“Time Is Life”

Eight hours into a hectic 12-hour solo-coverage day shift in our community hospital ER, I finally got the chance for a lunch break. I hustled to the hospital’s food court, bought two slices of pepperoni pizza to go, and hurried back to the ER lounge where I popped open a Diet Coke, took a big swig, then dove into the pizza. The head nurse appeared at the door just as I finished the first slice. “Chest pain in One.” I …

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When I Half-Died

Heart rate of 12! I see it on the monitor just behind me. MY heart rate! Not compatible with life! My vision closes down, tunnel-like. I’m sinking through the operating table on which I lay, both arms stretched out and tied down, crucifixion style. I need atropine. The surgeon’s voice, “Cough, Mike.” I cough. I see the resulting blip on the monitor. Cough, cough, cough. Blip, blip, blip. To live, I must keep coughing. Heart rate up to 30. Barely …

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