Monday, December 17, 2007

The Air Bubble of Death

I am laboriously typing this with 2 broken wrists...

When I was in the hospital, I saw a sequence of people who were taking care of different aspects of my condition. I had a Vicodin before the male nurse came to put in an IV, so I didn't mind the needle in my vein so was a small needle anyhow. In case you're wondering I still said "¡CabrĂ³n! ¡Hijo de puta madre!" I guess it's generally less offensive. Male nurse flushed the needle/tube setup with saline solution and left. A minute later, I noticed 2 air bubbles in the tube. I made sure to tell the doc (PA) that I thought we should suck some blood out to clear the line of air & he agreed. Between discovering the bubbles & the doc's return, I thought it quite possible that an air bubble had entered the blood stream. Not such a big deal while there was a tourniquet on my arm, but it had to come off some time.

I was thinking that this (accident of sloppy work) would be a craptastic way to die, especially for my family and friends. However, I decided that there was nothing I could do at that point and I would be ready to go if the air bubble ended up taking my life last Monday night. I have no pending grievances with anyone and I'm satisfied with my achievements thus far in my life. Don't misunderstand, I really would like to spend more time on Earth...I have lots more to give (and take, and share). I have most everything lined up, ready for death, including a will and living will.

This experience reminds me that I don't often tell people how much they mean to me. It just usually seems awkward. In general, now, and in a rather impersonal way, I'd like to thank all those people who have contributed to my positive life experiences and thus my ability to now view death from this perspective. I know that there was a good deal of uncertainty at the time, but emminent death is almost never certain. Special thanks to: family members, anyone affiliated with the HC, teammates, roommates, teachers (both in formal and informal settings, anyone with whom I've had a meaningful conversation with after midnight, people who've let me crash at their place during an adventure or after a party, fellow explorers of Spain and Ecuador, neighbors, and older people who are peer-like friends.
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