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Code Blue

Published on September 4, 2014 by in Stories

Have you ever had a moment when you wished the earth would just swallow you up and you could disappear forever? A time when you do something so incredibly stupid at a time when the whole world knows:

a.) someone just did something incredibly stupid, and

b.) that someone is you?

I have had many such moments, but by far the most dramatic occurred in cardiac rehab.

I suffered a heart attack in 1996. I was fortunate in that I didn’t require bypass surgery, and the doctors were able to open the blockage with balloon angioplasty. I did, however, have to go through rehab.

Rehab was actually rather pleasant. There were several of us in the room, all of us more or less happy to be alive. The exercises were not strenuous, and there was a good bit of camaraderie both among the patients and between patients and staff.

Most of the exercises were timed, and there was a large clock on the wall, with only a minute and second hand.

One morning, while for some reason no staff were present, the clock wasn’t running. Well, I’m a sort of “fixit” sort of person. When I see a problem I can fix, I’m inclined to fix it.

So I looked at the clock. There was no cord coming from it to plug it in, so I deduced it was probably hard wired into the facility’s electrical system. This belief was reinforced by the presence of an ordinary toggle switch immediately below the clock. I mean, and ordinary toggle switch exactly like the switch you use to turn the lights on and off in a room. No special markings on the switch; just an ordinary white toggle switch.

I turned it on.

It was the code blue switch.

It was effective.

I wanted the earth to swallow me up.

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