People From Around The World Share Tales Of Their Close Brushes With Death

People From Around The World Share Tales Of Their Close Brushes With Death

A lot of us have probably had close calls with death, but don't even know it. That elevator we didn't catch, the bar we didn't go into, the plane we missed - who knows how many times a happy coincidence saved our lives. Well, these people do. We asked people to share their stories of times they came so close to death, they could smell brimstone. Luckily, they lived long enough to tell the tale of their close brush with death.

reaper-602888_1920-300x160.jpgJen Batler

32. Saved in the knick of time.

I passed out at work and came around in the hospital. They diagnosed a bleed on the brain and eventually decided to drill a hole in my skull to drain the fluid. Just as they were about to put me under, the phone rang. It was the Head of Neurology. I actually had a burst aneurysm. According to my doctor, I would have probably been dead seconds after they started the surgery had they not changed my diagnosis.


31. An unexpected savior.

I did some volunteering abroad in a place that had a ton of feral street dogs. Usually they minded their own business and were easily scared away (I tended to carry a piece of rebar in my backpack for this purpose), but occasionally they would gang up and maul people, generally kids and old people.

One night I got woken up by the sound of a bunch of them barking and howling; I wouldn't have minded except I also heard the sound of a woman screaming. I ran out into the street to check it out, turned a corner and saw the biggest pack of them I'd ever seen - like, 30 dogs - all circling around this lady. I started yelling and throwing rocks thinking they'd scatter... which is when the whole pack immediately turned their attention towards me. They were coming at me with their teeth bared and their ears back and I remember being really intensely aware of the thought, OK, I'm going to die right now...

It was at that moment that a dude in a rickshaw came tearing down the road, flashing his lights and honking. This made the dogs bolt. Driver saved my life, or at the very least prevented a wicked bad mauling. It was a really great affirmation about how most people will do what they can to help you when you need it.


30. Dangerous occupation.

I was working on a pipe crew in 1998, we were installing a large concrete vault in a pretty big hole. I'm standing in a ditch about six feet deep marking grade while the excavator operator is digging. So to the front of me is a large excavator bucket, itself weighing hundreds of pounds and backed by powerful hydraulics and thousands of pounds of steel armature, and behind me is a solid concrete wall about a foot thick. And the ditch is only a few feet wide and too tall for me to jump or climb out of with any kind of speed.

Suddenly the excavator spins to one side and the arm snaps out to full extension with full force, and the operator shuts it down. The bucket missed my head by about a foot. He climbs out of the machine, visibly shaken, and tells me that something has failed on the machine and the arm "wasn't supposed to have done that." So as he's been digging he's been noticing that ever so slightly there's a bit of a delay between his inputs and the machine's actions, and in the moment before failure he just felt "something wasn't right" and tried to pull the bucket in; when it didn't seem to want to, he turned the excavator "just in case" and that's when the arm extended. Had he not, I would have been crushed to death.


29. Don't talk to strangers. No, really.

When I was around 7-8 my mom brought my sister and I to a birthday party BBQ at my aunt's house. My aunt's back yard backed up to a golf course & my sister and I were playing in the yard while my mom chatted with her friends. An older man approached us from the golf course and asked us to help him find golf balls. Sounded like fun so we went with him to help, he led us further and further away from the party & had just told us to come with him into the woods to look there when we heard our mother screaming our names. I turned to look at her and saw her running after us, when I turned back around the man was running off into the woods. It took me years to realize that he was probably attempting to kidnap my sister and I and do god knows what. Scary.



28. The slivers would have done them in.

Outside my college dorm my freshman year there was this "stoop" that was half under the building, half out from under it. The building was 18 stories tall.

So I'm sitting out there sitting on the steps (not under the building) and I get up for no real reason and walk under the building. As soon as I get under the building, a huge sheet of glass falls right where I was sitting. Some fraternity bros where messing around on the 11th floor and knocked a 10x9 window pane out of its mooring.

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27. Romance keeps death at bay.

