Over the years I have gone through several lives. That probably means I have one or two left to spare. The last experience, this past July, was a close one, or so I have been told.
I lost my life the first time during a hot Gulf summer (is there any other kind?) when I was a child. I fell into the warm motherly but turbulent waters of the Persian Gulf. I was leaning over the edge of the dhow, peering into the waters, probably trying to locate some fish, when I fell. A captain of the boat (which was associated with my father and uncles) dived after me and saved me. He must have been acquainted with CPR first aid techniques, or what passed for them at that time. They told me, as I recall, that his name was Khamees (Thursday).
There were a few other times. During my student days a Parisian Bread truck almost finished me off on a Berkeley (Calif.) street intersection some years later. The driver must have jumped a red light, or so I was told. I woke up in the hospital with no memory of the incident. But I lived to try another day. And I did. I left out when my head was almost bashed in, but apparently I survived that one too, didn’t I?
Back home on the Gulf, just after one of our wars, I got my first (and only) massive heart attack. The company driver got me to the emergency entrance of the Amiri Hospital just in time. That was some years ago. When I came to an Indian nurse was trying hard to beat some life into my heart. She succeeded.
That was when I got some advice on how to proceed. Some neighbors said that since I had worked with influential potentates (shaikhs) I should plead with some of them to apply their influence with the government to send me overseas for treatment. Others had done it, although I noted that most of those did not survive ‘the royal favor’. I toyed with the idea, and wisely decided instead to spend a month on the beaches and in the mountains of Cyprus. Maybe a reckless part of me thought death was not the worst thing that can happen to me, given the options offered by the neighbors.
I survived that one too, and later moved back to the American Pacific Coast, to the Northwest, where over time I had a few stents inserted into my body even as I led an active life (hiking, biking, etc). Without the need to plead with any potentates.
Last month I almost did it again: I almost cashed in my chips outside Everett (Washington). Except that a Mr. Snyder and his wife (or girlfriend) caught me in time with some timely CPR first aid and a call to 911. The Snyders and the excellent Providence Hospital staff in Everett saved my life at a time when my family were anxiously looking for me at a nearby shopping mall. When they called my cell phone the hospital emergency staff answered, a terrifying surprise (or so I’d like to think). Apparently I had a seizure (or was it a stroke?). I remember nothing of that day or the next five days.
I have another MRI scheduled for next week. But I believe I am regaining my health and my energy. So, who knows: maybe a few more rounds………
There is an addendum to the above post:
P.S. (10/1/2015): A surgeon had done a biopsy on my brain on that day of my “incident” in July. He dug inside my skull and tested some brain tissue on that day, as I understand. He said the lump in my brain was NOT a tumor. Now he says the results of the last MRI show that it has vanished. Looks like good news. We shall see………….
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum