was chained to my V and this new tube [00:03:00] sticking out of my stomach to drain the infected blood from around my bladder and intestines. So this time when I went home, they gave me another PICC line so that I could self-inject my antibiotics.

Let me see if I can grab that.

if you're watching the video of this, you're going to see that I'm holding up. This is what I had to do. This is the syringe. So this is a, uh, it's not, I guess, not on the bigger side, but it's a 20 milliliter syringe. Uh, And I had to, I had a little tube coming out and I had to hook this up to the tube and inject over three to five.

All of this stuff in my system, I did not like that. It felt like enough had gone wrong already. So putting my medical health into my hands as if I was giving myself surgery or something, I dunno. I just didn't like it. , I did get used to it, so it wasn't that big a deal, um, toward the end, but didn't like, I [00:04:00] D I didn't care for it, but from start to finish, I had.

I kept going back into the hospital because I had 12 CT scans and I had my 13th planned. I went back into the hospital for a fourth time, uh, in a couple weeks. 'cause I wasn't feeling well. And I just wanted to make sure that I was okay. And when I went in, they said it must be heartburn or something. They said I was doing well.

And they actually pulled the tube out of my stomach, took out my PICC line, sent me home. So I've had a few follow-up appointments, but on the whole things have been really well. Uh, this took up all of February, most of March. And here it is. What I got from the experience. . Number one, if you don't have your health, it's hard to care about much of anything. I didn't feel good. I was uncertain about what my future was going to be like. And apart from caring about my family, I didn't care much about anything.

I wasn't interested in TV or in personal development books or, or any of my other books on history, philosophy, marketing, business, behavioral economics. I truly just didn't care. I didn't want [00:05:00] video games, social media, social media music. I didn't want to learn anything. I really just slept when I could and stared at the ceiling when I couldn't sleep for probably 15 solid days, I felt like I should care

I felt like I should try to care. I just didn't have the energy or at least that was an excuse that I just didn't have the energy to care about anything. And this gave me an entirely new insight. I have been privileged to be fairly healthy. All of my 49 years. So far, barring this particular hospitalization.

I had preconceived notions about what it would be like to be sick. And I had decided beforehand that I would never let sickness get me down. I would never give up. Uh, like I hear that some people do. I have a new understanding because there were painful times when I think I would've just let myself fade away without fighting.

Fortunately my body and my strength covered for that weakness in my mind and my body and mind continued on together. But I would have in the past judged someone who just let go thinking that we should fight, fight, fight, or to quickly. Dylan [00:06:00] Thomas rage rage against the dying of the light. But I see now that there exists the kind of pain that would make it so difficult to carry on much less thrive.

I had a romanticized vision of what sickness was like and what it could be. Hopefully this made me a much more compassionate person in the future toward the sick and anyone struggling. In general, I'd still encourage people to rage, rage against the dying of the light, but I won't be so judgemental when they don't want to, if you're in a position right now to be healthy or to get healthy, please take advantage of that.

I am, I had a glimpse of what it could be like near the end, and I want to make that as long as possible before I feel like that again, I also learned, number two, you can give up, and truly begin to lose your life. As I began to heal a little bit, the doctors and nurses were trying to get me to get up and walk.

I didn't want to, but I did feel like deep down. I had to, [00:07:00] even though my heart wasn't in it, I didn't feel like it would actually do anything or be good for me. And I also had some major worries about actually my inability to control bowel movements. Like they want me to walk, but it was scary to think about getting 20 or 30 feet away from a bathroom.

But I was told that the wing I was in, there was a chapel that I could visit at any time. It was probably 150 yards away total, but it felt like way more than that. But walking with my IVs, stand on my wheels. I kept making the journey several times a day because I at least wanted to be able to show my wife that I was trying.

And one day out on this little walk, um, I heard my doctor, it was was my doctor, but in a room with another patient. And as I was walking by the room, My doctor said to the patient, it is not the beginning of the end for you, but if you don't do something about this, it will be, even though those words were directed at another patient, they struck me pretty hard, hard enough for me to sit in that chapel for a few minutes and reflect, [00:08:00] I really could give up right now.

I have the power to give up, trying to get healthy. I have the power to decide. That this will be the beginning of the end. It really all came down to what I wanted, and what I believe to be true about life and this isn't just true when you're sick, you can give a mentally, anytime you like, you can drop all your goals, not worry about them and just decide to get through life until it's over.