This is a sweet memory: My girlfriend at the time and I were walking on a semi-rural road in Santa Cruz County around 1993 or so. We stopped for a second and kissed. In that moment a car went careening off the road just a few feet in front of us. Had we not stopped for that kiss we would have been directly in its path.

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26. That's a lucky coin.

On 16th December, 2004, I was with a friend having a beer in a bar on the Koh san Rd in Bangkok, Thailand. It was the last week of my bumming round the world and we had a decision to make.

Do we go home for Christmas or spend it on the beach in Phuket? Neither of us had been to Phuket and we thought it would be an awesome end to living out of a backpack for the last 18 months but on the other hand Christmas at home with the family was also appealing.

So we flipped a coin and went home to the UK.

Flipping that coin a second earlier or later could have sent us into the path of the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.

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25. Death traps in disguise.

My friend and I were taking an elevator down to the cafeteria in our dorm in college. For some reason, we were arguing about something when the doors opened, so we hung back for a second.

Then the elevator dropped two floors with the doors open. If we'd just gone to get out, we would have been chopped in half.

I still hate getting in/out of elevators and I do a weird running start every time.

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24. Side-swiped by a deadly virus.

When I was in middle school I called my mom on my cell during lunch because my head hurt so badly I couldn't move (she was 1 on speed dial). Well the nurse came and brought me to the office for a check up and some pain pills while I waited for my mom (we didn't live close). Nurse said no fever, and to take me home and put me to bed. My mom watched me get into the truck and decided that maybe we should go to the hospital to be safe. By the time we reached the hospital (it was further then our home) my temp was at 104 and I was incapacitated. I had viral meningitis. If we went home and she put me to bed like the nurse suggested, I never would have woken up.


23. Could've gotten a whole outfit.

I was walking into a Miller's Outpost and the 'M' from the sign above the store fell down and hit me on the shoulder. It was a big glass sign. One moment sooner and it would have hit my head. Because it drew blood, the store offered to give me any item I wanted so I wouldn't sue. I chose an awful red cardigan. I was 16 and dumb.

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22. The nickname diminishes the threat.

When I was about 9 or 10, I was in the basement helping my grandma do laundry. She had a big braided rug on the floor and I was bouncing all over the place. I was wearing socks and jumping on and off the rug.

She bends over to get something out of the drier and reaches across the rug to grab something. I realize what she’s reaching for is a snake, just inches between the two of us. I yell at her to STOP, we both scream and the snake quickly takes on an aggressive posture.

I run outside and grab a broom and my grandma starts beating the poor thing to death with it. Grandpa hears the commotion and rushes downstairs and delivers the fatal blow. Turns out that little nope noodle that snuck into the house was a venomous copperhead.

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21. Night vision saves the day.

A couple months ago I was in a head-on collision with some dude driving down the wrong side of the road with his headlights out. I was going probably around 50 before I saw him (speed limit was 55 so that’s my best guess.) Saw him with a second or two of reaction time, managed to brake hard and swerve over only bad enough to total my car, but I still walked away with nothing more than a sore neck. If I hadn’t seen the dude I don’t doubt that I could’ve died or been seriously injured.


20. Speed racing the train is not a good idea.

When I was in junior high I was car pooling with another kid and her mom. For a reason I can't fathom she decided to race a transit train hoping to get across the tracks before the train stopped traffic. She gunned the car. I was in the back seat screaming NO. She hit the train. Because I was in the back seat I was injured the least. I had a pointy piece of metal pierce through my jeans and flesh until it hit bone. Had she been a second faster the train would have hit us broad side and killed us all.

This was 1980. She was not charged or sued. It was labelled an accident. She and her daughter suffered broken bones, lacerations and concussions. Because of the parental acrimony I couldn't be friends with the girl anymore. The family moved away before the end of the school year. I know at the time her mum was still not working. I'm not sure if she ever went back to work. Clearly she had or had developed some kind of mental or emotional problem which the accident probably made worse. I just needed crutches for a few months.

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19. Slipped by the reaper.

