A couple of years back I went to the Emergency Room, convinced I was having a heart attack. I wasn't thinking I was going to die but I was convinced that I was having a heart attack.
You know how, on the TV shows, if someone comes in with chest pains, they rush you right in to a doctor? Well, that doesn't happen at Upper Valley Medical Center - at least not for me. I was told by the receptionist desk lady to sit and wait my turn. So, much chagrined, I sat and waited my turn.
Maybe she's psychic. I was not having a heart attack. I learned a couple of hours later (after sitting and waiting my turn) that I was having an anxiety attack. All that sitting and waiting, of course, was very helpful to my anxiety problem. In any event, I survived that incident reasonably well.
Today, though, I had something very different happen. I truly thought I was going to die ... and I discovered that I think of weird things when I think I am going to die.
I was working at my desk all afternoon and I had a severe headache. I took some Tylenol but they didn't help. I am no stranger to headaches but this one was particularly bothersome.
All of a sudden, it was like I felt something snap or burst in my neck. Immediately, my peripheral vision started closing in and I was certain I was going to pass out. Actually, I was certain I was dying. Somewhere off in the distance I could hear a plump lady singing. (She was singing "I've Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts", by the way -- an exceptional rendition of it at that!) The main thing I thought immediately was that I didn't want to die alone. Not that I wanted someone else to die with me but I wanted someone there. I just didn't want to be found slumped over my desk, cold and stiff. So I called out to a couple of my office friends. They came and stared at me with inquisitive looks on their faces. What do you say to someone who thinks they're dying? One of my friends told me I looked pale. I was thinking that was probably acceptable for someone who was dying. I didn't have time to run out to the tanning salon. He asked if I wanted a glass of water. All I could think was that I probably shouldn't drink anything because I wasn't sure how long it would be before I'd see a bathroom.
I thought about calling Lisa but I didn't want my last contact with her to be hearing me croak on the phone. "Hi, Lisa? It's me..." (very long pause) ... not a good last memory of your spouse. I thought a lot about how very much I love her.
I thought of friends ... I thought of projects that I hadn't finished ... projects that would be left uncompleted. I thought of all the "stuff" I have accumulated over the years and that someone would have to go through it and throw it all out. I hated the thought of being a burden to others.
Other than thinking of beloved family and friends, as well as these couple of odd things, I was ready to go ... ready to travel ... anxious, even.
Well, I didn't die. I didn't even completely pass out. The plump lady changed her tune and started singing "Yes, We Have No Bananas". I still don't know what happened. Just one of those weird things I guess. But it is interesting to consider the things I thought about the afternoon I was convinced that I was about to die.