Ian's Getting Back On His Feet

Hey all, here's my story. In late 2016, just before the holidays, I lost my job at Sauce Restaurant in Manhattan. Around the same time, I noticed a physical decline in my health. I attributed the illness to the stress of my employment situation, but as 2017 began, things only began to decline and deteriorate. By March, I was coughing on a constant loop, hardly able to climb a small flight of stairs without sitting down to rest and catch my breath, and I couldn’t eat more than a few pieces of fruit without throwing up. 

I put off seeing doctors until a friend of mine forced me to check into the ER. The prognosis was not good. PCP Pneumonia is no joke.  

After more than a week in the ICU, both of my lungs collapsed. The last thing I remember is someone saying “He’s turning blue” before I blacked out. The next few weeks were a complete blur. I woke up with two chest tubes in me, and a feeding tube down my throat. 

Mount Sinai hospital was my home for the next three months. I can’t thank the team there enough (doctors, nurses, custodians, everybody). It's a miracle that I’m alive today. During this period, it took weeks for me to relearn how to sit up in bed. In May, I was finally able to walk from my bed into the hallway, and I was finally able to walk without an oxygen tank by early June. 

The day I was discharged last summer was one of the best days of my life, but I still wasn’t in top physical shape. My hands and feet were still in a lot of pain, and I’d developed symptoms of arthritis after being mostly bedridden. Because my apartment in New York was on the top floor of a walk-up, and I hadn’t been working for months, it wasn’t feasible for me to stay in my Brooklyn home. 

For the few years, my life has sort of been on pause, and there have been times where I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety. There are times when what I went through seem like a distant memory, and times where the entire experience seems to hit me all at once. But I am so grateful for the support of my family and friends, both in the home I grew up in around New England, and my new home back in New York. I’m also thankful for the Affordable Care Act. Having a sense of humor also helps! Luckily, I’ve been getting physically stronger every day. I’m finally able to take walks again without my feet swelling like balloons, and I’m finally able to make a fist again with my left hand. I’m even able to sing again, which is a huge blessing, as I thought I might’ve lost that forever. Now that I'm feeling like myself again, I think I’m finally ready to make some moves, find work, and get the rest of my life back on track in New York City. It's not easy for me to ask for some help, and I’ve been debating whether of not to for some time, but I figure I don’t have anything to lose. Even if you’re not able to contribute, I appreciate you taking time to read my story. Thanks.


Ian Mazurek
New York, NY

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