I used to study at night and my classes ended at 10pm, and I lived in the suburbs so I had to go a long way home on foot. My route was always the same, I passed by a stadium, a gas station and a church on my way home. It was a Thursday night and my city's football team was having a game, said "nah, don't like football" and passed by the gas station around 10:30 pm-ish.

Couple of days later I saw on the news that the very same gas station had a hostage situation that ended in 2 deaths, the victim (a taxi driver) and the perp (who was shot down by the police). The incident took place 5 minutes after I left.


18. Death gets out-maneuvered.

About 30 years ago my family and I were driving up to Jasper, Alberta in the winter. There was a slow car in front of us, and an impatient one behind us who kept trying to pass. Eventually the car behind us did pass, on a blind corner and hit a logging truck head on. The slow car in front of us was also hit, but my dad managed to put us in the shoulder and not in the collision.

This was way before mobile phones, or anything like that. So I remember my dad and my older brother getting out and going over the other cars and talking with the truck driver. It was this indescribable moment of total silence, and freezing cold, and disbelief until the authories came (quite a bit later). I remember sitting in the backseat with my younger brothers wondering what just happened.


17. Too close for comfort.

I was about 6 or 7 and I went along with my mum to go train the new puppy we had. The training ground was quite far away from home and I remember that it was a big field surrounded by a forest and a motorway on the side of it. I was told to stay in the car and play on my gameboy (back when they were a thing). After an hour or so I got bored and I went to have a look at where my mum was with our puppy. The carpark was a little while from the training ground but I decided to walk towards her anyway. In the meantime an older man (30ish) starts talking to me and the naive little boy I was I talked back (regardless of all the times my mum told me to NOT TALK TO STRANGERS). He convinced me I was going the wrong way and told me he would take me to my mum and puppy has. We ended up by the motorway side and we were about to walk down the bank to the side of the motorway where his car was parked. As I am about to disappear down the bank I hear the loudest scream of my name from my mum, I look back and feel the grip of the man tighten on my hand but I was just in time to get my hand out of his grip and run towards my mother. My mum runs past me to see where this guy is but he had just got into his car and drove off. To this day I still imagine about the what if scenario and how close I was to being kidnapped and potentially killed.

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16. Now about that waitress...

My dad and I were driving down the road after heavy rainfall in Vermont. He is driving, and I am fiddling with the radio. I hear a very load CRACK, and before I can ask my dad what it was, out of the corner of my eye I see movement.

An entire tree was falling on the road - due to the heavy rainfall, the dirt was too wet to keep some trees in place.

My dad stood on his brake, cartoon style, and we slid nearly right into the tree. I heard a pop before we fully stopped, and when we lurched back to 0mph, we were both breathing hard. My dad got out to check the damage, and the pop I heard was a branch hitting a headlight out.

First time I've ever seen my dad call 911. It was scary. Could have been he end of us if he didnt top to chat to the waitress after we left the restaurant to go home.

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15. Wake up call.

I saw a young guy almost get killed by a tram. He wasn't listening to music or anything but it was early in the AM and he barely caught it out of the corner of his eye. The first thing he did was a textbook Wilhelm scream and then he noticed me looking and said, "Well I'm awake now!" It passed probably 2cm in front of his nose.

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14. Danger in the depths.

When I was 5 or 6, we were on holidays in Australia. My mother took me to a beach that is known because it’s safe thanks to a net system that doesn’t let the sharks in. Well when we arrived the beach was empty, which was kinda strange, but we continue to have a beach day and we had a swim. My mother even swam from one point to another. After that, we were going to the car, and some authority saw us. They told us to not enter the beach, because a family of alligators had entered in the water, and it was really dangerous.

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13. T-boned to oblivion.

I was freshman in college and came back to my hometown for fall break. I decided to go to a football game to hang out with some old friends. On the way home, I stopped at a red light and when it turned green, I pulled forward, as usual.

From the left, a truck suddenly hit me. He was speeding and ran the red light, t-boned me right in front of my driver's door. I luckily got out with just an injured knee and fractured clavicle and some bruising.

