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  • I guess that’s what I get for procrastinating on making my Intentions List, eh? Wham – down for the count and to the hospital you go, buster! Alright, alright, I’ll do it, already! Man, can’t the universe take a fricking joke?

    Honestly, for those four or five hours that I was in a consistent level of all-encompassing pain like I’ve never known, I was having a lot of trouble finding any humor in the situation, either. The closest I can recall to feeling the way I felt then, was the time I was trapped in the black smoke filled engine room fire on my first ship. In both cases, the feeling was so awful, my thought was, “Let’s get whatever it is over with. Anything but this.”

    The time on that ladder in that engine room fire was just a matter of minutes, but it haunted me for years, afterwards. It was a traumatic, life-changing event. Yesterday’s experience went on for hours, but a funny thing about it was, once it was over, it was over. I don’t feel like it was a traumatic, life-changing event at all. It just felt similar to that because I couldn’t breathe, my chest felt like it was on fire and ready to explode at any moment, and I was confronted with my own death.

    Then, I was still afraid of death. It was a deep, dark unknown, to me. I definitely did not feel like I was ready to go. I hadn’t even figured this life out, yet. I needed more time. I was filled with fear.
  • This time, I don’t know – my processing of it was much different. For one, I had a hell of a lot more time to process it while it was happening. Then, all of my processing really happened after the fact. There was no time to think or process while it was happening.

    What did I process as I went through my little journey yesterday? Well, I did think about my “Year to Live” exercise that I went through a couple years ago, and I remembered suggestions in that book about how to deal with sickness and pain. Lean into it. Don’t try to avoid whatever this is trying to tell you. Embrace it. Soften yourself to it. Even though these things didn’t seem to help much with the actual level of pain, they at least gave me something constructive to do while I was being racked with it. Kept my mind occupied on something positive, other than how much the pain really, really sucked.

    I did think about my life, and, “what if this is it? What if I’m having a major life-ending event, right here, right now? Am I ready for this?” I was. I no longer fear my own death. In fact, I welcome it. I’m looking forward to what’s next, even though I truly have no idea what that is. I know enough to know, I’m ready to go when it’s my time. Let’s go. It’s a good day to die, as the old American Indian philosophy goes.

    Like my mother before me, I just don’t want it to be long and drug out. I don’t want to spend a long time in incredible pain that consumes my being, and hold on to this life just for the sake of holding on to it. That’s not me. I don’t want to be defined by my pain. If I can’t be free to be who I am in this vessel, to think and create and interact freely with others, it’s time to go. Next!
  • I did take a little trip while riding to the hospital in the ambulance. I went traveling. I have no idea for how long. It did seem to take them forever to get there. Kathy was riding up front with the driver – she was pretty sure he couldn’t get the gear shift out of second gear. The traveling helped. For those moments that I left, I was pain free – because I wasn’t there. In my body. I was somewhere else. I’ve been there before, so I recognized it. The pain did keep bringing me back, eventually, but those little trips got me through that otherwise awful ride. I’ve never ridden in an ambulance before, and hope to never do so again. Not a fun ride!

    Will I change how I live my life now, and start being oh, so careful, and worry about something like this happening again?

    Not on your life! Sorry, that just isn’t me. On facebook, I was getting all kinds of advice about this being a wake-up call, about how I'm 60 now and need to act my age, slow down. Sorry, friends. Not me. I'm just gearing up.

    Look – I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I eat relatively healthily, if maybe still a little more than I really need, I exercise regularly - I like my life. Why would I change anything? I’m not going to slow down. Slow down and be who? Someone else? Because, that wouldn’t be me. I have to live my life at the pace of my spirit. When my spirit tells me to slow down – I will. Until then – let’s rock!
  • It was a cold! My biggest mistake was taking the damn cold medicine, that dehydrated me, that caused the chest pains, that sent me to the hospital in an ambulance. Next time, I won’t do that. I’ll do what I prefer to do – just wait out the cold. Experience the symptoms, blow the nose, cough up the phlegm, drink more fluids, and eat oranges. Kathy reminded me last night of the time she experienced a very similar reaction on the same cold medicine. That’s when I knew what it was that caused my event. It was the damn medicine. And lack of enough fluids. Period.

    It’s funny, though, I did have one funny thought, at one point, when I still thought that I might be knocking on Heaven’s Door – man, I’m glad I didn’t make out my Intentions List for 2015. Had I done that, I’ll be leaving something undone! But, I didn't, so I'm good to go!

    I truly felt like I’d be leaving nothing undone. I followed through on all of my 2014 Intentions. But, since I am still here – I’d best get cracking on my intentions for 2015, before we get so far into the year, I’m having to back-date these suckers! Next year, I'll do them on time!
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    Photos 1 - 3 by Ales Krivac, #4 by Casey Fyfe, courtesy of https://unsplash.com/
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