What was that? It felt like a cramp in my chest. Ouch. It happened again a few weeks later. I asked my brain if it was something that I should be concerned about. It said, “Nah, that’s just something your heart does every once in a while. Kind of like sneezing.”
My heart sneezed periodically for months. I didn’t worry about it too much until one day it hit me harder than usual. Every breath pushed an invisible knife deeper into my heart. The stabbing persisted on and off all day. Okay, this might not be normal.
I am not the kind of person who asks for help. It’s a known flaw. In this case I made a doctor appointment.
I sat in the waiting room all afternoon. Finally, I asked why the doctor hadn’t seen me yet. “I’m sorry, the doctor is on call today and she had to go to the hospital.” Having taken a day off from work for my once-a-decade check- up I was pretty upset. I left the office furious, swearing I would never come back. That is a promise that I have foolishly kept.
I admit I should have rescheduled. Instead, I self-diagnosed. My theory was that I was under more stress than I realized. That would explain the twitch in my eye, too. Unfortunately, my internet research couldn’t rule out the possibility that I might have a bad heart and my ticker could take a digger at any moment.
I wasn’t ready to die, so I started to get my life in order just in case my heart exploded. If I died today, what would be left behind? I decided to gather up what little knowledge had accumulated on the walls of my skull and write it down. That writing eventually became my book, Art of the Living Dead.
So far my heart has kept beating. I have switched jobs, lost weight, and it has been a couple years since my last heart sneeze. The real test is running a marathon. If my heart can last 26 miles, I figure I can release the suspicion that a heart hiccup will end me. Just to be certain, I have ran 4 of them. I feel good.
The silly thing about my heart fear is that this is just one of the countless ways I could die at any moment. The same is true for you. What should we create today so that there is something left when our hearts stop?
Thanks for reading. If you think taking medical advice from a designer is a a good idea, you should follow me. I write crazy prescriptions like this each week. Stay creative.