It haunted me for a while that, had I pulled forward just a little faster or he had been just a quarter second slower he would've gone straight into my driver's door and I likely wouldn't have made it.

He wasn't even drunk or under the influence, it was just a 16-year-old kid not paying attention.

Car-Accidents-300x125.jpgJVO Connor

12. Saved by the dog.

When I was very small I woke up in the middle of the night with a feeling like the dog was missing. I woke up everyone in the house and we went looking for the dog. Somehow we were all outside when a Molotov cocktail was thrown into the neighbor’s house and their house exploded setting only one room in our house on fire—mine and my sister’s. If I hadn’t had everyone frantically searching for the dog, who knows what would’ve happened. The dog must have known something was up, too because she had gotten out of the house and was hiding under a porch across the street.


11. Look both ways, or else.

I had a bad hangover and was kind of nervous/jittery, which in turn made me extra watchful. I was driving home, light turned green and I started to go. Another car going about 45 in crowded city traffic goes right through the red. I slammed on the brakes and felt my anti-lock brakes engage for the first time in I don't know how long. Guy missed me by inches. Didn't even slow down.

Had I not been hungover I doubt I would have given the cross traffic that second look to see him barreling toward me. He likely would have t-boned me right in the driver's door.

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10. Thank goodness for second opinions.

My sister nearly died. I stayed up with her all night while she suffered through extreme nausea. Meanwhile, there was a blizzard going on outside. The next day, I went out on no sleep and helped my dad shovel, while my mom was on the phone with the doctor.

The first doctor said she could wait a day. The second said that if we had a vehicle that could manage the snow, we needed to get her in NOW.

Turns out, she was septic. Her kidneys were shutting down. If my parents had waited out the storm, my sister would've died at 17 years old.

Best the doctors could tell, her appendix had ruptured. In the aftermath, the whole thing caused her to develop pancreatitis, and she ended up staying in the hospital for a month, until she was able to keep food down on her own again.

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9. Nearly lost his head over it.

I worked at a private gun range for almost a decade and had one encounter where I could have nearly gotten killed.

I was in what we called a trap house (a little bunker that holds a machine that throws clay targets for people to shoot). When we go into said bunker, we put a giant traffic cone on top of it that basically tells people "There's someone in there, keep your shotguns at your side unloaded and wait for them to exit."

One day I was fixing some issues with a machine and was about to exit. I realized I left my bowl on the back shelf and stepped back and grabbed it. The second I did, I hear a shell go off and the cone on top of the house gets obliterated and falls in front of me. Turns out one of our members had his daughter there and was teaching her how to trap shoot. He didn't realize she loaded a shell when he was teaching her how to aim (irrelevant cause his gun shouldn't have been pointed downrange). He lost his membership over that incident.

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8. An almost tragic traffic incident.

Back when I managed a clothing store, I had to walk from the mall to the bank every morning to drop off the deposit. To get to the bank I had to cross one street at a 4 way intersection. One day as I was making my way across, a van was in the middle of the intersection waiting to turn left and was patiently waiting as I had the right to cross the street. Some douche in a black sports car apparently couldn't wait and SWERVED AROUND THE VAN and almost ran straight into me. Car was so close I could feel it behind my legs and everything went in slow motion. Good thing I thought to start speeding up as I saw the light start to flash, signaling the end of being able to cross or I could have been hit.

The jerk sped away and I ran to the other end of the crosswalk a-okay. I was on the phone with my now husband when this went down and he heard everything. I broke down crying when I got to the other side and it wasn't because I was almost hit. The thought that my husband could have heard my death is what shook me up

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7. Dive-bombed by bees.

While my family & I were hiking in a national park in the mountains of North Carolina, we stopped beside a small stream close to the top of a waterfall for lunch. I decided to walk down closer to the waterfall for a better look.

All of a sudden, bees. Multiple bees, and I'd always been terrified of them.

