Thoughts about time on the cold steel table


I have had 5 trips to the hospital for a heart attack between 2009 and 2016. Two trips were false alarms, but I made it to the operating table 4 times. The first trip was a complete surprise. The surprise started with 8 EMT’s in my bedroom and continued in the back of the ambulance.  I just couldn’t stop thinking about how surprising it was and I looked up at the lady EMT taking king care of me and said, “I just don’t understand why this is happening, I have run 13 marathons in my lifetime?” She looked down at me and said, “Maybe it is just your time.”  I didn’t laugh at the time.

Being wheeled into an operating room is frightening. They slide you over to a cold stainless-steel table and you lay almost naked in the middle of the table. The room has a lot of people in it and they all seem to be doing something important. At first it is hard to figure out who the doctor is. On the first occasion I met my heart doctor at the hospital.  On the second trip, about a year later, I had the same doctor but other times I just got whoever was available.

My last trip to the cold steel table was memorable, as they all have been. I first noticed the music and then I noticed that the doctor that was probably young enough to be my grandson. I laid waiting for a drip anesthesia to be set up and everyone was busy. All those young folks walking around must have enjoyed the music background and at least they weren’t staring at my naked and cold body. A young man came over and said he would get the anesthesia set up soon but wondered if I had some favorite music and he said he would find it and play it. Well I still had my thoughts in place, so I figured I would offer a suggestion I knew wouldn’t work. I suggested Leonard Cohen. Not one person in the room had heard of him, nor could they find any of his music. They actually made an effort to find him however. I might have chuckled, but I was out soon after that.

My last trip to the hospital was one where they again picked me up with the ambulance. For some reason we sat in our driveway in front of the house. A fire engine crew and a support car team were there. Several paramedics were checking the back of the ambulance, and they each would greet me and ask how I was doing.  One of these guys seemed to have paused and so I looked up at him and told him I still remembered getting help like this the first time and I told him about my question and the reply I got from the EMT nurse about it “being my time”. Neither of the two paramedics said a word or even changed facial expressions.  They just seemed like they had kicked into gear and was about some important business. I noticed that the one paramedic left the back door ajar as he left, I saw him go over to a group standing by the fire engine where they seemed to huddle and laugh, and then he went to a different group. I figure this was a good sign. The last event had a connection to the first.