Here we go again. Nearly 10 years ago, I had my first brush with my own mortality. It involved an erroneous diagnosis, bad news that turned out to be wrong for the better. Now another wrong guess, but this time the other way. I thought they’d already put me through every test there was, but that was wrong, too. There are two more, each more invasive than the one before. If I’m lucky, I’ll be on medication for life. If I’m not, I’ll join my girls in what their cardiologist calls the “zipper club”. I’m only 46. I’m not freaked out, but I can’t help thinking of a friend and former colleague I lost just a couple of months ago. She, too, was exactly 46, and she, too, had (as it turned out) heart issues. Except she had no warning–one day, she simply didn’t wake up. I should be glad I got a warning. As my cardiologist said, what I’ve got can be fixed. The only weird part is that in the meantime, I feel like a ticking time bomb. Will I make it to the next appointment in a month, or will I go to bed one night, just like my friend, thinking it’s just like every other night, but it turns out it’s not? Are those the beginnings of chest pains I’m feeling, or is that my imagination run amok now that I know for sure something is wrong in there?
It’s an amazing, though stressful, gift to face your own mortality. It’s not a gift I expected to get again so soon. I knew all four of my grandparents as an adult, and even four of my great-grandparents; longevity runs in my family. I had assumed I had just gotten to the halfway point. The girls are still young. I’m still in love with my husband and best friend after 28 years of marriage. I still have so much I want to do. It’s a good reminder, though I didn’t really think I needed one, why we should always live here and now in the present. I am passing along my gift to you, at no cost. Use it wisely.
“I had a stick of CareFree gum, but it didn’t work. I felt pretty good while I was blowing that bubble, but as soon as the gum lost its flavor, I was back to pondering my mortality.” –Mitch Hedberg