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Rescue 911: No guts, no glory!

February 2, 2012

First order of business today is to set the record straight.

Paraphrasing Mark Twain, let it be known that the rumors of my death have been mildly exaggerated. I have, however, recently experienced an N.D.E. (near death experience).

When I awoke on December 30, my head filled with plans for New Years Eve, I felt peculiar. A cold sweat came over me and I felt some discomfort in my gut. After some effort, I managed to get a coat on, Dharma’s leash off its hook and made my way outside for her morning constitutional, wondering what could be wrong with me, momentarily chalking it up to the abundance of holiday parties I had attended during the previous days.

While on our short walk, the discomfort turned to actual pain and I began to feel this was no (IMHO) ordinary stomach upset. I hobbled back to the house. By the time I got inside, the pain had become unbearable and I collapsed on the floor, panic rising just before I passed out cold. When I came to, I was in full-blown agony and knew I needed help. I spent the next two hours attempting to get to the phone, flailing about helplessly, screaming and crying, unable to reach the receiver, while slipping in and out of consciousness, quite sure that I was dying.

The sound of the phone ringing stirred determination and luckily, I was close enough to it by then that I was able to knock the receiver to the floor and scream “help me” into the mouthpiece before once again slipping away. When I came to, I was in an ambulance, on its way to the Catskill Regional Medical Center, and my personal nightmare was underway in earnest. Emergency room gave way to a battery of tests, while the team of doctors and nurses tried their best to (unsuccessfully) ease my suffering as they began to unravel what was occurring inside of me.

I was given Dilaudid, which is “a very potent centrally-acting analgesic drug of the opioid class. It is a derivative of morphine, to be specific and therefore, a semi-synthetic drug. It is, in medical terms, an opioid analgesic and in legal terms, a narcotic and considered the strongest of the antitussive drugs” (www.wikipedia.org.)

In layman’s terms, Dilaudid is “synthetic heroin.” It seemed to have no impact on the pain, but did succeed in putting my head in another world.