I start doing what anyone at my age with no survival skills and a fear of bees would: closing my eyes, shrieking, flailing around & running in circles. Right by the edge of the waterfall.

My family came to pull me out & back up the ledge. They said I came close to throwing myself off. I ended up with just a couple stings. Bees & I now keep a healthy distance.

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6. Nothing between you and the ground.

When I was learning to skydive I was trying to complete a level that involved turning 360 degrees clockwise and anti-clockwise in the air. First two attempts I could turn clockwise but not the other way for some reason.

Cue the third attempt jump and again clockwise goes like clockwork (if you'll pardon the pun) and so I try and turn anti-clockwise, but instead of going that direction or just not turning (like I had previously), I began to spin clockwise faster and faster and faster. I eventually span up to what I worked out to be ~200rpm pulling about 15G. I could feel myself blacking out and my arms being forced outwards, but instead of pulling when I started spinning like I was supposed to I kept fighting it and making it worse and instead looked at my altitude and pulled when I would have done normally.

Had I kept going and not pulled and blacked out I could definitely have died from being tangled in my reserve. The spinning also caused all the capillaries in my eyes to burst and so I looked like the devil for two weeks.

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5. Chilling canine encounter.

I was hiking in the woods and when I reached the end of a narrow trail a pack of feral dogs was waiting for me, half-circling me, growling and showing teeth. I realized I'm probably not going to outrun or outsmart them as my only option of escape was going back down the narrow trail, but I couldn't think of anything better to do. So I bolted and ran as fast as I could with all the equipment on my back, and I managed to reach a little village which was at the other end of the trail. A little old lady running a convenience store there saw us, picked up a rock and threw it at the dogs and scared them away. I thanked her for saving my life and continued my trip.


4. Meet your watery doom.

I was swimming with my dad and my younger brother in a lake. We had one of those decent-sized blow up rafts that we brought out to play around on.

I thought it was cool to swim underneath the raft and surface on the other side. Well the third time I tried this my little brother jumped into the raft and his body slammed into my head while I was swimming underneath, completely disorienting me.

I remember just inhaling tons of water and trying to figure out which way was up and every time I tried surfacing I'd hit the bottom of the raft and become disoriented again. I could feel myself starting to black out before I pulled myself up around the side of the raft.

No one even knew anything was wrong until I started heaving up water and coughing.

Similar to this when I was around 8 I didn't know how to swim very well and was at my grandmother's neighbors home playing in thejr pool with a friend my age. Accidentally stepped out of the shallow end and slid into the deep end and remember just sitting at the bottom staring up at the surface and starting to black out. My friend's mother dove in and saved me.

Still love water though.


3. A scenic near miss.

A friend asked for a ride on my motorcycle so I let him wear the spare helmet and took him for seafood at Neptune's Net in Malibu. Some of the nearby beach houses have driveways that lead directly onto the highway. So while we were on the return trip back toward Santa Monica an SUV pulls onto my lane.

There was absolutely no time to brake.

As a precaution against this kind of thing I always watch the wheels of parked vehicles for movement and I always rest a thumb on the horn. So I see trouble brewing, honk as soon as the other vehicle starts to move, and change lanes.

The driver of that SUV neither saw me coming nor responded to the horn. The only reason we didn't have a t-bone collision was because of that lane change. I skirted around it with about a foot and a half to spare.

It wasn't the closest call I've ever had but it was the only one where I was responsible for another person. I would have known to leap off the seat just before impact but the passenger wouldn't. It turned out later he didn't even realize we'd nearly been in an accident, probably because his head was turned to enjoy the ocean view.

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2. Nearly met a beastly death.

I've got a good one. I was doing a buffalo Roundup on antelope island in Utah one year. They get a bunch of local people with varying degrees of skill and knowledge, but who all happen to own horses to ride around the island rounding up around 300 head of buffalo at a time, and moving them to the far side of the island where they have fenced off an area to hold them. (It's for shots and medical evaluation, etc.)

