I was suffering from the croup for several hours throughout the late afternoon and into the early evening. My breathing was very labored. After calling the doctor the first time and using the suggested steamy shower to clear my airway, my parents called again around 10 PM. The doctor came to the house to get directly involved with my breathing problem.
As I recall, she was only there for a few minutes attempting to place a metal breathing tube into my trachea. She determined that I needed to go immediately to the hospital, saying ‘We don’t have time to wait for an ambulance.’ The town had a population of only about 25,000 at that time. The doctor told my parents to stay at home and call the hospital to inform them that I would require emergency surgery and to make sure that a surgeon was available. Then she instructed my parents to follow us to the hospital after the call.
The doctor placed me in her private car, drove me the 40 blocks to the hospital on the extreme north side of town. I remember we were going at a very high rate of speed and ran several red lights. Strangely, I remember in great detail the events that occurred some 60 years ago. However, I can only remember about half the twenty-minute trip. I’m sure that I must have lost consciousness from lack of oxygen. I do not remember arriving at the hospital.
I have no idea how much time that lapsed. It might have been 10 minutes or it could have been over an hour.
The first thing I remember was the intense, brilliant light that was at the end of a short tunnel. The light was brighter than any that I had ever experienced but my eyes had no trouble adjusting to that bright light. I recall that my entire life’s experiences passed before me, but the only detail that I recall now was seeing my cocker spaniel, Ginger. An auto had killed her several weeks before my event.
The next thing I remember was waking up to a bright light with something red dripping in my face. My own blood was dripping off the large adjustable, mirrored-room light over the examination table on which I was.