End of Life, or Pricing the Farm

“Dying on the toilet was not how I envisioned leaving this world.” —The Corruptible by Mark Mynheir

I always thought if I had a near-death experience, I’d immediately hone in on regrets—people I wish I’d spent time with, things I hadn’t done… Then I’d know how to change my life. I’d become this amazing saint and travel the world promoting peace and giving talks about what a selfish bastard I used to be.

I now know I’m the type who would wake up in Heaven still finishing my last thought, “Hey, this isn’t good. I might really die here. Oh. Hi there.”

On Wed, I started having pain in my gums where the implant came out, so the dentist prescribed an antibiotic. I took it at midnight. About 3 hours later, whilst innocently typing an email, my body decided it didn’t like what it had been given. It wanted its money back, no questions asked. When I refused, it became insistent. At this point, most people would just puke their guts out. Not me. No, I turned inside out and created a black hole.

And then my blood pressure went on strike. My hearing tunneled and I felt like I was underwater, like everything was starting to shut down. Within seconds I was drenched with sweat. “Hey, this isn’t good. I might really die here. Quick, think of some regrets.”

My husband hailed to me from miles away. He couldn’t call 911 since the phone was across the country in the office. And I was busy looking for regrets.

“God, please don’t take me.” I worried that my novel wasn’t done…worried is a strong word. I considered my husband’s faith, his life without me. “God, please.” What would it be like to finally meet Jesus? Time’s up. I regret that I don’t have regrets.

The front door is locked; the paramedics will have to break in. We’ll have to replace the window. Maybe they can come around back. I don’t think I’ve locked the patio yet. Can I yell for them to go around back before they bust the door down? My husband can’t call them. How long would it be before anyone came looking for us? There’s no one else. I have to do this.

I managed to walk to the office, get the phone, unlock the door and turn on the lights, call 911 and tell them I needed an ambulance before I tossed the phone at my husband and collapsed in the bathroom again. Just breathing seemed a worthwhile goal.

When the EMTs got there and were checking my vitals, one asked if I was always that pale. Yes, thought I. I am a vampire. My pressure had stabilized and climbed well into the 70s. “Ma’am, which hospital would you like to go to?”

If seeing my husband waiting at the end of the aisle was the best moment of my life, the worst would be looking through the bedroom to where he sat in bed, watching them wheel me away.

The second worst lasted a lot longer than that. Apparently, our taxes do not cover shocks on rescue vehicles. Don’t worry, my tailbone stood in the gap. They wheeled me into the ER, just like they had my mother 5 years ago…where I could see that all the ER personnel wore red shirts.

Meanwhile, the wonderful EMTs had helped my husband dress and get in the chair. We stayed in touch by phone while they siphoned half my blood and ran tests. It only took them 3 hours to figure out that someone so severely dehydrated might not be able to give them a sample from which to determine that she was, in fact, not pregnant as she had insisted all along. Because, “No, there is absolutely no chance I’m pregnant” really means “I’m lying tee hee”.

The nurse that came in after the shift change was…brusque. I was…firm. Things improved when he directed his battering ram persona elsewhere. I finally got my first cup of water (*insert stereophonic angelic choir*—seriously, I cannot stress this enough), they confirmed I was, in fact, not pregnant by using some of the gallons of blood they’d taken and within an hour I was being swallowed by a CT machine while Agent Smith demanded that I “Breathe. In. Holllld. Yourbreath. Breathe”.

As usual, the tests all came back normal and the doctor denied that the antibiotic had anything to do with whatever had happened. Seeing as how I am alive and well now, I will avoid that medicine, anyway. I have no desire to search for regrets that obviously do not wish to be found.


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