Most people have a defining moment in their lives that often takes the form of a major event that has a profound affect on them and mine happened exactly five years ago today. Each year on the anniversary date I rerun the chronicle I wrote that attempts to describe exactly what happened from my perspective. I can honestly state that having lived through this traumatic event caused me to focus my attentions on things that I really enjoy doing and this blog and my other writings about mobile technology are the result. Since I first published this chronicle in 2004 I have heard from hundreds of readers and the outpouring has been nothing short of phenomenal. I still receive email every week from those who have experienced the same thing or those who are about to. Here is the beginning of the chronicle From the Heart:
From the Heart
I had a condition that cardiologists refer to as the "widowmaker" because usually the first symptom you experience is a fatal, massive coronary. You drop dead. Game over with no warning. Well, you could say the warning signs are there even if subtle but there are no genuine symptoms. I was very fortunate to have one symptom that served as a warning and allowed me the opportunity to get fixed. Not fixed like a dog, but repaired as in faulty equipment.
"Mr. Kendrick, can you hear me? I’m Mrs. Reinhard, the patient care facilitator here at Methodist hospital. Are you comfortable? I’ll be making sure your wife and family are OK while you’re in surgery as you’ll be there for a while. Do you want to tell me anything before they take you back?"
I have to think about that one. I’m so cold, it’s so cold in here. How should I respond that won’t conflict with my Southern upbringing. You must be stoic when confronted with the most terrifying thing in your entire life. Scared beyond words that you will never wake up. Scared that they won’t be able to fix your problem. Scared that you’ll never, ever see your beautiful wife and wonderful children again. Terrified that you’ll be an invalid after the surgery.
"Thank you but I’m fine."
"You understand the procedure you’re about to undergo, right Mr. Kendrick? Would you like to talk about it or ask me any questions?"
"No, I’m fine. Tell my wife that I love her and I’ll see her shortly. She doesn’t handle upsetting things very well."
"Well, OK, Mr. Kendrick. Don’t you worry- Dr. Lawrie is one of the best surgeons in the world and you’ll be just fine. I’ll sit with your wife for a while and make sure she knows what’s going on with your procedure. They’ll be coming to take you into surgery in a few minutes. I’ll see you in the recovery room." (What I didn’t know then is that Dr. Lawrie worked for 20 years on the personal surgical team of Dr. DeBakey, the pioneer of cardiac surgery. Sometimes you just get lucky.)
As she walked away I hoped that Sheri would be OK. A single tear trickled involuntarily down my cheek. I suppose it was still there when the doctors and nurses started their work.