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Dead Man Walking
By Bradley fralick, DMD

Dead man walking here! Some people I'm sure don't like hearing that but only those unfortunates to be on death row. And if you were on death row it would be unlikely you're reading this.

One day, when I was just nonchalantly riding an inner tube behind a ski boat with my son in my lap, on Lake Clementine near Auburn, California, we were hit straight on by another ski boat going the wrong direction on that lake. I'm alive to write this now, but when the paramedic pulled me out of the water he took my pulse and checked for breathing. He wrote in the official report that I wasn't breathing and had no pulse.

Maybe I wasn't breathing; I probably wasn't. Why else why did they give me a tracheotomy, or "trache," as other traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors often call these neat little scars we all have on our throats just where the trachea is. Well, you don't have to be a TBI survivor to have had a trache scar. But, getting back to this dead man walking thing. I think that for a few seconds at least, I was actually dead.

This is an odd theory, but a theory is all it is. It's been my contention that I really was dead. It's just that nobody could tell, and I was up walking around and everything. I didn't seem dead, didn't look dead. But how can you tell?

Maybe you could tell by the smell. However, have you ever smelled a dead person, walking around? I've smelled it when I was a resident working in the oral pathology clinic at UCSF dental school. There, we would see many HIV positive patients, with such ailments as sarcoma this, or carcinoma that. In other words many of them were dying of cancer.

I think it's been my spirit all along, the Holy Spirit probably, that's been keeping me alive for some unknown reason. Yes, I believe God for whatever reason kept me from getting killed in that spectacular collision.

I also think it was the spirit, either my own indomitable spirit or the spirit of God, which woke me back up to go on with the rest of my life even though the Lord knew I wouldn't enjoy too much living in this body having a head that was broken. But He made sure somehow that I would know He had some hidden agenda for me.

I still have big plans for the future, but I doubt if I'll ever be in a situation again where my nose can decipher the walking dead. Now I know that there are all kinds of different ways to die. A person can be dead emotionally, or morally. Sometimes it takes a catastrophic event like my crash on the lake to see how to be more alive.

So, my message to you: don't wait for the crash, no matter what form it takes. Live today, and appreciate what you have. Wake up to the spiritual self within you. Don't be a dead man walking.

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