If you haven't already, read the preceding blog posting before this one. You can find it HERE.
Above pictured is noted actor and political activist, Martin Sheen. Why, you may ask....
Sit back, this may take a while.
A turning point in my life was attending a screening during the initial, and somewhat controversial, first run of the flick "Apocalypse, Now" starring above pictured actor and directed by wine mogul Francis Ford Coppola.
I was in college headed to a law degree. My late wife had TONS of family in significant positions of the practice and I figured if I do well at the school I was in at the time, I'd have a great shot at a Law Degree somewhere prestigious.
An elective class I was taking, Drama 101 (which my oldest son took years later with the same professor) had a class trip into N.Y.C. to see "Evita" with the original cast. It was on a day I had no classes scheduled, so I went in early to see said flick at a matinee screening.
Within 20 minutes into the movie, my life changed forever.
This truly remarkable piece-0-art flung me back to my first love.....media....movies..acting....etc. I immediately changed my major and ventured into creating a video production company I formed before graduation. Advantage being, I could create my very own apprenticeship and rate my own performance in said task. #WinWin!
I became obsessed with all things Coppola and read his wife's diary written during the making of the film called "Notes: The Making of Apocalypse Now". In it was detailed Martin Sheen's episode with a massive heart attack while filming in the Philippines. Obviously production got hammered, and his brother was flown in to do some stand in shooting while Martin recovered.
Ok..here's how it relates to me and my harrowing experiences on Friday, November 30th 2012....
As I was lying on the floor...wet...shivering...panicking....I was trying to get to my cell phone to call 911. I had alternating thoughts of just giving up and accepting what appeared to be the inevitable outcome of this moment, or struggling to get the device and dial. That's when I remembered this....
After Sheen was struck by the cardiac event, he was lying on a gurney at the hospital when time came to remove the military boots he was wearing while in costume. Now it's been YEARS since I read this and I am working from memory.
He thought to himself at that moment if he didn't make the effort to remove the boots himself, his "will" would not carry him to survive what was happening. So he struggled to sit up and take them off himself. He described the pain as indescribable, and nearly didn't complete the task. When he had finished, he knew deep inside he would live.
Obviously he survived because he went on to spew ridiculous political nonsense, and had a good run as President on "The West Wing".
The same thing passed through my mind in those awful pieces of time I was stuck in. Get to phone, sit in a chair, get some pants on, dial the number, make the effort, go to the floor....and you survive this.
I'm writing this now, aren't I?
Once in the room, the E.M.T.'s started working on me and asking me stuff to see how lucid I could be. Once in the ambulance, I was connected to the E.K.G. and an I.V. started. Once they did an overall evaluation of my condition and it wasn't a heart attack, they gave me a dose of steroids.
Almost instant relief! However, I developed an Austrian accent and wanted to run for Governor of California.
I was able to draw decent breaths and my heart rate went down.
Once in the E.R. work began instantly. I was attended to thoroughly and work began on figuring out what was what and what to do. Part of which was poking me a number of times for blood (two different places for that, one in an artery as well as a vein) and constant monitoring of my heart.
I was there for a lot longer than the visit two days prior, but this time the symptoms were much more severe. After X-Rays, blood work, and constant monitoring the pfull picture emerged.
Pneumonia gone, lungs swelling, C.O.P.D. Given what had just occurred, an evaluation of how far along it was had to wait. I am supposed to see a Pulmonary specialist and get the down low. At that point steps will be taken to set up what I have to do going forward to deal with this.
And that is grim.
I will be on meds for the rest of my life. If I don't move on to the next level via something immediate and fatal, I face a most gruesome death. Gasping for my last breath...as opposed to simply experiencing it.
SIDETRACK: In my late wife's final moments, she was experiencing what is know as "Cheynes-Stokes Respiration". DEEPLY and, oddly enough, strongly drawing in breath....holding...letting it go. And though these were her dying moments, she...ironically...had no trouble filling her lungs. I won't be as fortunate.
Quitting smoking is a non-brainer....hopefully not a non-starter. I've smoked for a VERY long time. And the last thing I want is to be eligible for the blue tags one hangs on the rear view mirror that gives you the really good parking spots at Wal-Mart during Christmas.
I didn't come to Texas to wind up flat on my back. I came to work and get a new start on life.
My oldest sent me an email in which he pointed out that the trait he most admired in me, and gave him a lot of confidence in my moving forward is that I am stubborn and get full of fire. In spite of what has happened over a number of years....a fair amount pretty catastrophic...I emerged on the other side intact. I've rebuilt my life a few times already...and want to do it again.
I write this in a motel room in Euless, Texas paid for me by a charitable organization. This way I can complete the round of meds without battling the elements. I may very well wind up back in The Conversion Van Of Wonders again for an extended period of time. I have no money, no gas, no food.
Been there, done that. And emerged on the other side.....
I'm looking for day work so that as soon as I am able, I can be making some money again. I am also developing a video project that is specific to the great state of Texas that I hope to finish a full treatment for a proposal. And of course a full time gig is more than welcome. Even with a 40 hour week....I'd have time to pursue more entrepreneurial endeavors.
I won't stay on my back....nope, not at all.
After all, I'm in Texas. Great things happen here.
Thanks for reading and all your prayers and good wishes.
Until next time....