July 27, 2004
When death is at our door
Last night my friend called me and asked if I would drive him to the Mayo Clinic today for an appointment. A couple weeks ago he suffered from a heart attack and spent 6 days in the hospital. He was told he needed a quadruple bypass surgery right away.
My friend was pretty scared at the time and for the first time caught a glimpse of his own mortality. After his six days in the hospital he was released with medication to help his blood flow. He had his records sent to another doctor in Rochester for a second opinion and today we went there.
When we got to the hospital he filled out the paperwork, waited for about 40 minutes, then finally went in to see the doctor. It was kind of a let down for him in one way, because he thought they would be more concerned about his impending doom, and basically they told him he still needed the surgery and scheduled another day to come in for further tests to prepare him for the surgery which would be scheduled shortly after the results of that test.
My friend is only in his early 40ís so his first reaction to the heart attack was denial. He didnít think he was having a heart attack. I have heard now that denial is pretty common in younger men and often they wait too long to get to the hospital. He told me today in the car while driving home that it took him 7 hours from the time his heart attack symptoms began to when he actually went into the hospital.
Since his heart attack heís prepared a will and has tried to get some of his bills paid up, and has worried about his upcoming surgery. He is kind of optimistic about the outcome of the bypass surgery, so now that encourages him a little.
Think of a time when we are faced with the very real possibility of our own death. What will it be like? How will we react? I probably would have went right into surgery as the first doctor told my friend to do. I donít think Iíd be trusting the medications to keep me alive for a month before I have the surgery. But I donít think my friend really believed he was going to die. Maybe at first he did. He probably lost a lot of sleep over it.
Death is impending for all of us, but itís a matter of timing. Some die young, some old. How we understand and deal with it as human beings is interesting. In some cultures itís a great time, something to celebrate because that means we cross over to paradise. In paradise there is no suffering.
I know how I feel about death and it doesnít scare me like it used to. I believe in the eternal soul and when we are finished with this physical life in this body, we go on, forever. In that perspective, this lifetime is not even a blip on the radar screen of eternity. Itís short. When we release our tenuous grasp on material things in this world, we are free to live as eternal spirits, thankful for the opportunity to live here, now.
I thank God my friend is still alive and that I was able to help him out today with a ride. Iím also thankful that Iím exercising regularly, eating a lot of fruits and veggies and that Iím not putting toxins in my body, like cigarettes. Iím thankful for life. Thatís how I feel about life all the time, but itís especially meaningful when death is at our door.
How do you feel about death?
Posted by carl1236 at July 27, 2004 10:06 PM