Dying Thoughts


I wrote this 706 days ago, almost two years. I’m not sure what was going on physically but it hasn’t repeated, so I’m thinking it was some sort of transitory thing. What is interesting to me today is the thought process.

“Can’t catch my breath. Not processing oxygen? Thinking this is a strange way to go, gasping for each breath. Trying to relax, find ways to reduce my need. Standing next to the bus stop was a bad idea. Not nearly enough oxygen for normal, let alone immediate need.”

I remember the girls were shopping and I thought I would wait outside. Just moments before I had a hard time climbing the last few steps of the subway. So now I was focused on trying to breathe. Standing next to a diesel bus wasn’t smart.

“I wonder what the deal is, not breathing deep enough? Trying to force everything out to see if I get a good intake. Seems okay. Trying to hold my breath for a minute. 45 sec at best. Try again. Nope, 45 sec.”

I suppose I thought this was a stress test, and it did give a baseline of something. Without prep I can hold 1:30 today so that is twice. Maybe it did say something.

“Well, can I make it back home? I guess it depends if the bulge backs off the spinal cord. The skin tingling sensation seems better but the pressure on my sternum is worse. Clearly relaxing is good but perhaps walking more is better in terms of strength. Stress is a big factor, less stress less need for oxygen. If I make it through today we will see.”

Five months before I had hurt my back lifting some drinks into the lower rack on a cart at Costco. Probably has happened to thousands across the country, but they screwed up something in the lower back, the standard lumbar hernia. Not me, I felt something go in the middle of my back, the T9 disk actually. It did hurt somewhat, but the main sensation was the feeling that ants were crawling on my chest. The other was a contracted diaphragm. That made deep breathing difficult. According to MRI the disk is pressing on the spinal cord, which gives me the transferred feelings.

“I suppose it could get suddenly worse and by tonight I’m in a NYC hospital from a heart attack based on lack of oxygen. In which case this might be my last written communication.”

I actually did go to the hospital the next day. They treated me as a heart attack patient, but the EKG showed no heart attack. The said it actually looked great. I spent the whole day in the hospital, then in the evening, they let me go, couldn’t find a thing. Curious that I was thinking this was the last time that I might have a chance to write something..

“I wonder how long it will take for someone to read this, am I still here or long gone?”

Now that’s really weird. Things are getting dark and I’m worried if stuff will be read? Just a little ego centered.

“This is a sobering thought. I should be more erudite, more pensive, more humble. Let me just get it out there. Sherry, I love you and I’m sorry I haven’t been a better husband. And to all the kids I could have been a better father. Room for improvement but no time. Man, that is the tragedy of most of mankind. I guess that’s why we clutch so hard to forgiveness.”

Really? I’m thinking there must be some guilt going on. The first thoughts were basically selfish, so the next is an attempt to do the right thing. Very, very weak. Sorry, let’s see, can you imagine someone saying the opposite? Nope, I don’t think so. ‘Uh,yep, it looks like this is my time, and I’m thankful I did most everything just right.’

“Best advice I can give is to remember the best things, even if they were small and few between.”

Hmm, just a little bitter are we? And those that are left should feel sorry for the “too soon ending” with a bitter attitude. I don’t think so. And clearly this is not a great ‘dying thought’. Really kind of pathetic. Which gives me an idea. The time will come , so why not spent a little time composing a better product. This impromptu written crap is just plain sad. If I actually think that someone will want to hear my last words then I should get to work well ahead of the deadline. (no pun intended).

“How to remember me? Read everything I wrote, save everything I made, keep everything I thought was important. Gosh, what a burden that would be. I wrote so much that was crap and created even more crap.”

Kind of hard to be humble when you expect people to read your stuff because you really have something important to say. False humility in the face of death is very odd.

“I never did put a sticker under the objects that I really liked. Sorry, just because I kept it for years doesn’t mean I even liked it. Weird, I’m breathing easier. Let me test the holding breath trick. Wow, one minute- that’s better.”

I’m so glad, because if I would have died, my spirit would have never rested knowing that this crap was where my thoughts were at the time. It is said that just before a Roman soldier killed Archimedes, his last words were “please don’t mess with my circles”. Now that’s an honest statement just before death. I wonder if there is a website or book that has collected dying statements? Famous Last Words, of course!

Oh, oh, don’t look, it will take hours off your life.

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