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Bad Etiquette: Threatening to Kill the Guy Who Saved Your Life

Since October, I’ve been experiencing chest pains. Actually, they started in July and then subsided after an emergency room visit. The prognosis (read: misdiagnosis) was that I was allergic to an acid reflux medicine I was taking at the time.

Fast forward to early December and it was suggested, following various tests, that I receive a stent. The latest diagnosis: coronary artery disease.

Last Thursday, I went in for the procedure. It was determined that I needed not one stent but three. The artery in question was the left main off the aorta, severe blockage at the beginning of this artery is often referred to as a “widow maker.”

I ended up with two out of three stents for the left main artery and two adjoining branches leading directly to the heart. One of the branching blood vessels collapsed during the procedure which led to a heart attack while I was on the table. I was awake through the whole thing. The pain was the worst I’ve ever experienced.

At some point, between barking orders for this drug and that drug to be administered to me, the interventional cardiologist told me, “Stay with me, Mr. O’Brien.”

With typical aplomb, I grunted, “I’m going to fucking kill you!”

Somehow, amidst the chaos all around me, which included weird lights and shimmering in my peripheral vision akin to The Matrix breaking down or the rustling of angel wings, I got it in my head that my heart attack was the doctor’s fault, rather than genetics coupled with the alcoholic and culinary sins of my past.

I don’t remember much after that, not until right around when they started wheeling me to the intensive care unit.

Obviously, the doctor and his team saved me. I was told that two percent of people who go through this particular procedure suffer a heart attack during it. Evidently, blood vessels often do collapse as the corrective measure is performed.

Anyway, I was discharged on Saturday. Currently, I am resting, doing some reading, and binge-watching The Expanse.

I did try to work on a new novel I started some weeks ago, but it felt too much like work, so I am taking a few days off.

I apologized to my interventional cardiologist for threatening to kill him, by the way. I sense I wasn’t the first; I guess I certainly won’t be the last. Even so, it’s bad etiquette to threaten to kill the guy who saved your life.

New Titles in 2020

Thanks to Between the Lines Publishing, two new titles will be released in 2020:

The Accidental Hero of the City Brotherly Love tells the story of a young writer who dreams of becoming a published novelist only to find himself at the mercy of the media after he thwarts a terrorist attack.

The Aleph Cafe: Stories is my first collection of short stories with tales that first appeared in publications like Pulp Literature, The Del Sol Review, Weirdbook, and other publications.

Stay tuned this coming fall for more on release dates.