My three daze from death

Posted: August 21, 2010 in Uncategorized


(NOTE: This is a long story. If you would like to find the essence, go to the last section, “The best day of my life, July 13, 2010. Then you can decide if you want to read the entire story. Thank you soooo much. Richard)

July 13, 2010 was the worst day of my life. July 13, 2010 was also the best day of my life. The past four days I had nothing to eat but stale veggie crackers. Nothing to drink but water, as the  apple and orange juice were used up.

After taking several bites of the cracker I made my way to the bathroom where I barfed and had the runs. This depleting ritual was repeated after eating or drinking anything.

I gingerly made my way to the couch where I sat down staring at the TV. In addition to being weak from hunger, I had difficulty breathing. Gasping for breath was painful. I “watched” the TV for three hours, got up for a glass of water then hurried to the bathroom to barf. The pee, as usual, came out in drips as my enlarged prostate blocked freedom to pee. Another bout with the runs, depleting my energy even more.

Slowly I made my way to the bedroom, collapsing on the bad. The bedside clock said “9:45 a.m.”  I continued to struggle for air. I continued to have the pain in my abdomen, indicating I had to pee again. Despite the difficulty to take in air, it felt good to lie down.

None of my friends knew about my dilemma. I did not want to impose on them.

At one o’clock I had a lunch engagement with Psychic Helen and Linda Cruse at the Beirut Restaurant located in the basement of Phloen Chip Plaza on Sukhumvit Soi 0. I am staying on Sukhumvit Soi 6. It’s normally a fifteen minute walk.

The lunch had been scheduled two weeks ago. Despite my weakness and inability to walk less than a minute, I was determined to keep the appointment.

To make sure I got there on time I left my apartment at twelve-fifteen. Walking in the sizzling heat was pure torture. I had to make three rest stops before I reached the restaurant promptly at one o’clock.


Four years ago I was diagnosed as having an enlarged prostate gland. This resulted in blocking the flow of urine from the bladder, making me incontinent–the loss of ability to pee freely. When I did pee, it was a few drops. In ten minutes I felt the urge to pee again. By not being empty, the bladder became hard and it began to swell. I could feel the lump in my abdomen. I could also feel the sensation and the discomfort to empty the bladder. Surgery was strongly recommended.

To make matters worse, four years ago I was told that my kidney was becoming damaged, meaning I should have the prostate surgery pronto or I would have a serious kidney problem.

Instead of having prostate surgery I opted for Traditional Chinese Medicine which involved a nurse sticking her finger up my buttocks to perform  a twenty minute massage of the prostate. The treatment also included setting my front and back on fire. That aspect of the treatment is called Fire Dragon. After the ten-session course was completed, an ultrasound found that my PSA level remained high—15; the normal level is 4.

When the fire dragon, prostate massage and herbal medicine failed to improve my condition, the clinic offered me another round of treatment as half the price. I accepted their generosity. When the ten sessions was completed my PSA level remained abnormal—level 12; normal is 4.

Determined to try another approach to healing the prostate, I tried treatment from a traditional Tibetan shaman who came to Bangkok six times a year. He checked my urine my looking at it and swishing the jar. Then he took my arm and listened to my pulse. He prescribed herbal treatment. Two months later I came back for a follow-up exam. He checked my urine sample by stirring the liquid and intuitively came to a conclusion. Then he check my pulse and intuitively came to another conclusion. The shaman-in-exile from Tibet gave me another round of healing herbs and plant remedies.

For the next month I took the shaman’s healing medicine. The results continued to be futile as I dribbled urine. I continued to have a sense of urgency to pee. Every ten minutes the discomforting sensation in my bladder returned, meaning I had to pee again. The rock in my abdomen was growing. This was alarming. My protruding abdomen was now “a beer belly.”

Another healing remedy was introduced to me by my friend Joker John. He sold me potent prostate tablets he purchased for me from during his recent trip to California. Every day I took the “potent prostate portion.” Once again, no success. My belly continued to swell.  The pain, ahhh, the pain—it was present day and night. Sleep did not provide relief from the urgency to pee. Every fifteen or twenty minutes I had to pee in a jar on the bedside table.


It took me a painful and agonizing forty-five minutes to get to the restaurant. When healthy, the stroll is a mere fifteen minutes. Heaven Helen aka Psychic Helen and Linda Cruse (a gifted global conflict resolution consultant) were taken aback upon seeing me. Heaven Helen told me I had to go the emergency room pronto.

“I’ll go tomorrow,” I gasped.

“Emergency room—today.”


Being psychic, she knew I was lying about going to the ER the next day.

We decided to have lunch and discuss the issue in a calm manner. For the first time in four daze I was in a state of euphoria as I partook of a mixed salad with friend bead,  mixed vegetable salona, humus, garlic nan and lentil soup. We ordered another round of humus and nan bread.

