News from the other side

This just has to be the best opening paragraph in any column in 2006:

I nearly died last month, but it wasn’t serious. I woke at 1am on a Saturday morning with a pain in my chest; went to the bathroom; the pain increased; I fell over; got up; absurdly, went back to bed with the thought that this should go away; then realised what was happening.

John Lloyd, the formidable FT columnist, had a cardiac arrest. He was saved by the quick thinking of his Italian wife, and by the National Health Service. At one point, his heart actually stopped. Like the great journalist that he is, he saved up the experience and made a column out of it. (Columnists — and now, bloggers — resemble the old Chicago meat-packing industry, which used to boast that it “used every part of the hog except the grunt”.)

In the days that followed, in the midst of gratitude for a well of affection and support from friends and family, three main sets of thoughts passed through my jumbled brain. I regretted having no last thoughts worthy of remembering. I did think I was dying — but the thought came and went. I wanted my son to be there. I did feel my sins heavy on my head but, too late to become a Catholic, I could not shrive them — and a self-satisfied, lapsed-Presbyterian self-congratulation that I would not even if I could, passed through my mind.

Much of the time, though, was spent mentally wandering at random. I worried continually about an email I had not sent. I fretted about what had happened to the car, which my wife had driven almost into the A&E Unit (and which may have accounted for the questions on drunkenness). Nothing to approach Goethe’s “more light”. I might have died worrying about a parking ticket.

It’s a lovely column — but one that, alas, is hidden behind a paywall. I read it in the paper edition.