Checked Your Heart Beat, Lately?

Paddles
When was the last time that you checked to see if your heart was beating? Up until eight years ago, I am not sure if I hardly knew how or where to even check. But February 17, 2009 my life changed forever.

I was rushed from a Park Nicolett Clinic to Methodist Hospital in a ambulance. After going in for a check-up all the sudden the doors were opened with nurses and doctor told me that I needed to go immediately to Methodist Hospital and they had call an ambulance. They took me to a room and put a 12 lead on to monitor me heart, as soon as the ambulance arrived I was wheeled out on the gurney, put into the vehicle and I was on my way to the ER.

When I arrived they ran a echocardiogram and the test came back that my ejection fraction (a measurement of how much look the left ventricle pumps out with each contraction) was 10%. He told us that my heart was enlarged because of the fluid and that I had a heart value that was leaking. Not such good news. Matter of fact one of the first things he told us was that he had contacted the University of Minnesota and that he was putting me on the heart transplant list. I wasn’t sure is that was better or worst news.

That was February 17, 2009 and now today I am happy to say that I am still alive and functioning. Yes, things have changed a lot in my life and for my family. There have been times through out our almost 39 years in our marriage when we might be in a tough season. At those times I could tell my wife, “Don’t worry, everything is going to be fine”. Well, even that changed that day because of new fears of future and what that would mean moving forward. But with the medications that my cardiologists have me on, for the most part, I have maintained a pretty good quality of life.

Yes, I still battle arrhythmia. It is a condition where my heart will go out of sinus rhythm and will beat irregularly. Why that happens is a mystery to us and the cardiologists.  But it is a reality we live. Just in past 12 months my heart has been out of 35 times, where a episode will last anywhere from 8 to 24 hours usually. But with what I call “my pill in a pocket” it will (the pill) shocks my heart back into rhythm. But if that does not work within a 48 hour period from the time the arrhythmia begins,  I have have a procedure administrated to me called cardioversion.

This procedure is done by a electrocardiologist who places PADDLES on the heart and administrates electronic voltage to shock the heart back into rhythm, hopefuly. This all needs to be done in a timely manner within a 48 hour period from the time the arrhythmia begins. If not there is greater risk of stroke.  Over the years I have had this procedure performed four times, but in the past few. The pill has worked for me every time within the time perimeters that have been set.

So all in all I have been able to maintain a pretty good quality of life. When my heart is functioning and beating right I feel really good. When it isn’t well that is another story. I really just want to do nothing. When I stand I am dizzy and get hot and honestly most the time I just want to go and crawl in bed. I will drive myself crazy at times checking my wrist every few seconds, hoping and praying that my heart will go back in rhythm soon.

So that is why I asked the question, “Have you checked your heart beat lately?”

Yes, I have shared a little of my journey physically. But for you it might not be physical.

What vital sign do you need to check in in your life, leadership, or passion to see if you are healthy and beating right?

Do whatever you have to do to keep it your heart beating, even if it means PADDLES!

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Sometimes You Have to Just Play the Game

There were many storylines and talking points about Super Bowl 50. But sometimes you just have to go out and play the game. 

For the past couple of week it feels like all the news was about three things. The republican and democrat candidates vying for the presidential election posturing and Carolina Panthers playing the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50, and the Half-time show. If the chatter wasn’t about Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich or Jed Bush, it was Bernie Sanders and Hilary Clinton. It was sure to be about Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, or Cam Newton, NFL Player of the Year, and the offensive machine of the Carolina, or the future Hall of Famer, the aging Payton Manning and Von Miller and the Denver Defense. But if not the elections or the games, it was going to be about the Pepsi Half-time show or the commercials.

There is no question these are all different types of events. One is about the future of our country that will have a profound impact on all our lives and even the world. The others is a just an entertainment and a 3 hour game. But, every year in the world of sports this spectacle continues to grow, and in just two years the show is coming back to Minnesota and the new US Bank Stadium.

Even though there is so much that surrounds these days in early February, there is a game that is played. Before the game begins there is two-weeks of analysis by the expert commentator on the national sports shows, local sports talk show personalities. There will be interviews of players and coaches on both the winning and losing teams. At the awards ceremony show, the ownership and coaches of the winning team will presented the Super Bowl Trophy and a MVP Player of the Game will be named.

There would be none of the Super Bowl hype, if that wasn’t a game. But there is a game that is played.

This year when you listened to the experts “breaking down” the game for two weeks, it felt very much like Carolina was going to be the clear cut winner. A star quarterback of the future against the aging “Hall of Fame” quarterback of the supposedly past. Even though the defense of the Broncos was good, most did not believe that they could stop the “Carolina train”.

But as we all know, sometimes you just need to play the game. It might look very lopsided on paper or on the stat sheet, but to have a winner you must but the pads on, lace up the shoes, and go play. When you run through the tunnel on to the field with all the adoring fans cheering you, you realize it is game time. There will be yards gained by both running and throwing the football. There will be yards lost on sacks. There will be turnovers as a running back that is trying to get a few extra yards, loses the ball. Or a defensive end rushes the quarterback and a force fumble or makes the quarterback under pressure throw the ball that results in an interception.

You see, sometimes you just have to play the game. That is exactly what happened. I guess you could say I bought into all the “Carolina Hype”. At my Super Bowl party, the prediction I made was a little off at halftime I thought it would be 21-7. I really thought that Cam Newton would just come out firing on all cylinders and they score 31 points and win Super Bowl 50.

But sometimes you have to play the game and early on in the contest the tone was set. When the second player in 2011 NFL Draft, Von Miller clashed with the first player in that draft Cam Newton, and the ball squirted out of the hand the quarterback and rolled into the end zone and a Denver Bronco fell on it for a touchdown. That play set the tone for the entire game. Even though there may have been times when the Carolina offense started to get a spark, it was that Denver defense that just made all around 112.5 Million views feeling like I did.

There were many observations that were made about the game and even the post-game activity. But for me the two take-a-ways were.

  • You only affect the outcome of the game if you are in the game.
  • The only way you can win is to play the game

What were you observations?