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Inner Survival Alarms

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

We all have various reactions to different kinds of alarms, whether conditioned, learned, or provided by the Master Engineer. Some reactions may be a combination of inner and learned, such as reaching for a gun or freezing in place at hearing a growl in the dark. When the smoke alarm goes off, we take some kind of action. Sirens from emergency vehicles prompt us to locate the sources and get out of the way. We several built-in alarms.


Last night could have been my last night. The Master Engineer has given us inner survival alarms, one of which prompted me to stay alive.
Credit: Morguefile / Stuart Whitmore
Something goes bang, you look in the direction of the sound. Hearing a strange noise at night can wake many people up so they can check it out or call the police. One time, I sat upright in bed because I had stopped breathing and disremembered to continue, but that passed. Smelling smoke, with or without an audible alarm, can get you moving. Taking hold of a hot pan sends a very fast message in your system to let go in a hurry. 

Animals have inner alarms too, of course. Sometimes I worry that Basement Cat will smother herself in her fur because of an awkward sleeping position, but her breathing warning will kick in. 

I had something different happen that set off an inner alarm.

This is a tricky situation as far as wording is concerned, trying to strike a balance between including relevant information and omitting details that would be unpleasant. I also don't want to sound overly dramatic, but what happened could have made me ring down the curtain and join the choir invisible.

Last night (Tuesday the 18th) was a vexation. Something went on with my stomach that hasn't happened for a long time, and my night episode may have been the worst. Feeling a bit queasy at bed time, I took a couple of antacids before hitting the hay. Suddenly, I was awake and choking, having vomited in my sleep (sorry, can't find a better way to put it). There wasn't much, but I had inhaled it. That inner alert mechanism had me waking up and standing almost instantly, and I went into the bathroom to cough and gag. I had to do some very slow, controlled inhalations so I could cough out the stuff. The whole situation lasted a spell until it was under control and I was breathing again. Sure, I'm ready to go to be with Jesus, but who wants to die that way?

I've had acid reflux incidents at night before and thought this was possibly the most severe episode. However, my wife had some bad stomach feelings Tuesday night as well. Both of us had some, uh, symptoms that lasted into this morning, so we think there was something wrong with supper. It's been almost 24 hours, and I'm still not quite right, plus exhaustion from having my sleep interrupted and being unable to get comfortable while propped up. I regretted leaving the workplace early but it was necessary. (Having a good reputation for attendance helps, they know I'm not being cavalier about going home sick.) Near-exhaustion and stomach problems are an unpleasant combination, plain and simple.

Although my demise was possible, I don't think it was likely. But I thank God that he not only gave me (and us) those inner survival alarms, he has granted me more time in life to continue serving him.


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