I work as a “volunteer” driver. This means that I get mileage rather than hourly. This is mainly because there is very little left that I can do. Let me explain.
Four or five years ago, shortly before I ended up going through another divorce, I found out that I carry the AATD gene. What is AATD? Well, let me put it in as simple of terms as I possibly can.
A-1 Antitrypsin is a protease that helps the lungs regenerate. Heal. AATD is a deficiency in this protease. That means that environment can be very deadly.
Though I do not have a total deficiency in this protease, I do have a lower count…which means that my lungs are 1) weaker than most everyone else’s, and 2) my lungs do not heal as quickly or as efficiently as normal lungs. These two factors determine where I can work. And where I cannot work.
In fact, upon the diagnosis, the doctor advised me to avoid misty, oily, dusty, smoky, chemically laden environments. basically, he told me that I was not to be in any of the professions I had been trained to work in. Gone was the readily available factory/manufacturing jobs. Gone was being able to work on the loading docks or for the nurseries. And gone was the ability to work as a cook.
I had spent most of my early adulthood working as a cook. I know the kitchen of many restaurants like the back of my hand. I can fix every sandwich, every entree, and nearly every dessert with my eyes closed. But now, I can no longer do it without risking my health.
I can no longer go to the factories. Most, if not all, have chemicals in the air. Or dust. Or both.
Though I have resigned myself to this, and to following the doctor’s admonishment, it does not make it any easier to live with. I do not consider myself disabled. I consider myself limited. This is why I decided to try to start my own business. To have something that did not put my health at risk.
Oddly enough, I still smoked when I found out I had the genetic weakness. I smoked until after my divorce. The strange thing about that was that I quit immediately after the divorce was finalized. It was as if a load had been lifted from my shoulders. And I had no reason, nor any pressure, to smoke. That was five years ago.
Immediately after, I picked up my pen (figuratively) and never looked back. Before, I had published three books with a vanity press (BTW, they don’t always tell you they are vanities. You don’t always find out until later, when they decide to nickel and dime you with things that should be free through a traditional publisher), but none went anywhere. Oh, they are still in print, but I can’t afford the promotional options.
I released my first self-released books in 2013, followed by another last year. Now, I have a collection in the works as well as the current story you have been enjoying.