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Hah, no your iPhone isn't dying, it's just syncing a bunch of cruft. The way to clean it up and speed up your syncing is to remove all the updates that are cluttering up your hard drive (and subsequently your iPhone update stream).
C:\Documents and Settings\YOUR_USER_NAME\Application Data\Apple Computer\SyncServices\Local
Then perform another sync, after this sync, your iPhone syncing should return to normal speeds. And once IOS5 comes out this September, your iPhone will be able to sync in the background via wifi, which should make it a bit less painful to sync.