Surely you remember the Black Spot:
It was some time before either I or the captain seemed to gather our senses, but at length, and about at the same moment, I released his wrist, which I was still holding, and he drew in his hand and looked sharply into the palm.
“Ten o’clock!” he cried. “Six hours. We’ll do them yet,” and he sprang to his feet.
Even as he did so, he reeled, put his hand to his throat, stood swaying for a moment, and then, with a peculiar sound, fell from his whole height face foremost to the floor.
I ran to him at once, calling to my mother. But haste was all in vain. The captain had been struck dead by thundering apoplexy. It is a curious thing to understand, for I had certainly never liked the man, though of late I had begun to pity him, but as soon as I saw that he was dead, I burst into a flood of tears. It was the second death I had known, and the sorrow of the first was still fresh in my heart.
Obviously we’re not at the Admiral Benbow Inn, but I’ve often wondered if, when my sentence was pronounced, I would immediately keel over. So when word came down that they’d analyzed those two CT scans, I took the call in the car, on the dubious reasoning that having to pay attention to my surroundings, as a driver must, might trump an oncoming stroke. (Were I wrong — well, I wasn’t in gear yet. I’m not completely mad.)
In the meantime, my condition has been upgraded to Not Quite Dead Yet, although the perversity of things has seen to it that I suffer from two simultaneous ailments, thereby quadrupling the symptoms. The less severe of the two is a case of diverticulosis, which isn’t particularly treatable but which demands a dietary alteration: no more Rocky Road, no more Braum’s Raisin Nut Bread, no more sunflower seeds. ["You hate sunflower seeds."—ed. Shaddup. I'm trying to make a point.] This, however, doesn’t cause me recurrent pain in the side; pneumonia does. According to one of those Severity Indices, I score in Class III, with an estimated mortality rate of 0.9 percent, odds no scarier than, say, the New Jersey Turnpike. On the assumption that this is bacterial rather than viral, I will be plied with industrial-strength antibiotics for ten days or so. (And apparently Ye Olde Family Doctor has pulled off another coup: who would have thought to schedule upper and lower scans?)
The only concern here, apart from the humongous bill for the CT scans (do they take PayPal?), is that this is my third bout of pneumonia in ten years, after not having it at all for almost forty. It’s never severe, but that doesn’t mean it’s never going to be.
I thank you all for your concern, good wishes, prayers, and other often-underestimated benefits of life.