Tales of my imminent demise
In January 2021, after an extensive battery of cardiac tests, I met with the TAVI cardiac team. at my Hospital. I was told that I need open heart surgery. But with all my other co-morbidities it was unlikely I would survive the operation. They regretted that there were no other viable options at this time. The valve replacement that I required was not yet possible via a TAVI intervention (Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation.)
I was told, statistically it was unlikely I would last the year.
"A year, 12 months from now? " I asked,
"Yes, a year, I’m sorry "
I was given specific instructions such as "avoid all stairs, do not lift anything more than 10 lbs., amble, do not walk briskly, avoid slopes. Do not exert yourself" .
The thing is I believed them. I believe in science. They said they plugged in all my numbers and it spat out 1 year – 99% rate of demise!
One year max eh? Let me tell you that changes your behaviour. I left before I thought of other questions I should have asked. Does that mean no sky-diving or scuba diving? What about mountain climbing? Is ski-jumping ok if I don’t ski? Can I continue my equestrian qualifications? Can I still tapdance?
The nurse handed me two sugar cubes and advised me to not drive my car home until my blood sugar levels were back to normal.
As I left, I was handed a take home sheet
Tips for an Imminent Demise
Sell your snow tires you won’t need them anymore.
Say goodbye to Ann every time you nap. You won’t wake up from one of them.
Return all library books immediately
Your health card expires in December don’t bother renewing it;
Nor opt for the 2 year drivers licence.
If you plan to travel this year. Be sure to select the body bag return airfare insurance option .
If offered anaesthetic for any medical intervention . DO NOT ACCEPT IT!
Do try and visit with your children immediately. They should know you are on a short wick.
Don’t buy a 2 year planning calendar.
Purchase a life insurance policy if the payout is more than one year of payments.
Adding to your wardrobe is probably a waste of money. Besides there is little that can be done to improve your overall appearance. Your heart is bleeding everywhere!
I brought my recent issue of Fine Dining I picked up from my post box on my way to the meeting. They added, by hand "PS. Don’t renew your Fine Dining magazine you won’t be doing any cooking. In fact don’t renew any subscriptions
( Note: The above ‘tips’ are my poetic hyperbole. The instructions above the tips are verbatim. )
When you are told definitively, you are on a one year time clock, your behaviour changes. Tic tic tic! For one, every morning when I wake up , after confirming I am really still alive, I jump around, doing a little jig, shouting "holy shit I’m still alive".
I listen to my body very very carefully.
I look at the skin on my arms, rush down to the doc, (there is always one on call here). and I ask, "is this Epidermolysis bullosa (EB)? A terminal skin disease. He examines closely and says, that’s called ‘crepey skin’ due to aging. Hmmm. When I fart now I call 911 before I am even finished. I think my guts are falling out. Heartburn is the worst. I’m sure every time I have it, it is my final breath. "Annie! Call 911", I shout out at some point every day. Last night I had a funny little lightening bolt of pain in my head and sat bolt upright. That’s a stroke I thought. I waited with the medical alarm in my hand ready to press it if it returned. It didn’t. Sometimes someone will say after I complain,"you should go to the hospital and check that out"
"Are you kidding" I say. "People my age and condition don’t come ‘out of hospital"
How often have you heard, "Bill Webber went in for minor surgery and died of complications in the recovery room. I’m going in through emergency or not at all. "
I tell you, living out your last year is a pain in the ass! Wait. "Call 911" !
Stop talking about your death I’m told. "I’ve only got 11 days left. What else am I gonna talk about!"
I can hardly wait till Dec 31, ( if I make it) Boy am I gonna celebrate. Maybe I’ll hold a fake demise wake. January 1, -it’s the new me. . . Reborn! The energizer bunny. I’ll go down to some haberdasher and outfit myself with a new wardrobe. A wardrobe fit for having survived father death. Annus Horibilis! Gonna get out on Yonge Street and do some serious struttin’.
"Listen up everybody". I’ll shout, "I have something to say" . I’ll be tap dancing my way all the way to the ferry docks.
Then I’ll be booking my flight to Hong Kong, a train to Lhasa Tibet, then travelling overland with locals from Lhasa to Katmandu Nepal.
" Ouch, wait. What was that? Annie. Call 911". R