Monday, February 21, 2011

Cowboying Up

 I wasn't going to write about this because it is as personal as it gets and I didn't think it had any interest to anybody. But as I sit here now looking into the face of my fears, I think it might be time to 'walk the talk'.

  In just under 2 hours I go down to the local test center for a Stress Echo cardiogram. It seems my PA is slightly concerned about these little chest pains I have had that come out of the blue and go away. It's nothing really big. They don't hurt, I just 'notice them' a little and they only last 5 minutes. No, it's not angina, and I won't give you any more details because I know you will all start focusing on a differential diagnosis. Thanks, but I'll get that covered elsewhere. Really, thanks.
 No, the reason I'm writing this is because I am a bit scared and worried about how this might go, and what the outcome will be. Will I get pulled off the truck, will they take away my interior certification, will I wind up being one of those 'proper diet and medications guys'? Am I done?
 I don't want this test. I don't want to know. I have too much to do yet.
  On the other hand, I have read too many NIOSH reports about responders who die in the hours after an incident of SCA and their only complaint was "not feeling well". I have taught dozens of classes where I implore the participants to stop the 'hero crap' and take care of themselves and their co-workers. So many Firefighters die in their beds either from the stress of the job, or their genetic pre-disposition that it is just stupid not to look into it when something 'doesn't seem right'.
 One of the things I admire about Chief Billy Goldfeder is that he 'walks the talk'. If you ever spent time with him you will know that several years ago he realized he was headed in the wrong direction with his health. He changed that direction in a big way. This took a hell of a lot of courage. He lost weight, eats a good diet, gets his regular cancer screenings, and preaches to anyone in earshot so that they too might be around longer.
 So in 2 hours I go in to face my fears. I was going to blow it off, but then I thought about Chief Billy, what he said, and what he DID. I thought that if he could do it, so could I. At my age, which quite frankly is an age where I should be taking a step back, I really need to be more careful. I don't want my Department planning my funeral, really. I'd rather have my wife do it long after I've retired from the Department.

 So, I'm scared, but I'm going to do this. I hope when your time comes you can do the same, if not for yourslef, then at least for the folks whose photos you carry in your wallet.
 Wish me luck. I'll let you know what comes of it.


  1. It is what it is. Truth is, I hate hospitals. In spite of all the time I spend in them with other people (or perhaps because of it), I hate them. This ain't a great way to spend a day off. But I promised myself a beer when I got home, so that helps make it better.
    It is what it is.
    Thanks for the good wishes.

  2. Keep us posted, we'll be thinking of you. Enjoy the beer.