They say..... "they" being people who survive Sudden Cardiac Arrest.... they say that we should celebrate our SCA date as our "second birthday". Mine is coming up - on 9/5/10, it will be one year. One entire, jaw-droppingly astonishing year.
I've largely grown accustomed to Skippy the defibrillator's presence; I've wrestled to the ground many of the fears that started out being so enormous they were starkly, nakedly and overwhelmingly terrifying. But the thing that I have in no way gotten used to is that there are moments that come out of nowhere where it all just knocks me on my heels. Figuratively, I'm happy to say.
Moments that come out of the blue. Like cravings for cigarettes 12+ years after the last one I smoked - bang, the moment is there. Real, raw, sharp, insistent, demanding. The SCA 'out of the blue' moments are breathtaking in their way. It's just that bright light blast of "damn - did that ACTUALLY happen to ME?" My flipping heart just stopped? STOPPED?
That one is followed so quickly by the still unanswered "how the hell did I know to go to the Emergency Room that morning?" I have replayed and replayed and replayed that morning 9/5/09 and honestly, I still don't genuinely understand what made me go. And I've replayed the chain of events if I had NOT gone, or even if I had not gone exactly when I did.
And I didn't go to the ER the moment I woke up that day. I woke up, felt weird and probably spent 20-30 minutes trying to sort out what was wrong and what to do. So after a half hour or so, something made me go.
I was in the ER only around 10 minutes before the arrest. A 10 minute window. 600 seconds. Is that right? 600? Life and death.
If I had not gone to the ER when I did, I would have arrested at home; Tom probably would not have woken up.
That would have been my end.
After musing and rolling around for a few minutes grappling with the out-of-the-blue SCA moment, my core of uber pragmatism takes over and I am transported back to the far less dramatic present.
So now I am back to -- how to celebrate? I've never been one for rituals. I only attended my high school graduation because my parents forced me to; I skipped both with my college and Law School graduations. My wedding was small, quick and informal. Never much cared for New Year's.
But even I, anti-ritual and pragmatic; even I feel a profound obligation and desire to mark this date.
At least this evening I do.
I just don't know yet how to....
As we say, what a wonderful problem to have.