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I crashed while paragliding. You don’t need the details of that story for this part. What you need to know is that I crushed my ribcage and that a shard of rib tore through a blood vessel. I was exsanguinating internally. Bleeding to death.

The pain was near indescribable. Imagine having a broken arm and someone is pumping your hand in a vigorous handshake. You can’t immobilize ribs sticking into your lungs. You have to breathe. It’s hellish.

I remember thinking there’s no such thing as unbearable pain. Because you have to bear it. You don’t have a choice.

At the hospital I went into convulsions. Something connected to the bleeding. So now I was doing sit-ups with these shattered bones in my chest. I wouldn’t have believed that the pain could go to another level, but it did.

My right lung had collapsed and my pleural cavity was filling with blood, squeezing the left lung. I could barely get in enough air not to suffocate. The last thing they were going to do was give me morphine, which depresses your breathing.

I was out of my mind in pain. Screaming whenever I could get enough air in to do so. Somehow I managed to get out four words to the ER doctors.

“Please, let me die.”

I couldn’t stand the torture another second.

I blacked out then. My heart stopped for several minutes. That’s what it felt like to die. Going under knowing you might not come back up.

No light. No tunnel. Not for me.

And then I opened my eyes. I didn’t know it, but it was a day later. A young doctor who’d seen me come in leaned over me. Big grin on his face.

“Dude, you almost didn’t make it, man.”

 

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