No one ever thinks, I don't imagine, that their moments on earth are exceedingly precious. We seem to waste a lot of time with our lives. As a kid, I always thought I was going to live forever.
Today I fly to Dallas. I was excited, almost there, almost done.
My stay in Hong Kong was brief. Early in the morning, I caught a train to the airport and hung out until my flight. Unlike China, Hong Kong is efficient. Everything there runs like a clock. No mystery, no surprises. Every flight comes and goes usually on time. My flight to Narita was routine.
In Narita though we were delayed for three hours due to a thunder storm that threatened to rip the windows out of the airplane. Waiting, waiting, waiting just to take off was making me anxious. I could also tell I was not feeling very well.
When we finally took off, the skies had cleared and I wanted to sleep. I settled in to watching movies and then fell asleep sometime around three in the morning.
Then, somewhere, thirty thousand feet in the air, I woke up feeling claustrophobic. I thought for a moment anxiety. I couldn't breathe. My head started pounding, my chest was in pain and then, I had a moment of complete clarity. I thought, this pain, it is not going away. This really hurts. This really sucks. Ah ha...this is not anxiety. I think I am in real trouble. It felt like someones hand started twisting my heart like it was drying out a wet rag.
I dropped to my knees hoping to stop the pain. Breathe man, relax and breathe. A flight attendant came to me and asked me, do you need a doctor? I am holding my head, my arms paralyzed in pain and I say ... no I'm ok....
I ask my seat mates if I could lay down in the aisle. Bug eyed they nodded. The flight attendant, still at my side asked me again... do you need a doctor? I said no... I think I am ok...
Lightning starts shooting out of my fingertips and my neck is straining in agony. My chest. My chest was like a walnut someone was trying to crack open. The flight attendant bends over me and asks me... Hon? do you need a doctor? This time I said, maybe a doctor would be a good idea. Immediately she alerted the flight staff and advised them of the situation. Another went to find a doctor. Another went to get the first aid kit. They found a doctor flying in first class. He rushed over and sat in my seat.
I started to laugh. The doctor was perplexed. I said I am going to see my father who has heart problems. Oh the irony.
My first class doctor asked me questions. He took my vitals. He confirmed every ones suspicions, it's a heart attack.
The pilot got on the intercom and announced in the calmest voice, sorry folks we have an emergency on board. As we see it, we are about a hundred miles outside of Las Vegas and have asked permission to make an emergency landing.
In the meantime, the doctor kept saying, ok listen, stay with me, I'm going to give you a pill I want you to put it under your taungue and sauck on it... Texas drawl. He would give me a pill and ask me about the pain. I kept saying I still had pain. He kept giving me pills they didn't seem to be working. He kept taking my vitals. He looked concerned.
I felt the plane literally drop out of the sky and into Las Vegas. There was no please put on your seat beat and lift your tray up. It was fasten your seat belts we are going in.
Gasping for breath, wishing the pain would go away, I am thinking, wouldn't it be interesting to get the camera and photograph this! The faces of the people around me were incredible!
Still conscience, everyone is talking to me. The flight attendant asks me am I traveling with anyone. I tell her no I am not. She looked sad and held my hand. It's going to be ok hon.
The plane was deathly silent.
We hit the runway and skidded into the gate. The pilot came on and ordered everyone to sit.
Three EMTs jumped on board. Tattoos everywhere. They helped me into a special chair rolled me out of the plane, out of the airport into the hot air and into the ambulance.
The ride was quick. Many voices talking. Lots of tubes in my arm. A mad scramble in the emergency room. The door to a very cold room flew open. A guy stuck a needle in me and I was out.
Such was my flight to Dallas.