There’s just something about the risk factor: sudden death, that bothers me. As crazy as it may sound, I think it has more to do with the word sudden than the word death. I guess, sudden just seems so, I don’t know – sudden. Death in and of itself seems a bit harsh, but throw the word sudden in front of it, and it just seems awfully abrupt; probably because it is. As a general rule, I try to avoid those things that are abrupt: abrupt people, abrupt weather, an abrupt death.
Most of us have done it at one time or another: sat and Googled their particular ailment or condition. Ailments are one thing, as they tend to be fleeting. Conditions, on the other hand, can be a bit more permanent. And when trying to comfort one’s self about the severity of their condition, nothing is less comforting and more eye widening than reading the words: may lead to sudden death. As risk factors go, I’ve always felt this one to be a doozy.
Its been ingrained into most of us that upon the first sign of a stroke: take an aspirin. That alone seems awfully dicey to me. I can’t say for certain that if it were me that, while half of my body was busy shutting down, I would have the wherewithal to shuffle quickly to the medicine cabinet, and look for an aspirin. And depending upon how long it took for me to get to the damn pills, would I even have the ability to line the frickin’ arrow on the cap, and pop the top off? Typically, this is a two-handed maneuver. By then, my left hand might be toast. I’d have to resort to the one-handed reverse lighter move, smacking the bottle against the edge of the counter, or worse, ripping the cap off with my mouth: Hulk-style.
Sudden death, changes all the rules. One isn’t even allowed the chance to scurry for pills, or for a weepy goodbye. Instead, while walking along, down falls the curtain; poof, they’re done. They don’t even have a second in which to wave a hand and say, “Hey Mac…toss me an aspirin.” No. They’re just down for the count. They could be in the middle of doing absolutely – anything. What if it happened while on a date? God forbid. Imagine the horror felt by the poor bloke they’re with. Both sitting, sipping wine and chatting. Then boom, down her head goes onto the table. I have to wonder, did she tell him in advance that this might happen? Did she give him the heads-up? Or was she hoping it wouldn’t hit her until well into her 90’s. Does the guy, at first, think she’s just being dramatically sarcastic about the topic of conversation? How long before he realizes the full scope of what’s just happened? My mind reels.
For the most part, the human body is rather robust, with a hint of fragility. I for one have witnessed it at both extremes. My mind hasn’t turned toward this subject due to feeling old. Even though my birthday sits only an elbow-bump away, I know I’m still a pup. My heart, on the other hand, has a way of shifting my focus like no other. Granted, I’ll be doing so while sleeping more than most, but my intent is to live a very long life. My hope is that my body follows suit.
No one knows how long they have on this earth. Knowing this as we do, I’m always a bit surprised that we don’t live out a few more fantasies, follow a few more dreams and pursue our heart’s desire. Even with my heart condition, I may very well out live the healthiest tri-athlete. My heart just chooses to let me know that even though it’s a bit gimpy, it’s doing all it can to keep me here – most likely for a reason. Whether we are given a reminder of it or not, we all have a reason. So, with that, when not sleeping, I will work to remind you.
Written to The Fallen by Franz Ferdinand