Last Friday, I was on a camping trip with my 13-year-old son when I suddenly experienced severe chest pains and went into a cold sweat. No, it wasn't because I'm the type of person for whom "roughing it" consists of staying in three-star hotels. It was a warning of an impending heart attack. It also landed me in a hospital where, after a bunch of tests, I'm now scheduled for a coronary bypass tomorrow.

This has come as a bit of a surprise, since I have exactly zero of the risk factors associated with heart disease. Apparently, while I've been incredibly fortunate in just about every aspect of my life, I rolled craps on this particular aspect. C'est la vie. Or maybe c'est la mort, since there's a 5 percent mortality rate for this procedure.

Anyway, this may be the last column I'll be writing for a while (I'm writing it on my phone, propped in bed, which is not the easiest way to work). I thought I'd make the experience of being suddenly hospitalized less tedious (for me, at least) by providing you some advice based upon my observations over the past four days.

1. Get VERY familiar with your insurance coverage. If not restrained, hospitals will bring in "consultants" who aren't in your plan, often without asking you. You can end up liable for tens of thousands of dollars, even if you have great coverage.

2. Create a travel "go-kit" that includes your necessary toiletries, underwear, and PJs. In addition to being useful for sudden business trips, you'll have what you need if you're suddenly hospitalized. Few things are more irritating than not being able to shave for four days.

3. Work ahead, rather than on deadline, as far as possible. If I were smart, I would have had 10 "evergreen" columns queued up in case of emergency. Now I'm forced to try to get two weeks' worth of work done in one day, as well as scrambling to get all the legal paperwork in line. It's tough, but unnecessarily so, had I done a little planning ahead.

4. Be ready to upgrade your cell phone bandwidth. Hospitals think Wi-Fi is an optional luxury and can't imagine that you might want to stream movies (or post columns) when they're waiting multiple days for tests or surgery.

5. Stand up or sit up when negotiating. It is much easier for hospitals to sell you services you neither want nor need if you're prone and therefore in a position of weakness.

Anyway, I may get another post or two before they wheel me in, but otherwise it will be a while before you get another column.

Meanwhile, everyone, thanks for reading me all these years, through 2,000-plus posts and since February of 2007. If you feel inspired to do so, send me your best wishes by Tweeting or Liking this post.