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The History of Fatboy – The Unfortunate Years

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series The History of Fatboy

No, I didn't smoke, but this was my attitude.

Thankfully, it’s not just me. It happens to a lot of CFers. High school is done. Some go on to college, others don’t. Now what? Without a full-time job with benefits, you’re basically a medical insurance dependent of your parents, but that is supposed to run out at 22 or 25, depending on your state’s laws.

I lived at home and commuted to USF 5 days a week for my first semester. I failed one class because I missed the final exam because I didn’t read the exam matrix right. The next semester was a recovery semester to make up that grade and take easier classes. I did much better, but got a D in Chemistry II, leading to a change in majors. I realized I was not going to cut it as a pre-medical student if I couldn’t handle Chem 2. My scholarship got knocked down to 75% tuition, no books, and I was booted from the Honors Program.

Now in Management Information Sciences, I started the third semester out with renewed vigor, but ended with an F in Accounting and a D in Macro-economics. What the heck! I’d NEVER had this much trouble in school before. Maybe I wasn’t the genius I thought I was. We will find out in Part 3 what the problem was, but not yet. It was time to move on and get a job if I wasn’t going to cut it in college.

I had various jobs that all lasted 80-89 days when they cut me loose before the end of my probation period when I could get on their insurance plans. I finally got a job at a hotel call center that had benefits and lasted 8 months there before I nearly went crazy having to talk to so many inept people. I got insurance, though, and had another job lined up, that was actually going to be a career, with an Internet start-up. I had another 90-day probation period, but made it through this time.

Business was booming and I was in the wave of hires on the way up and landed in a pretty nice spot in the company. I got on their insurance, but things weren’t good. It was too much work to work 40-50 hours per week downtown and I wasn’t doing all of my treatments. Heck, I don’t even remember if I was doing much beyond my enzymes. Hemoptosis set in with a couple of long, scary episodes (thankfully in private locations). I never knew what it was before then. I distinctly remember thinking “how can I use the phone to call for help?”

By now, I was rooming with someone in town and my parents were living abroad. I got up, showered, ate cereal, went to work, ate out for lunch with my co-workers, came home and made ziti or chili, watched movies, and went to bed. That was my life. My friends from high school had all continued with school or gone off to college and were getting married by now. It didn’t matter if I continued to get sick. It’s what CFers do. I was already past my due date. I’ve seen my burial plot dozens of times, right next to my sister’s.

My CF doctors weren’t happy with me. One of them, I believe, eventually refused to see me and I started seeing the doctor who is now in charge of the whole operation at my center. Let’s just say he doesn’t take crap from non-compliant patients and he’s not afraid to cuss to scare you. I tried to be compliant, but it wasn’t working. I just couldn’t do it all with my work schedule. (Today, I say “WHAAAHH!! Get over it and figure it out!” to that, and you’ll see why in Part 3).

I’d just keep working there until it killed me or whatever it is that happens to CFers in their mid-20s. Or so I thought. One day, we were bought out by new investors who came in and slashed the bottom 60% of each department, and I had come into the company about a week too late to make the cut.

There I was, alone, unemployed, responsible for rent, food, COBRA health insurance (a steal at only $100/mo at the time), gas, stupid credit cards from years of being stupid with money… Rock bottom.

Then I met Beautiful.

To be continued…