With all my love, dear Becca, this might be my final message, you have my heart, what's left...

Hey Becc,

First, I am fine, the chest pains are mostly pretty much gone, although it still hurts a lot.

Mid-morning, I started having this numbing sensation on my upper torso, sort of left-center. Having gone through medical training, I was immediately alarmed and went into diagnostic mode. The CPR course I had done (the medical training I refer to) was complete and taught me everything that is possible to learn medically speaking, as it relates to human anatomy (obviously I am not trained as a veterinarian).

But I realized, as I was struggling through the agonizing pressure in my chest, that my CPR card had actually lapsed a few years ago and there’s certainly advancements that have taken place in the last three years that medically speaking - and I’m being forcefully honest in a moment of brutal self-reflection - I am simply not up on them.

I am not up on them. There are things I just do not know, regarding medicine and where it’s gone the last three years. And in this moment, in what could have been a life and death situation, I froze up. I could not figure out what to do next. Literally, in every sense of the word.

I ran over to the computer and rapidly typed in the symptoms :

“my chest hurts.”

Pages and pages began blurring my eyes. Too much information. I couldn’t handle it and my already-poor vision was going downhill fast. Then something caught my eye.

Thank goodness for good user design: I clicked on the result and immediately, toward the bottom of the first page, I saw something. And suddenly things clicked. I knew what was happening.

The picture was a photograph of a child. This child was leaping into the air.

Leaping. Now technically, leaping is different than jumping, but the leaping made me think of jumping, and the jumping jogged my memory and all of a sudden I knew exactly what happened:

Approximately five seconds before my chest began hurting, a child had jumped onto it. Onto the very spot that was now exerting tremendous pressure and making it difficult to breathe or move at all.

I ran over to yell at the children and let them know I was going to be okay. They let me know by a silent response of their exultation.

Obviously, I was glad that this was not as bad as it could have been, but I did not abandon all my medical training, and I remembered that the number one thing you learn from watching a fictional medical show, besides the importance of being attractive, is that


I was not bleeding, but it got my mind to the right place, which was thinking about blood and the importance of it working properly.

You do so much for our family and I am so grateful, and the idea that I would need to add to our family’s financial burden by being rushed to the ER - that’s medical speak for ‘emergency room’ - was too much to handle, and also I could feel the blood pumping slower than usual when I totally focused on it. Yes. Slow blood movement.

I was past panic now, but my body was still in shut down mode and I was unable to almost move. For you, I wanted to survive. For us.

I carefully, slowly crawled my way to the kitchen. I could see an apple on the counter which I thought might help my blood cells, but it wasn’t cut, and I remembered, from med schoo - that’s medspeak for “medical school” - that

a high number of injuries are caused by falls, cuts, and choking.

I was so afraid that if I tried to drag myself up to the counter, reach for the apple, cut it, and stick it my mouth, that I was tripling my chances of those things happening, and possible a trifecta. I could just envision pulling myself up, nicking my carotid artery as I was attempting to slice the antioxidant-rich apple, and bleeding all over the floor, which might make me slip, and then if I was chewing when I fell then it could get lodged in my larynx - “the wrong windpipe” - and thus...the choking. Can you imagine the autopsy? They’d never get things sorted out.

I thought quickly: what would YOU do? And I realized: aside from life insurance money, you would WANT ME TO LIVE. You would want me to fight. So for you...I decided to fight. Until my last breath, which was approaching fast.

Across from the counter, I dragged myself to the refrigerator. Thank goodness we haven’t put on a padlock yet. I pulled myself up, praying that it would be on the bottom shelf.

Just so you know, a lot of what you’ve taught me about antioxidants has sunk in. I know how valuable they can be in aiding the immune system, and there are a handful of vegetables and fruits that are especially good at this, and at strengthening white blood cells; I knew my white blood cells needed replenishing immediately.

“Just be on the bottom shelf, PLEASE,”

I begged quietly as I tried to tug the fridge door open; begging quietly as my oxygen-starved lungs couldn’t handle any more than a whisper.

I got one door open, then the other.

And there it was: I am not going to make this all melodramatic and stretch out the suspense because obviously I survived and there’s no point in spending time on the details.

With my second to final breath before dying for good and forever, I managed to get a five-second squirt of whipped cream onto the final piece of pumpkin pie, which I ate quickly,

and I could feel the white blood cells flexing their muscles again; my lungs began filling, and I shook my fist at death, and I thought about muttering “not today, death,” but that seemed unnecessarily dramatic, which is simply not me, so I finished off the pumpkin - which was in pie form, of course I would have eaten it raw if I could have, but it just happened to be in pie form, and on this occasion...

...it saved my life.

It is not an exaggeration to say that it saved my life, along with good medical training and your health tips. So thank you.

And I think from a medical standpoint, we may want to ensure we always have medically-appropriate foods on hand for such situations.

I wait your return,

- Hon. Dr. Emeritus Joseph Long