The twenty-first of the month.

March 21st, 1997 I nearly died. I collapsed at school with acute congestive heart failure. My cardiac muscle was apparently attacked by a random virus – they never identified it, and we’ll never know for sure why my heart stopped working properly.

At first they told my husband that there was a good chance I would die. Then, for the next few weeks, when it became more apparent I’d live, a heart transplant was likely. One emergency treatment they performed in the ER came close to costing me my left leg. Complications from medications they had me on to keep me alive nearly killed me again. Strangely enough, my heart nearly recovered 100%, but the complications from the medicine have left me with some permanent problems. No matter, since without the medication I would most assuredly have died. Sometimes you don’t get to pick and choose, or second guess.

I got out of the hospital April 21st, 1997. And now I seldom pass the twenty-first of any month without reflecting on that. I’m not particularly morbid about it. But I consider March 21st, 1997 my rebirth day in many ways, and it pays to keep that fresh in my head.

I am not religious. I do not believe in a life after this one. When they took me to the hospital four years ago, I’d had enough medical training to know that the bloody froth I was breathing up from my lungs meant I was dying. I wasn’t particularly bothered by that. My biggest regrets were ruining my husband’s birthday (he turned 43 that day) and failing to get my vet school dipoloma (I still had a year to go till graduation).

The biggest thing I’ve taken away from the experience is that it’s the now that is important. If you are going to get something right, work on doing it now. There aren’t any second chance life-times coming up. And there’s no guarantees for tomorrow either.

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