Anniversaries are like birthdays: occasions to celebrate and to think ahead, usually among friends with whom one shares not only the past but also the future. Zbigniew Brzezinski
Today is the one year anniversary of the beginning of a new life for me. On August 18, 2019, a Sunday morning, without any warning, a fireball of cancer came out of the universe and struck me down. There were no serious symptoms or anything that would have given me an inkling of what was to befall me and how my life would be forever changed.
I was having a normal morning. I was a bit fatigued, but that was about all. I took care of my normal, very regular routine “business.” Everything was fine. I then went for a morning walk, another part of my daily routine. I believe I got about a mile and a half in. But, when I returned to my friend's, Carolyn's, house, I felt pretty wiped out. That wasn't normal. But, I still had no idea there was anything seriously wrong.
Well, within an hour or so, I was unconscious, on the floor. The first time I had any recollection of what had happened was when I started to regain consciousness and I was on my bed. I have no idea of any details of my collapse or the actual amount of time. It might have been seconds or minutes. I'd never experienced anything like this before in my 74+ years of life. Carolyn and her grandson were hovering over me trying to help me regain consciousness and comprehend what was happening.
Chris, Carolyn's grandson, a professional EMT who just happened to be visiting his grandmother that weekend, had either seen me collapse or found me in a pile on the floor. He managed to get me back on my bed that I had fallen next to or at the foot of. Carolyn was checking my blood pressure and heart rate – which, according to clinical standards put me in the category of being dead, which is what I probably would have been if Chris hadn't found me and called for Carolyn. Carolyn started putting glucose under my tongue to get my blood sugar up.
Chris called the local EMT's who arrived within minutes along with a medic shortly thereafter. Once they assessed the situation and got me stabilized, they moved me to a gurney, out the door and into the waiting ambulance. A short, but rapid trip (maybe five minutes) with the lights flashing and siren wailing and I was being rolled into the Emergency Room of the local, small, West Virginia University-affiliated hospital. (Continue reading the rest of the article on the blog.)