I’m really starting to think I should rename this blog the QQ Tales after the Japanese word for emergency, 救急 (kyuukyuu). After my brush with death at the beginning of January, I thought I could focus my energy on overcoming my newly-found fear of winter mountaineering and plan some rewarding hikes for the upcoming spring. Alas it was not to be.
Sunday the 10th of February started off like most Sundays. A late lie-in followed by a simple breakfast before heading to one of my usual haunts for a leisurely lunch. Afterwards, I settled down to work, chipping away at a few writing projects and programming my new GPS device for a Monday hike into the Rokko mountain range. Like most lazy weekends, I headed to bed shortly after 5pm for a quick power nap to give me a boost of energy for cooking a hearty stew for the next day’s hike. Immediately after lying down, I started to cough. This is a regular routine, as I usually cough when heading to sleep. Sometimes the cough is gentle, while other times I heave violently for a short time before the muscles relax and I drift off to sleep. My chronic cough is dry, unproductive, and the result of years of battling allergies and asthma.
Several strong spasms swelled from deep within my diaphragm, which somehow set off a bizarre chain-reaction of events. In the blink of an eye, my dry cough quickly became wet, as I could feel the liquid move smoothly across my entire chest cavity. I haven’t had a smooth cough like this since I was a child, as the ease of movement of phlegm felt so relieving after years of not being able to eject much sputnum. While still on my back, I grabbed a tissue from a tissue box I handily keep by the side of my bed and spit out a large amount of warm phlegm that had collected in my oral cavity. The tissue turned bright red, as if I had just placed it on a gaping wound.
I jumped up from bed, ran over to the sink, and vomited a cupful of fresh hemoglobin into the sink while continuing to cough violently. Running back to the bedroom, I grabbed my cell phone, called my wife, and quickly and efficiently explained the situation. If I passed out before making the emergency call, at least my wife would know the reason. I headed into the dining room, pulled a trash bag close to my seated torso, and dialed 119, somehow managing to logically convey my vital information despite my lethal expulsion of plasma. With the ambulance in route, I clumsily gathered my belongings and sat at the entrance of my apartment, door propped, in case I should lose consciousness before help arrived.