When I was 27 I was moshing at a concert in Austin.
I got hit.
Not a fight. Just a random body check.
I don’t recall the moment of impact – didn’t even see who hit me.
A day later I felt terrible pain in my belly.
I figured it was food poisoning. Called in sick to work. I’d man up, walk it off and recover with no problem.
It got worse.
Two days after the concert I woke up in agony. Needed to use the bathroom. I hurt so bad I couldn’t walk – literally crawled to the toilet.
I didn’t know it yet, but my spleen had ruptured. I was bleeding to death. The pain was caused by the fluid filling my abdominal cavity.
No more toughing it out. Hospital time.
Luckily I was living with my little sister at the time. She drove me to the ER.
Every bump in the road was excruciating, but we got there in time.
I went under the knife – they gutted me, removed my ruined spleen, then put my insides back in.
No stitches – instead I got 22 metal staples to hold my bloated belly together.
I woke up in a hospital bed with a feeding tube up my nose. But I also got a self-administered morphine drip, so it wasn’t too bad.
I was released a week later.
After the surgery I felt sorry for myself, at first.
Why’d this happen to me?
But the self-pity only lasted about a day.
I felt an intense sense of gratitude.
Food tasted better.
Air smelled sweeter.
I was massively, unreasonably, happy.
Felt so good just to be above ground.
This abnormally high level of happiness lasted for about three months.
After that, I began to feel normal again.
But the experience stuck with me.
See when you’re young, it’s easy to feel invincible.
Death seems distant.
But you never know…
One day you’re healthy.
The next day you’re half-conscious on a bathroom floor, fighting for your life.
Hopefully, it never happens to you. You’ll live a happy existence right up to the end, with no close calls or near-misses.
But some of you will meet the Reaper, before your last day.
But maybe you’ll get lucky, like me.
It won’t be your time.
Death will stalk you, take his shot, and miss.
If you’re one of the lucky few who get a second chance?
You can come back even stronger.
And more determined to survive.
13 tips on surviving your first brush with Death
1) Be Ready
It will happen when you least expect it. And it’ll likely happen quickly.
2) Be Physically Strong
The better shape you’re in, the faster you bounce back from physical trauma.
3) Be Mentally Tough, Assume Survival
Will yourself to live, and you will live. Just expect that you’re going to survive. Don’t dwell on the possibility of dying.
4) Make Peace
Of course, there are no guarantees. Assume you’ll live, but calmly accept that you might not make it. Make your peace.
5) Have A Reason To Live
This reason will differ from man to man – but studies show that people tend to survive life-threatening situations when they have a reason to live. It could be a your wife, kids, girlfriend, dog, cat, or whatever. If someone or something depends on you – you’re more likely to pull through.
6) Lean On Loved Ones
Once in recovery mode, you’ll need friends & family & girls to lean on. You’re not an island. Face-to-face contact is better, but phone calls are also good. Hopefully, they’ll reach out to you when you’re in need – but if not you may need to let them know you need help…
7) Ask For Help
This can be tough for independent guys. But if you need help to get better, swallow your pride, and ask for it.
8) Have A Post-Recovery Goal
If you’re physically weakened after serious injury, having a goal to aspire to will help with the rehabilitation process. I used an upcoming mountain-climbing trip as way to mentally focus myself and recover from the splenectomy quickly.
9) Take It Easy
Getting better is paramount. But…you’ve got to take it easy on yourself – don’t push yourself to far too fast when in recovery mode. Remember to relax, have fun, and have a laugh. You’re alive – enjoy it.
10) Don’t Feel Sorry For Yourself
Self-pity will only hamper your recovery. Instead, be grateful. Your life was spared for a reason – now make the most of it.
11) Prepare For The Afterglow
You’ll be unreasonably happy for weeks or months after you almost die. Nothing bad to say about this part…just know it will fade back to “normalized” levels eventually.
12) Have Health Insurance
Any serious brush with death will likely put you in the hospital. And that’s not cheap. Health insurance makes it a hell of a lot easier to recover – you don’t want financial stress on top of your physical stress.
A brush with Death causes a man to ponder his existence. Why am I still here? Why didn’t I die? Why did G-d spare my life? What lesson can I learn? Who am I? How you answer these questions depends on you – but don’t squander the opportunity, don’t waste your second chance.
If you’re tough enough, lucky enough, and mentally prepared, you’ll survive your first brush with Death – and bounce back even stronger than before.
Read More: 10 Reasons Why You Should Climb A Mountain