Chapter 2: Blackness

Suddenly, there were doctors and nurses surrounding me. I could see worry and fear etched on their faces. Yet, they weren’t telling me anything – so I grew scared myself. As this hustle and bustle continued, I remained in the dark and my fear multiplied.

Finally, a doctor told me that I was to be airlifted to the Townsville Base Hospital. Fear strengthened its grip on my heart, and I turned away believing this was the end.

Little did I know that in the future I would wish it had been the end. Not all the time. But there have been many occasions since where I wished I had died that day. To be frank, there still are. Sometimes I think I have lost so much since then that it would have been better to go out on a high than to live with what I have left.

But at the time, death was still something I feared. And before I knew it, I saw paramedics beside me with their trusty stretcher. They were there to take me to the airport. Once there, I was craned into the Royal Flying Doctor aircraft. The crane was actually part of the plane itself. In hindsight, it was quite an amazing contraption. Yet then and there, I had other things on my mind.

Strangely, it was no longer death that I feared but the flight ahead. Actually, I was scared of dying – very scared, it was just that I now saw my life ending a different way. I’ve never been a good flyer and this aircraft was very small.

The flight seemed to take forever. The machine monitoring my heart made an unusual beep, and my mind panicked. The engine made a strange sound (at least strange to me) and I panicked even more. And this went on repeatedly.

Eventually we landed. I don’t remember getting out of the plane or any of the ambulance’s trip to the hospital. I do remember being rushed into a theatre. There I lay while numerous people were busily moving around, their faces covered in masks. It was after hours and the heart consultants were on-call. Finally, someone walked in. It wasn’t the consultant they were expecting but he brusquely took charge.

It was at this point someone told me he was going to put stents in wherever the remaining blockages were. He fed a camera through my arteries towards my heart. I could still feel the intense pain in my back, but I could not feel the tube he was moving inside me.

Then, all of a sudden, I felt no pain at all. I recall people calling out pain-free, pain-free, in a celebratory tone. I felt well. People seemed happy And I thought it was over.

I was wrong, very wrong.

People went from happy – to panicked – to serious – to focused in the blink of an eye. The consultant was calling out commands. It seemed like people were arguing. And then everything went black.

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26 thoughts on “Chapter 2: Blackness”

  1. Wow!!!! On the edge of my seat!!!! I love your honesty. I have witnessed your losses. I don’t begrudge you wanting to go out on a high! Even when you were soaring on high teaching year sevens who simply forgot to be arseholes as every year six class, even the best of them, did when they reached the dizzying heights of school leaders, BECAUSE they were so distracted by your engaging teaching style and relationship building, you were frankly human! Admitting your failures – forgot this, lost that!! Never ate a square meal. At least not in the staff room. Drank loads of a caffeine boosting beverage. Can you imagine how many times I have reflected on the day I blurted out ‘Have you got a death wish?!’

  2. OMG Shaun. This is amazing. So frank and honest. Never give up. You have 2 beautiful reasons to stay here. Watching your kids grow into adults. Nothing is better than that.

  3. Love your writings Shaun Killian, so looking forward to hearing more. and can i say chapter one, your were looking forward to term two, well the grade seven were looking forward to learning more from Mr Killian who they all just idolised, you were sorely missed. PS was awesome to see you on Friday

  4. Omg Shaun Killian. Brutally honest, and not exactly easy to read and think about! But it’s interesting as I’ve only heard your experience from Tracey’s point of view.
    I’m glad you put up such a good fight- you have so much to live for.

  5. Shaunie, when things are taken from us, better things await and are given. Not preaching, just forwarding on the greater picture on ‘how this craziness of life works’ … we just can’t see it at the time of going through the trials. So much love coming your way xo

    • Yes Diana it has been on my mind all morning that when a woman gets breast cancer often they tell their story and beg other women not to be complacent with self examination. Shaun may be the first man I know of who has begun to tell his story and it may very well inform and educate if not motivate other men!

    • So true, Reet. We all have a story to be told … whether it’s pertaining to health or in some other area. I think we are moving into a space where we realise just how important it is to connect more with others, to help in ways that we sometimes wouldn’t even realise we were doing. All comes back to loving xo

    • Im just waiting in anticipation of his side of the story. He was on some bloody good drugs at times. Should prove entertaining at times. Wondering if he remembers his highlight of the first townsville stint in 2012 where he made me hop up on bed with him for the whole day and watch the american presidential speeches and statistics. Grrrrr

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