Growing up, my mom and I had an ongoing joke. When I was not so angelic, she would say (jokingly) “I went through the valley of the shadow of death to bring you into this world”. While it sounds dark, we always laughed afterwards.

Recently having done a “fly by” with the “Valley O’ Death”, I can tell you that this time, it wasn’t funny. Amazing how extreme chest pain can make the last thing you said to your wife and children before they went to sleep really important. Fascinating how the lines on an EKG machine can make the line at Wal-Mart seem like the express lane. Blood work has a way of making you forget any other form of work. The treadmill of a stress test can make a walk in the woods, or at the beach a real priority.

While my recent adventure turned out to be nothing more than that, it was an alarm clock to the senses, a wake up call to reality and a glass of cold water to the priorities. It is also a reminder that there are some that are not so fortunate. You can bet that I will remember this little trip for a long time. I will also cherish those moments, those gifts, the blessings and the time that much more. My next visit will be more pleasant having done so.

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