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The man who died twice

Updated: Nov 25, 2023

This is a story about my stroke and what happened to me afterword. I am not a professional writer, which you would notice as I go on. I’m just sharing this to people that might know what can happen.

I had moved to North Carolina and lived in a gated community on a Jack Nichalos golf course. My wife was against it because she thought all I would do was drink beer and play golf. Far from the whole truth. I set Monday aside as wife’s day and did as she liked.

On Monday, April 13th we walked from our house to the community fitness center, a nice mile walk to help me wake up. We would spend over an hour there and then go shopping. Not a big problem, because she looked much more than she bought.

On this Monday I lifted some weights and planned to spend half the time on a stationary bike. Barb used only the stationary bike. I was no Hercules. 30-pound curls, and some weight machines. While sitting on a weight machine and pushing a weight above my head I felt something funny. Not funny ha-ha but funny peculiar so I stopped and walked out into the hallway and sat on a bench with a friend, Jim. I told him I was tired and might go home and….. The talk had a very high-pitched tone and Jim yelled “Stroke.”

All hell broke loose. The dance instructor came running out of a room and said Bill talk to me and keep talking as much as you can. Beth ran to the phone and called 911. My wife ran around like a chicken with her head cut off. I was the center of attention, finally made it.

UNC hospital was luckily only 7 miles away, but where was the ambulance. Finally, it pulled in and acted like this was just another day. I wanted to yell, hey guys it’s me. But methodically they carried out their duties. 1 guy was a girl. I was put on a stretcher and put in the ambulance. The girl put all kinds of medical attachments on me. The guy talked with UNC hospital giving them vitals, my condition and ETA. The girl kept prompting me to keep talking.

As we went back into the delivery bay the girl said I think we lost him. The man says I’ll intubate him. Girl replied, “ever do that before, and how do you know what size to use.” He replied, I’ll use the biggest, he’s big.

I remember nothing else about the next hours.

I wake in a hallway, all alone. Can see into a room where there are many people, but only from their ankle down. Seemed like covering hanging from above. I see a pair of polished wing tips like my father used to wear and next to that a pair of high-water trousers like my uncle used to wear. Is that Watty and Harry? Am I in heaven? If those two are together there is beer around. Are they planning a welcoming party for me.

Now I remember nothing until the next day. Did I miss my party? Here I was lying in a bed in a hallway with nobody in sight. Then, here comes Barbara and a female doctor. I learned the doctor was a neurologist that took care of me in the operating room and in my bed all night. My only son Kevin, from Arizona, flew in at night. And I had a bad night.

This morning’s plan, if I agreed, was for me to take an experimental drug from UCLA, that would break up the clot or whatever in my head. Of course, if she suggested I should do it.

Also, a Catholic priest would be in to give me last rights in a few hours. I’ll hang around for that.

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