Turns out my appendix had burst a week before. During the days after it burst I had driven 1000 miles, shifted 4–5 tons of furniture, and yet all that time my body was fighting peritonitis so serious the doctor described it as gangrene.
It took the doctor a whole day to bring my fever under control enough to do the operation. When I woke up from surgery, the first words I heard from the surgeon were “So you’re awake. But you’re still going to die”.
I wasn’t going to die. I had a family to take care of.
Somehow none of the problems my surgeon predicted occurred. He thought the remaining infection in my stomach (he couldn’t get it all) would cause my body to crash from toxic shock and organ failure, which would likely lead to my death. But my body simply threw off the infection.
I met the surgeon 3 months later, after a 100% recovery - his words were “I can’t believe how good you look”. People who survive this kind of brush with death generally don’t make 100% recoveries, they are often crippled for life, their health permanently ruined.
I am an atheist - but this awful illness and miraculous recovery is the closest I’ve come to believing in a higher power.
13/13. In the early 1990s, I use to drive to Tijuana once a week for business.
Driving in Mexico is a bit different than the States. The locals would tell me that driving laws, such as speed limits and stop signs, are more like suggestions than regulations.
One night, I was driving home along Boulevard Industrial when I stopped at a red light. There was a truck blocking my view to my left.
When the light changed, I started forward, but a strange feeling came over to me and for no good reason I stopped just before the intersection. At that moment, an unseen tractor trailer came barreling through the red light and passed just inches in front of my front bumper.
It took a while to realize how close I came and I never knew why I stopped. Just a feeling I guess.