Cheney: I Thought I Had Reached 'End of My Days'
Describes health struggles, near-death experience in 2010
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2013 9:27 AM CDT
Former Vice President Dick Cheney speaks on Fox News Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Fox News)
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(Newser) – Dick Cheney's 2011 memoir may have delved into his many health problems, but it barely scratched the surface compared with his latest book. Written with his cardiologist, Heart: An American Medical Odyssey explains that Cheney was so near death in 2010—after five heart attacks and multiple surgeries—he said farewell to his family and told them he wanted to be cremated and returned to Wyoming, the New York Times reports. That followed a 2009 incident in which he passed out while backing out of his driveway and woke to Secret Service agents banging on his locked car—which was "on top of a large boulder in an aspen grove in front of our house," he explains.

An interesting story while Cheney was still in office: A blood test on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, showed he was at serious risk for a "potentially lethal" heart attack as he responded to the terrorist attacks. By 2010, "my world was getting smaller and smaller," he writes. "I believed I was approaching the end of my days, but that didn’t frighten me. I was pain free and at peace, and I had led a remarkable life." Now with a new heart, Cheney says he has the health care system to thank for saving him, adding it "is a national treasure and deserves to be preserved and protected." Cheney will appear on 60 Minutes on Sunday; his book is due out on Tuesday.