After the feast I told both women that I felt much better.

“You still look horrible,” Linda said.

“I bet you are unable to stand up without a struggle,” Psychic Helen said.

I did not want to accept the psychic’s challenge.

“Go on, Richard,” Linda said, “let’s see you stand up without crashing to the floor.”

I ignored her challenge, hoping they would change the subject.

“I’m taking you to the hospital now,” Heaven Helen said.

She told Linda to hold me hostage while she got her car from the parking lot. In ten minutes Linda was to escort me to Helen’s car in the driveway.


I continue to amaze myself for my ongoing naiveté.  When I was wheeled into the ER at Bumrungrad Hospital on Sukhumvit Soi 3 in Bangkok I actually believed I would have a fifteen-minute chat with the doctor, be given meds and released home.

When Doctor Ann, a young Internist, learned I was dehydrated, vomiting and had the runs for the last four days and was incontinent and had a rock-hard bladder (from tapping it) and was too weak to walk—she told me I was being admitted to hospital for evaluation and treatment.

The nurses tried to stick a catheter into my phallus. I screamed as three other nurses held my feet and arms to prevent shaking. One of the nurses admitted she could not insert the catheter. She called for the urologist. The urologist, Dr. Sila, was merciless as he attempted to insert the catheter. My girlfriend Lek and her friend Lek Yai looked on in horror as three nurses tried to restrain me from screaming and shaking as Dr. Sila made a second attempt to insert the foreign device. He said my phallus opening was too small; that’s why he required a second attempt. When it was successfully inserted, I sighed with relief.

I received the shocking news from the kidney specialist. My kidney test showed that I had lost 97% of kidney functioning. The doc told me if I had waited another three days before being admitted I would be dead. It turned out that Psychic Helen, the refugee from Zimbabwe, was a life-saver.

For the next seven daze I was in agony. Streams of blood kept pouring from the catheter. The blood loss was so extensive that I needed four transfusions. Every 15-20 minutes I had bladder spasms. That made me tense with pain. My body shook and trembled. My Internist, Dr. Ann, diagnosed the problem from a clot. I underwent surgery. The spasms occurred every 35 minutes instead of 15-30 minutes after the surgery.

Lek and Lek Yai, her girlfriend, stayed with me all night long. And all day long. They slept on a cot in my room. They nursed me, bathed me, they called the nurses’ station when something went wrong. They went to the café in the mezzanine to get me café latte from Starbucks.

As mentioned earlier, I did not tell anybody about my dilemma. The reason was not to bother them. To my astonishment, word kept spreading. Twenty-seven people popped in to visit me. Numerous well-wishers phoned me.

The day finally came for the prostate surgery (TURP). It turned out to be a piece of cake and I was put to sleep. I didn’t feel a thing.

THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE, July 13, 2010

As mentioned earlier, the worst day also turned out to be the best day for the following reason. Although I could not stand up for ten seconds without collapsing; although I barfed whenever I drank water or ate the stale veggie cookies; although I had the runs after eating the cookies; although I gasped for breath as sucking in air was difficult and labored, although I had to pee every fifteen minutes; although the pain in my bladder was excruciating, despite all these distractions, there came a prolonged moment that remains vivid with me every day. In that magical moment, in that life-changing transformative experience, I was in contact with my soul (which I call the Unconscious). I knew, as Knowing Knows, that the vital force was being squeezed out of me.

Stated another way, I knew I was dying on July 13, 2010. Instead of panicking during this experience, I was enveloped in a sea of serenity. There was ecstasy, rapture and an exulted feeling of bliss. All these emotions were mixed together. I jumped for joy without having to jump. Death amounted to an amorous kiss. Death was embraced and given a hug.

The magical moment also included a sense of euphoria. There is no death, only life followed by the next stage of being. The “ship of life” leaves the harbor. I wave goodbye to my friends. The ship disappears in the horizon, leaving my friends and family behind. Soon the ship appears at another port. Friends are waving to me from the pier.

If I am on my way to hell I will take Winston Churchill’s advice and keep going.

The Grim Reaper. Not grim at all.

(NOTE: Heaven Helen’s real name is Helen Poff. The story about her ability, “She never loses at cards,” will be posted next month.)

  1. Lee Evanz says:

    Wonderful post Richard! Your stoicism & good humor is downright inspirational. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Jennifer Gampell says:

    How exciting! You’ve experienced that final event all us other “mortals” can only quake in our boots about and lived to describe it. Now you can truly enjoy every moment of your new life without worry or fear. I’d be jealous if jealousy weren’t a karmic no no!

    Perhaps you’d rather have achieved the awareness less painfully, but hey, some of us spend our entire time on earth trying to let go and never learning the lesson!

    Congratulations on surviving with fortitude and, above all, with the ability to laugh at it all! You’re a beacon!

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