However, just as easily as you can decide all of that, you can decide in a positive direction. You can say that life is amazing. Life is beautiful, and that you're going to live as much of it as you can. And in order to do that, you want this goal and this goal and that goal, and you can decide to get to work and you can begin a new life change

right this very second, nobody is stopping you from achieving your goals only you are stopping yourself, which brings me to number three, you can come up with a million excuses, why you shouldn't [00:09:00] or couldn't move forward, but you only need one of those to quit. I had every reason to feel sorry for myself, and it all would have been legit

I had every reason to shout out that life isn't fair and it would have been legit. I had every excuse in the book to give up on all my endeavors, this podcast, my consulting, business buying and renting real estate. My music endeavors, my desire to start speaking publicly. Um, even even my like magic hobby and kayaking.

I had an excuse to push it all away and you don't have to be in a hospital to come up with excuses. Any one will do . Doesn't take much of an excuse to stop you from moving forward to give up. If you don't feel like doing something, any one, excuse that sounds good to you will work. And this is poison.

We all have to be aware of the excuses floating around in our heads and all the reasons not to achieve, because we can either make excuses. Or we can make progress, but [00:10:00] we can never do both. And I had a list building in my head, in the hospital of why I couldn't, why I shouldn't. And I find this amazing because the next thing that I learned was that number four, I became something new.

Jim Rohn always said the greater part of all the disciplines and all the work on personal development was not what you get, but what you become. I think that the most important thing I learned from this whole thing was that I had become something else because of my personal development, because of my input, my journals, all of that had changed my.

Even though it was difficult to care all the way back from number one. And despite the fact that I wasn't getting daily input in the hospital, I wasn't reading or listening or learning, I was still running those scripts that I had built up in my head, those personal development scripts, those moving forward scripts in [00:11:00] my head.

Uh, during this time that I was in the hospital, I recently purchased a two unit multifamily property, right before I got sick. And during my time I asked a friend who's a contractor and a property owner himself if he could help me out and get the place ready so I could get a tenant in the place as soon as possible, I was paying the mortgage already and I needed two tenants in there.

And I didn't feel like I cared. But I kept pushing forward daily to make it happen. I stayed in touch with my friend and made sure that I was paying him well so that he was so that he could continue to take care of it. And that both of us felt good about that whole process. I also put an offer in and got the offer accepted on a four unit apartment building and all the while I didn't care about doing it, but the offer came in.

I was, I was running on autopilot. Because I became something new from 2019 to today, back then I never would have [00:12:00] kept working through the adversity. I would have let things go and suffer the consequences. I would have used every excuse in the book to not take a risks risk, and to try something to better myself, to put the responsibility on someone else, because I had an incredible excuse.

Zig Ziglar said your input determines your outlook, your outlook determines your output and your output determines your future. And I think that there's a grace period, a coasting period when you're studying and growing and working to become better, where the effects take some time to wear off. When you put your car in neutral, down a hill, you always get to the bottom and sometimes you can even coast a little way.

Up the next hill and that's where I was. And I just thank God every day that I was able to put the car back in drive. Once I was halfway up that next hill and continue pushing forward, pressing on being here where I am now, because my health slowly began getting better. My habits also included getting more [00:13:00] input.

I started walking and hiking and listening to my motivational and educational material again, but I also was so happy that I had become. Someone who even through that pain. And even through that actual lack of care, lack of ambition, lack of anything. I went through the motions to get a two unit ready and to buy another four unit and to take care of things.

When I was when I totally had every excuse to not do that. And though, maybe many of you out there would be like that already. I can tell you that in 2019, I was not that guy. I would have taken that excuse. I would have used that excuse and you know, it's only 20, 22. So my life has changed that much in.

Three years since February, 2019 to February, 2022, I saw the change. So I'm not going to leave you with any huge [00:14:00] lesson today. I'm not going to advise you about what to do with your time and your life. I will just say this. It is possible for you to design. And live an extraordinary life. And one of the major pieces of doing this is to learn from your past the good and the bad, and the only way to do that, the only way to learn from your past is to take the time to reflect on it and then revise it and then remix the new decisions into your life.

So here is to reflecting, revising, and remixing your life. I will see you soon.