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  • Six years ago I almost died. It wasn’t anything dramatic. Nothing violent. I suddenly couldn’t catch my breath. My heart was racing... for hours. At 3pm I drove home from work to lay down. I could barely make it up the stairs to my second floor apartment. I nearly passed out.

    I didn’t have health insurance. I was already in debt. I thought that the end was near. I left a note to my friends and family on my computer then I laid down to die.

    At 9pm, my heart calmed down. I was breathing easier. I drifted off to sleep.

    The next morning I felt fine. But just to be sure, I called in sick. My boss wasn’t happy. I was the only person trained to do my job. I was indispensable. “When will you be in?” the boss asked me. I told him that I didn’t know.

    I walked around my small apartment slowly. I felt a little light headed but otherwise okay. I decided to go to work the following day. But instead of driving to work I went to the hospital. Except it wasn’t a hospital that accepted patients. The nice old lady at the information/reception desk said that I had to go to the other hospital; a five minute drive. Gasping for air, I told her that I didn’t think I could make it.

    “Do you want an ambulance?”

    “Yes. Please.”

    A nurse came out and took my heart rate and blood pressure. Within a minute or so, the Emergency Medical Technicians were strapping me to a gurney and placing me in an ambulance. The EMT guy was very kind. He asked me if I had any discomfort in my chest. Yes I did. He gave me a nitroglycerin pill. A minute later he asked about the chest pain. It was still there. He gave me another pill.

    They rolled me into the Emergency Room. They asked me who was my next of kin. I gave them my brother-in-law’s phone number. It was the only one I could remember. The EMT guy gave the nurse all the technical information of my ride to the ER.

    He reached over and placed a hand on my shoulder as I laid there in the ER hospital bed. He said, “Good luck to you, buddy.” And he was gone.

    Upon reflection, I realized that he was saying goodbye. He didn’t expect me to live. There was sadness in his voice.

    That was six years ago and I am still here. I don’t how much time I have left, but I am living as if every minute counts. Because it does.

    (The EMT guy thought I had a heart attack. The doctor said later after reviewing X-rays and cat scans, "You didn't have a heart attack you had a LUNG attack. Sixty percent of the people with your condition don't make it. They usually go home and die. You have DVT, Deep Vein Thrombosis with multiple Pulmonary Embolisms".)
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