August 16th, 2005, published online at "A View from the Street" website
We all think about it folks, our own death, especially as middle age comes.
It's something I never thought much about until twenty-ish looking store clerks began asking me if I wanted my senior citizen discount. And then there's the amazing amount of Grey hair I keep seeing in the mirror. I do think about death more and more. Will I die in my sleep or in an accident? Will I feel it? Will it hurt?
And then it happened!!
An ordinary Saturday evening, dishing up ice cream in the kitchen and catching glimpses of Jeopardy re-runs on TV. "I feel really light headed," I complained to my wife, and an unusual feeling swirled inside my head. I became weak. I began to sweat profusely.
Abandoning my ice cream, I sat on the couch for a moment, with my head between my legs. It didn't help. Frightened now, I staggered to the front porch for fresh air as the sweat soaked my shirt and dripped from my face.
"What's wrong? Are you Okay?" Her voice seemed to be coming from a great distance. I couldn't answer. Something was wrong in my head and my vision was blurring in and out of focus.
"I'm dying honey, get me to the hospital." My lips were moving but no sound was coming out. It was my mind that was shouting. I only hoped she could hear me. I remember the sound of the car starting as she stared at my asphalt Grey face, and the mad dash to the bright flashing "emergency" sign. Now, I thank God for my living only six blocks from the hospital.
I stumbled from the car and crawled toward the door. Inside 'admitting' they knew I was dying too. The matronly nurse looked over the top of her glasses at me, then dropped her pencil and clipboard and pushed me into a wheel chair. "Let's go," she shouted!
The cool breeze on my face was the only indication I had of how fast the wheelchair was moving. Blurs of white uniformed nurses gathered one by one as we headed down the long...long...hallway...or was it really a hallway? It was too dark and blurry now to tell...for I was gone!
I wondered, curiously how my wife and kids would take the news of my death. Would the guys at work miss me?
I was amazed at the speed at which I seemed to be moving through the tunnel toward the brilliant white light, feet first and head tilted down. What a crazy way to meet God I thought...feet first!
It could have been hours or only a few seconds time. The light was blinding...overpowering...and somehow...safe!! "Are you feeling better now Mr. DuPay?" Curious, I thought, that God had a woman's voice and called me by name. Slowly things were coming into focus. Looking through a maze of tubes dripping fluid into my veins I was strapped to a table, head tilted down and feet way up. I could see now that the bright light was shining down from the ceiling in the ER.
Wow. I was still alive!!
After several hours of observation by the medics, I was back home cleaning up the melted ice cream. Confusion about the dosage of my new high blood pressure medication had caused by blood pressure to drop to 90 over 50. I can tell you folks, that without blood pressure, the plug is pulled and the lights go out. Indeed, in another 15 minutes I would have been dead.
No folks, I didn't go through the tunnel to the other side, but I know I stood there and peeked. And I can tell you something else about the wonderful power of God, when it does happen...it will be Okay!!
ABSOLUTELY NO PORTION OF THIS EDITORIAL MAY BE REPRODUCED OR DISSEMINATED WITHOUT EXPRESS PERMISSION FROM THE AUTHOR, DONALD LEE DUPAY, UNDER PENALTY OF COPYRIGHT LAWS!!