I drank drano. It felt like my throat had been flushed down the toilet as I watched chunks of my throat swirl around the bowl and go down the toilet. There was a level of pain that is indescribable as the tissue of my mouth, throat and upper respiratory tract continued to dissolve.
I knew that it was bad, but didn't know how bad. I got to the hospital and was blacking out intermittently. My family was surrounding me, looking very sad and crying. My one niece was sitting on the bed and said "Uncle ****, don't go." I responded that I will be fine, don't worry. I looked at the oxygen monitor and when it dropped to about 70 something I blacked out. At some point I was given my last rights and my family started making the arrangements.
About a week later with intermittent bouts of consciousness I woke up in the ICU to some nurses who were very surprised to see me. I was pretty surprises to see them too. I really didn't know what the hell had just happened. Another week after that with an intravenous feeding tube and I was ready to go home.
Unfortunately, I misinterpreted the whole thing to mean that I was indestructible, and went on a booze and drug bender for several years. Thats when the guns and car accidents came in to play. They had nothing on previous experience and seemed insignificant at the time.
In the continuity of life, yes, it certainly has changed me. I've learned a lot about the resilience of human existence, and do feel that I am here for a reason. 18 years later and I still don't know what it is, but as I continue to look for them, life keeps getting better.
So maybe thats why I'm here. To be fully engaged in life by looking for reasons to live. At the time that the incident occurred, I didn't have any. Now I have a whole bunch.