Friday, February 13th, I was just about to go outside to tell my oldest son and his buddy that it was time to go to wrestling practice, my other son was on the couch playing on his iPod, when all of a sudden the left side of my chest tightened and started to hurt. Badly. So I got all the boys in the car and as I was driving the pain increased significantly. There was no question in my brain that as soon as I dropped the boys off at practice, I was going to drive directly to the ER. We got to their school, the boys got out, I watched them get safely into the wrestling room, and we took off. I said to my youngest, “Sweetheart, daddy’s chest is hurting really bad so we’re going to the hospital. Call your mom and let her know.” So he immediately placed the call then placed his free hand on my chest, holding it there till we arrived at the hospital. I enter the ER and explain that I’m experiencing horrifying chest pains. They give me an EKG…normal. They take my blood pressure…normal. So they make me sit in the lobby and wait for a room to become available. Finally one did, so blood was drawn, and an x ray was taken of my chest. The x ray showed what could be a low grade pneumonia. But it was inconclusive. Thankfully the doctor who spoke with me briefly didn’t wait for the results of my blood work, which also ultimately came back normal! Her intuition had kicked in and she decided to follow her instincts and order a cat scan. Well…next thing I know an admitting nurse is entering the room asking if I have a living will, a designated power of attorney, etc. Hello! The doctor returned and told me she was glad she went ahead with the cat scan because my lungs were filled with blood clots and a very sizable one was in my pulmonary artery. She said I was one lucky man. That in situations like this she tells people you live or you die…there’s no in between. And they would do everything in their power to keep me alive! BUT there were no guarantees. We’d have to take it one step at a time. So I was admitted to the hospital and immediately started on blood thinners, etc.

As I was lying there in the ER thinking it was very possible I could die, I was surprisingly calm, peaceful. I love my life. I have absolutely no regrets. And I’m enormously grateful for the gift that is my life. So I thought, if this is really it, at least I’m heading out an exceedingly happy, grateful man.

But I lived and believe me, I’m ecstatic I did.

And as so often happens in my life, the experience raised my consciousness level enormously!!!!! Made me aware of the need to take far better care of myself physically! I spent years, literal decades, successfully working on my mental and emotional health, while continuing to abuse and neglect my body! I’m notorious for not getting up and moving around frequently on long flights, or stopping the car and getting out and walking every few hours on long road trips, I don’t drink enough water, keep myself hydrated, I starve myself during the day when I’m away working only to stuff my gullet with fatty foods at night, and the alcohol! The fact that my body didn’t mutiny sooner is friggin’ miraculous!!!! But mutiny it finally did and the message it sent was extremely loud and crystal clear! Start taking care of me or die!!!!

So…it’s time to put my remaining suicidal tendencies to rest. Once and for all. I have two extraordinary sons who I want to see grow up and create lives for themselves that they love as much as I love mine. I’m intent on doing that. For myself and for them.

Here’s to a whole (grain) new way of living!!!!!!  Merci, danke, thank you!!!!!!!