Death and I Are Old Buddies

I Must Be Living Challenged…

…because I’ve nearly died four times this lifetime. So, my life hasn’t been easy given the various challenges I’ve faced since my umbilical-cord-around-the-neck birth. I was probably trying to hang myself on the way in and just get it over with before it all began. However, I’m not going to bore you with my life story — just four little episodes where I nearly ‘met my maker’ as the saying goes.

The first started with a respiratory illness during the final weeks of my pregnancy with my fourth daughter (I have five). She was supposed to have been a home birth, like my third. I had such a great experience with it, I figured I’d try it again. Unfortunately, my daughter had other ideas and became stressed, what with all the hacking up a lung and stuff. I had an emergency c-section, which actually went pretty well. That wasn’t the problem. The problem happened when my pulse dropped below 20 beats per minute and decided to stay that way. I was at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut — close to where I grew up. As you can tell by the name, it was affiliated with Yale University and a great teaching hospital. It’s also just a great hospital all-around. They never figured out why my pulse dropped so low — it still does occasionally — but one of the best anecdotes EVER came out of this little story.

I was dozing in the hospital bed and awoke to the feel of cool fingers on my wrist. I opened one eye and beheld a gaggle of student nurses being overseen by an older woman I assumed was their trainer. In a low voice she said, “Now I want everyone to feel this woman’s pulse. It’s the lowest pulse a person can have without being DEAD.” Luckily for her I have an appreciation of the macabre AND the absurd, and she just happened to mix the two — kind of like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, which I used to love but can’t eat anymore, but that’s a WHOLE other story…

Second installment to come…