I was several hours away from a small inter-department speech when it happened. I wasn’t particularly stressed. The previous night, I had plenty of sleep and my morning was fine. As I started with agenda and opening remarks, I noticed the left side of my face became numb. I could speak, and though the audience never saw, I knew everything wasn’t quite right.
After the presentation, my spelling wasn’t right either. Words like ‘dream‘ were spelled ‘draem.’ ‘Acute‘ became ‘accute‘ and ‘slide deck‘ became ‘sldie feck.‘
Within an hour, everything returned to normal, as though nothing happened. I knew it wasn’t. I experienced a TIA, a transient ischemic attack, or mini-stroke.
The doctor knocked politely, opened the door, and sat in the standard hospital issued chair. From his look, we both knew his message would suck.
“So,” he started solemnly, “we ran a few tests. We concluded you encountered a mini-stroke.”
“Yeah, kind of figured” I nodded.
“What concerns us is that about 1 in 3 who experience a transient ischemic attack will eventually have a stroke, with about half occurring within a year after the initial attack. We’ve looked at your tests and reviewed your history and previous heart-related issues. We believe you’re more likely to be in that range.”
“Any idea how long I might have?”
“Good question. With proper medicine, a major change in diet, maybe minutes, hours, days, weeks, months or a couple of years.”
“Well,” I laughed. “That narrows it down.”
“We feel it’s going to happen. When? Well, we aren’t sure. Hopefully, we can get you to the years or beyond, but there’s no guarantee.”
I was discharged with medication and a batch of follow-up tests.
Stopped at the Apple store on my way home to pick up a replacement iPhone.
“Would you like Apple care+ or Apple Care+ with Theft and Loss?”
“Huh?” after snapping back from another place caught in random thoughts.
“Would you like Apple care+ or Apple Care+ with Theft and Loss? You know, AppleCare+ extends your warranty coverage from one year to two, and extends phone and chat support from 90 days to the full two years as well.”
Standing dazed for a moment, “No thanks,” I replied with a smile. “The phone will likely last longer than me.”
There are no warranties in life. And while the duration of my life is uncertain, I concluded during my meditation last night to come quietly into this “transition.” Outside of wanting to take one last Alaskan cruise, I simply wish to feel the presence of loved ones.
I experienced a powerful out of body experience (OBE) during meditation last night. While I will detail that experience in a later post, I realize there is no possible way to escape death. Except for Enoch, No one ever has, not even Jesus, Buddha, etc. And, of the current world population of 5 billion-plus, almost none will be alive in 100 years. So, like others, I will welcome death upon arrival.
Yet, at this moment, my message is simple – it is possible to feel both the beauty of a loved one’s passing, knowing he or she is free from suffering while simultaneously experiencing the relative suffering of my loss. To do anything other than that is to by-pass my humanity in some essential way and listen to the wisdom inherent in God’s love.
I close with this, if my warranty doesn’t expire, I shall write again. But I shall double my effort to enjoy each minute of every single day. I believe we all need to do just that.