Not still still, I mean, as in flatlining. Just calm.
Yesterday I went to the doctor for bloodwork and a routine meeting with a specialist doctor. Before he showed up, his nurse gave me the usual height, weight, and blood pressure/heart rhythm routine. When the heart monitor digested its readings and came up with numbers, she was suddenly alarmed.
"Your heart is beating fast."
"It's always pretty fast, every time I have it checked -- "
"I mean really fast."
Other doctors were called in. Not only were the beats ultra-fast but the rhythm was a little dodgy. The weird thing was that I felt fairly normal except for a little edginess and fatigue, both of which are common enough with me. My primary care physician was called and she wanted me sent to an associated facility that had a cardiology unit. I said I'd drive over there straight away.
I was told I was in no condition to drive and they'd transfer me by ambulance. By ambulance? The last time I was ambulance freight was in 1985 when I had a broken leg. It seemed like an overreaction, but then again, what did I know?
It occurred to me that, notwithstanding I felt only a little lightheaded, I might be dying. While I'm convinced death is only a door to another and for most people better world, it's a pretty, shall we say, major transition. I had a sort of double consciousness: there was the ordinary me, in a potentially life threatening situation and nervy about it; at the same time I felt curiously detached from the business, almost as if it was a movie.
I did not have a classic out-of-the-body experience, didn't rise up to the ambulance ceiling in consciousness and look down at my body or anything like that; but maybe it was a slight taste of what a true OBE would feel like.
To cut the story short, the cardiologist who seemed to be in charge first tried a few what I guess were standard techniques. When they didn't work -- the room was dead quiet for a few moments, and now I was worried -- he went on to the next procedure (one of the nurses told me later this "if-then" checklist is called working the algorithms or something like that).
The whole business partially restored my faith in human nature, which had been running on fumes lately. Not only did they execute their procedures flawlessly as far as I could tell, but actually recalled that their patient was a person and kept me "in the loop" and as soothed as one could be under the circumstances.
I would like to thank them here -- not by name, of course, which would be a breach of confidentiality -- but anonymously. They all (except for the ambulance crew) were team members of Kaiser Permanente in the centers located in Falls Church and McLean, Virginia. Bravo, folks. You did yourselves proud.