Next time you feel bad about your life, consider this: whatever is happening, you are probably not violently expelling your insides from a wheelchair situated over a bucket. Or reading the Left Behind series, which later came to hideous life in the wooden form of Kirk Cameron.
But if you are, in fact, violently expelling your insides from a wheelchair situated over a bucket in surprisingly third-world Berlin, just know this: it can change your life forever, according to the Philly.com's Nate Mink's profile of kicker David Akers.
The Eagles allocated Akers to NFL Europe, and soon after he got sick, stuck in a closet-sized hospital room more than 4,000 miles away from his wife... David's kidneys were hurting, he was shaking with a 105-degree fever and his living quarters were a one-window room that included a bucket placed under a wheelchair for a toilet.
Salmonella from undercooked chicken he ate the night before the game required Akers to be rushed to the hospital, where doctors struggled to regulate his blood pressure... all the doctors and nurses only spoke German or Russian.
...What he learned that week changed him forever, a time to reprioritize his life and give him strength to endure some of the cruelest curveballs yet to be thrown his way.
He left Berlin a changed man.
Yeesh. When I have an upset tummy, I just whine a lot and conduct absolutely no character development whatsoever. But "changed man" Akers read Left Behind, pulled out a pen, wrote a deathbed letter to his wife, and prepared for the end. In perhaps the cruelest twist, death assigned him to live through at least the Eagles' 2005 season and his wife's now-overzealous chicken-cooking. It's a mean world.
The profile goes on to detail how Aker's son later pussed at the mouth during illness, how he has likely lost his retirement by investing heavily in a company that is now being sued by the federal government for fronting a multimillion-dollar insurance scam, and how his wife cried in the stands during the Jacksonsville game last week at the thought her husband might be forced to play elsewhere next season.
"If I'm not sitting in a stadium listening to 'Rocky,'" she said, "I'm going to be really upset."
David seemingly also wants to stay in Philly.
“I’ve been here almost a third of my life. Hopefully I can stay a little bit longer. But we’ll just see how the season plays out. It’s been a wonderful ride so far,” he told Bird Nest's Dan Stamm.
At least Mrs. Akers won't be sweating over a nasty bucket in Berlin. But still: while none of these things are going to kill the Akers family, and there's a whole season in which the Eagles can decide to keep him, the only natural response to this story is to offer the man three lifetime contracts. Common sense and salary cap be damned.