Other than my closest friend, Ruth, and my friend and editor, Julia, this story has not been told to anyone. I am telling you it today, because sitting in my room watching the rain, the rain made me think of what I may have missed.
In October I went for a check-up as I was concerned about chest pains. In the tests which were done, the blood sample showed a possible risk of Fabry's disease. This disease effects only men, and is a killer. Fabry's disease is condition which is caused by a build up of fats in the system, to the point the blood can't flow. The disease kills men by their 58th birthday, last year I was 57.
When I read the letter from the surgeon, my first thought was for my grandson, Jake. I thought how terrible it would be for him to grow up, and not know his grandfather. I know the feeling, we lost touch with my family in 1963, when we moved to Bristol.
My next thought was for the simple things I would miss, like watching rain fall, or the effects of wind on the tress. It is amazing how the thought of death can centre your mind. I no longer cared about the big issues in my life, what mattered was the tiny, everyday things we take for granted.
The period from Christmas to New Year, was perhaps one of the most terrifying weeks I lived through. The reason is I almost died three times during the period.
The first instance was when I had difficulty breathing, as my throat closed over, and I couldn't get enough air. For close to an hour, I fought like hell to breathe.
A few days later, I had a late snack, and some ham got stuck in my throat. It was an hour before I was able to force it down.
The final occurrence happened on New Year's eve. I was so tired from the previous struggles, I fell into such a deep sleep I didn't realise I stopped breathing. If I hadn't stopped breathing in my dream, I wouldn't have woken gasping for air.
I sent Julia a copy of the story, before I put it on my old blog. Her reaction was she thought my writing was so good, I should change the names, in case my friends read the story,and got worried.