Monday, August 26, 2013

How dying changed my life forever... Or Elvis, I don't think we are in Graceland anymore!

A funny thing happened on the way to the heart cath lab. The night before the procedure I slept in spurts. I would doze, sit straight up in bed wide awake, worry, snooze, and then wake continually throughout the night.

I remembered reading that one out of 100 people are allergic to the contrast dye but that thought just evaporated when I told myself that the only thing that I am really allergic to is death. And worry wrapped itself around me like a shroud.

I don't remember when I finally drifted off but I woke up tired and weary to the marrow of my bones. I got up that morning, showered and got ready to head for the hospital. I had a strangely eerie feeling as I walked through the house. Somehow I had the feeling that I wouldn't return.

 As I was brushing my teeth I looked in the mirror and Spirit whispered to my heart,  "And so it is". 

I stood over the bed considering if I should expend the energy and make it. I thought that it was an unnecessary gesture since I most likely would never sleep in it again. I shrugged my shoulders, heard a large sigh escape from the bottom of my soul and went downstairs.

I spent a long time with my dog Cuddles, petting her, and reassuring her that things would be perfectly okay. I wasn't certain at the moment who was comforting who. It wasn't a melodrama. It was like moving in slow motion while watching yourself from a distance. I knew that I was leaving on a long journey and I wasn't certain if I would be able to find my way home again.

In the car on the way to the hospital I sat in the backseat alone and explained quietly to my son John where the life insurance policies were and instructed my daughter Jana how to divide my jewelry. I saw terror on their faces as they looked at me in the rear view mirrors and listened to me softly explain to them how I wanted them to take care of things when I was gone.

Jana asked if I would like her to pray with me. I answered simply, "Certainly, if it will make YOU feel better." And then I told them about 'the message' I had been given that morning as I brushed my teeth. It was bittersweet. I was terrified and anxious. I knew that whatever was going to happen that day was already written. I was filled with a quiet calm and an acceptance I had never experienced before. "And so it is," I whispered to myself silently.

The hospital staff was fast and efficient. They literally do hundreds of these procedures a day. They are well-trained and dedicated to providing excellent care. Like well rehearsed dancers performing together on stage they seemed to float around me as they prepped me. The anesthesiologist started the IV drip and reality began to slip away.

It was surreal in the room. I was freezing cold. I began to shiver and as I reflect back I am certain that I may have begun to go into shock. Tears ran down my face and into my ears and then I could feel them drip one at a time off my earlobes. I swear that I could hear them as they hit the floor one tiny drop at a time. 

I attempted to calm myself. I remembered the guided visualization techniques I had learned long ago. So I began a mental inventory of my body parts... Two feet (I wonder if they are stinky. Why didn't I polish my toenails?) ... Two ankles, two chubby calves (OH MAN! I should have shaved my legs) ... Onward and upward I continued until I came to my heart.

"Holy beans!" I thought. I only have ONE heart and at that very moment I wasn't certain just how well that one was working...

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