MY LOUSY WORLD: My end-of-the-world moment

Posted 3/31/11

And what are Iran and North Korea up to? Are they saying, “Ya know, there’s enough strife in this crazy ol’ world without us adding to it?” I think not, my vulnerable friends. Franklin Graham, Billy’s heir-apparent son, interviewed by FOX …

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MY LOUSY WORLD: My end-of-the-world moment


When is the world gonna end, I wonder? Do we have less than two years according to that Mayan calendar snafu? And are they talking Dec. 31, 2012, or just generally? If I’m to plan for this thing, I need specific details, damn … I mean, dang it.

Of course, unrelated to any calendars or haphazard predictions, there’s the glut of natural disasters … tsunamis, earthquakes, etc, of which the Bible promises will become unrelenting like birthing pains. Obviously, the “wars and rumors of wars” aren’t subsiding. Heck, considering the three wars we’re already engaged in, the bases are loaded, Syria’s walking to the plate and Yemen is in the on-deck circle.

And what are Iran and North Korea up to? Are they saying, “Ya know, there’s enough strife in this crazy ol’ world without us adding to it?” I think not, my vulnerable friends. Franklin Graham, Billy’s heir-apparent son, interviewed by FOX News (aptly named for all the hot, blonde news babes) stopped short of any predictions, but admitted all the Biblical pieces are certainly in place for the rapture.

Well, during my brain aneurysm at 3 a.m. last Wednesday morning, I realized my end of the world could come at any given moment. Oh, it wasn’t officially diagnosed as an aneurysm, but to call it a headache is like calling the tsunami a “mild undercurrent.”

So there I am with the TV blaring, sleeping comfortably on my 19-year-old couch, my left hip resting on the sharp-edged board protruding between the worn cushions, and suddenly I’m awakened by the most severe pain I’ve ever felt, short of my belated circumcision. I’ve barely ever had a headache, so a sudden electrical pain knifing through my skull just behind my ear qualifies as cause for concern.

Clinging to my head as if hand pressure is the key, I involuntarily cried out as my wide-eyed dogs rushed the couch, (I recall seeing a couple of my cats contentedly licking themselves) trying desperately to comfort me. Certain I was facing imminent death, my odd but prevailing sentiment was, “I can’t let this happen in front of my dogs.”

I thought of crawling to the door and expiring on the privacy of my front porch, but the pain was so debilitating, I don’t think I could have dialed 911, much less relocate. This 9.5 magnitude earthquake inside my skull lasted off and on for five excruciating minutes. It subsided, I prayed, and soon was back asleep on “the cruel couch.”

This is not a tribute to my capacity for pain or my unbending work ethic, but a few hours later, my friend and I were driving to South Fork to finish a roofing job. I tried to convince myself of a benign explanation for that remarkable pain, but in the following two days, others insisted I get to a doctor ASAP. My friend Jere forwarded me a Mayo Clinic website on aneurysms, stating that a full aneurysm kills within minutes, while a partial is a warning headache, usually preceding death within 30 days.

Now, THAT was enough to send me to the phone book for the Urgent Care Clinic number. Since I’d had no accompanying blurred vision, numbness or nausea, Dr. Tilden appeared guardedly optimistic, but sent me to the hospital for a “cat-scan.” With my head inside the coffin-like machine, I envisioned the diagnosis: “We found hundreds of cat hairs stuck to the outer cortex of your brain. We were able to remove them with a lint roller, but you’re still in danger unless you get rid of your cats.”

My answer would be, “Well ma’am, let my epitaph read: ‘He gave his life for unconditional love.’”

I was relieved though, upon hearing that a thorough examination of my head revealed nothing at all in there. I’d have requested a second opinion, but feared, “OK, you’re also ugly.” Ah, but I kid the neurologists! Actually, she suggested possibly the position I might have been sleeping in, or some skeletal something-or-other could explain the mysterious malady. Someone else later suggested it might be an introduction to migraines.

All I know for sure is that something really scary cost me a precious half-hour of sleep in the early hours of March 23rd!

One of my favorite truisms since I was a kid has been, “Don’t take life too seriously; you’re never gonna come out of it alive anyways.” All joshing aside though, I’ve noticed the obituaries lately haven’t excluded my age bracket. Whether you’re a believer or not, you must admit: the end of the world wears many disguises. But I’m not afraid. Are you?