On Friday, I almost died. I failed at two very basic things that we all have great experience in: eating and breathing. I choked on a some pizza crust. I was around a lot of people at the day job I’ve been contracting for. If I had been working from home, you wouldn’t be reading this. A couple of co-workers performed the Heimlich, to no success, but one called 911. The paramedics were on the scene in a minute – quite literally. I’d give you more details, but I was too busy unconscious, not breathing for over a minute. The paramedics were awesome, well-prepared with the right knowledge and equipment (or so I heard, I didn’t get to see the equipment other than the oxygen when I came through).
Pizza crust can kill you. I’ve never felt more mortal.
The paramedics rushed me to the hospital where I underwent a couple of hours of observation and a chest x-ray (to see if the failed Heimlich attempts caused any damage). I was cleared to drive home – except for one thing… I no longer had a shirt since it had to be cut open. While some found that equal parts humorous and horrific, I found it symbolic of my new-found freedom.
Having cheated death, I was going to go crazy. I was going to go skydiving with a shark strapped to my chest. I was going to bathe with 12 plugged in toasters. I was going to go on an exclusive pizza crust diet.
A drive home without a shirt meant that I could now live a new life unencumbered by anything… except for a seat belt.
The seat belt was important. It reminded me that I can’t neglect responsibilities. Oddly, those responsibilities are not financial in nature. My wife and puppy would be financially secure without me. They were emotional in nature. My wife was a wreck when she heard (she had been on travel in LA at the time, but was scheduled to be on a plane home in a few hours anyway). Co-workers told me they couldn’t sleep after the experience. I hope to look into some of the other responsibilities over the next week.
There’s number of lessons to be learned here. Over the next week, I’ll go through some of them – and relate them to personal finance. Sorry if it sounds morbid to spend a week on it, but consider it a celebration of life. I’ll leave you with one lesson that sticks out:
Never Eat Alone – It might not be how the author intended, but it’s still relevant.