My cousin brought me along because I always enjoyed riding horses with her, but I was very low on the skill side. To make up for it I was way way up there on eager, so I made sure that when we got to the fence line I was right up front.

The thing about buffalo worth pointing out is that they are huge... Seems obvious I suppose but sitting up on my high horse their shoulders still came to about my waist, and they look about 50% wider than a full grown horse. They are intimidating.

So we get them all to this pen but the problem is that the gate they all needed to go through was halfway along the fence and all the buffalo walked right past it and into a corner. I was with a group that stopped right in front of the gate making a barrier so they they wouldn't pass back again and a group went off to the side to try and coax the buffalo back our way.

Here is where everything nearly went irreparably south. The buffalo were getting freaked out about being cornered. (Reasonably so) and the unskilled riders in the group hadn't picked up on that so they kept putting more and more pressure on the herd. Soon buffalo were scrambling for a way out, tripping over each other, ramming into the fence (almost broke it down at one point.)

Then, in unison they all flip around and start running straight at me! An avalanche of 300 crazed, terrified buffalo stampeding straight at me. I remember realizing how bad it was, but not being afraid. It was too overwhelming to be afraid. I had heard stories before about people standing in front of a tsunami, or an avalanche as they rushed into them and feeling calm and small, and in awe, in the face of some utterly unimaginable force bearing down on them. For the first, and so far only, time in my life that was what I felt.

I looked back briefly to see if I could run my horse out of the way, and was met with a wall of other riders. I clearly remember the thought crossing my mind, completely matter of fact. "huh, I guess I'm going to die."

Luckily the wall of riders that was blocking me from getting out of there also dissuaded the buffalo, and inches away from my horse they all turned and ran through the gate, nobody was hurt.

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1. Life is equally terrifying and miraculous.

My wife was having a rough pregnancy. Tons of awful symptoms. Swelling, tiredness, nausea, low blood pressure, high blood pressure, back pain; that “morning glow” never came.

Last week the back pain was particularly bad. Cripplingly bad. She couldn’t get up for work. And she had what she described as “air pressure” in her stomach. Despite having a presentation she needed to host, she took the day off and we went to the OB.

Saw the OB briefly and she told us to go to the ER to make sure everything was okay, as it vaguely sounded like a pulmonary embolism. My wife couldn’t take in a full breath, and something was off but we didn’t know what. Cue the long wait at the ER, wanting to go home and her thinking she could deal with the pain. We were hungry and tired.

10 hours later, ER cleared her, no pulmonary embolism in the lungs found, but there were elevated liver enzymes found in her blood test. So off we went to Labor and Delivery, for a final blood pressure check before being released. They have to clear her also since she’s pregnant. Cue the doctor working in L&D coming to ask about her symptoms and the liver enzymes to clarify, and then taking over for the nurse and personally checking her blood pressure. Earlier in the ER it was 130/something. High for pregnancy but not immediately concerning. But now it was 168. We aren’t going home. She’s not even getting up to use the elevator. She gets wheeled upstairs and the OB gets called.

The next bit happened quick. We’re being asked a lot of questions about when the symptoms started, how far along she is, there’s a sudden swarm of nurses around her, and there’s a huge sense of urgency in the room. Blood pressure is now 186/93. She’s being hooked up to the monitors, an IV to get platelets, and getting more blood drawn. She was about to get up to use the restroom and a doctor sternly tells a nurse helping that she cannot be up right now. Our OB enters the room and breaks the news.

My wife has severe pre eclampsia and HELLP syndrome. She’s giving birth, right now. It’s not safe for her, or our baby. It’s early, but there’s no alternative. She’s getting a steroid to help accelerate the development of our baby’s lungs, and once the platelets are done being administered, we’re going to the operating room. She had an emergency c section and we were parents, at 29 weeks.

If that L&D doctor had not noticed her symptoms before she was cleared for release minutes later, she would have had a seizure, suffered organ failure and died that same night.

The last week has been surreal. We knew parenthood was coming, but not like this, or so soon. Our baby is stable in the NICU and my wife is recovering.

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