Chapter One: A Survivor’s Tale
Describes the immediate medical emergency, the author’s reaction to it, and the barriers to seeking treatment and diagnosis.
Chapter Two: Hospitalization
Discusses the introduction and immersion of a patient into the hospital routine, a chaotic world of diffused responsibility, information overload and the need to evaluate treatment options and ways to obtain the “best” treatment in that context.
Chapter Three: The New Normal—PTSD AND Beyond
Considers the physical and psychological adaptation to the life threatening experience, symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), medical treatment and self-help.
Chapter Four: Victimization—Fate and Forgiveness
Examines the origins of depression following a life threatening event – answering the question Why Me?; the need to find a cause, place blame, find fault and bring those responsible to account; and gaining wisdom through self-understanding and freedom from depression through forgiveness.
Chapter Five: Facing Oblivion
Discusses the implications of the sudden and stark confrontation with death, mortality and oblivion and considers the questions: What’s God got to do with it? Where will I find peace?
Chapter Six: Winnowing—The Window of Opportunity
Explores the process of simplifying one’s life by deciding what is important, a process that includes answering questions such as, Who do I love? What do I want to do with my remaining time?
Chapter SEVEN: Relapse
Describes additional life threatening events experienced by the author – a near fatal Coumadin-related bleed out and consequent deep vein thromboses and pulmonary embolism – and considers these events in the context of modern medical decision-making.
Chapter EIGHT: Epilogue
Summarizes the insights gained from being brought back from the edge of death and experiencing a new life event.
“This book was both enlightening and germane to my life experience. I had good health for nearly six decades, then was faced with the DVT, EP that the author survived. Had I read this book before my good health failed, I might have been more prepared for the “emotional and behavioral consequences” and my experience with corporate medicine that was to follow. From “time allowance” to “pinned like a butterfly in a display case”, the author eloquently described my own experience. This is a “Must Read”, or at least a “Should Read”, for those 65 million Americans that are due to retire in the next few decades!”
“This book is a no holds barred, heartfelt account of the author’s brush with death. His clinical assessment of the actual experience, the medical details, doctors’ decisions, and the medical establishment mix with the voices of family members, memories from childhood and his doctor father, and his own non-clinical questioning of what life and death are about. This combination creates a reality so thoroughly investigated that it almost becomes surreal. The book is not an easy, or feel-good, read, nor was it meant to be. The author’s pursuit of complete honesty in telling of this life-changing event can certainly make for discomfort at times, at least in this reader. Yet the humanity of his search, the remarks on the “faith gene” and his admitted lack of it, and the utter love for his family that is gleaned from even the most detached descriptions make emotional connections with the reader. Without this, the medical information would still be very useful and the intellectually astute discussions on the myriad topics that arose from his experience would still be stimulating, but it is the heart in the book that carries it all and makes it truly worth reading.”