Jesse Turner

One Extra Life

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One Extra Life


On May 16, 2022, I was driving to work and experienced a strange set of pains in my collarbone, neck, back, and arm. There was no sensation of “an elephant on my chest” or any of the other “typically-described” heart attack symptoms. What I felt was the sensation one feels when a blood pressure cuff is squeezing an arm, not the squeeze itself, but that weird feeling of circulation being restricted inside.

I stopped in at my local hospital emergency room and told the receptionist that I thought I might be having a heart attack. It turned out that I was.

Tests confirmed that my arteries were all nearly 100% blocked. I was admitted and scheduled for open heart, triple-bypass surgery two days later. The surgery was successful, meaning that I beat the odds in my family, disrupting a generations-long history of early death by heart disease.

Afterward, as I contemplated this remarkable turn of events, I realized that instead of an obituary written by others, I could write my own “nobituary” instead. And I did!

I have created “My Nobituary” so that people like me can keep their experience and expression of gratitude alive daily. When I came out of anesthesia and realized that I had survived my open-heart surgery, I experienced a palpable, physical sensation of joy and gratitude like no other experience in my life. I was suddenly aware that I had filled the life I almost lost with petty complaints and constant upset when things didn’t go my way. I saw that I had been living a life of resignation and disappointment.

All of that disappeared in the moments of joy I experienced when I realized that I had been given a “new” life to live.