This post isn’t about football at The Citadel. Or any other sport at The Citadel. Or, for that matter, any other sport.
Feel free to quit reading at this juncture if you would like. This is more of a personal essay. I decided to write it as an explanation of sorts, maybe even as something for others to think about.
As some of you know, I am relatively active on Twitter (@SandlapperSpike). I’m not a power Twitter user by any means, but I like to throw out my opinion from time to time.
A few weeks back, I didn’t tweet for a ten-day period. This wasn’t because I didn’t have anything to say, or because I was on vacation or something.
It was because I was unconscious (or barely conscious) for several of those ten days.
I’m a relatively cranky graduate of The Citadel. I was never a good athlete (that’s putting it mildly). However, I’m not in bad shape either, and don’t really have a lot of bad habits. I don’t smoke or drink or enjoy the pleasures of Turkish hashish.
So really, what happened on a Tuesday morning in late May was not something that would be easy to anticipate. I had just arrived at work. And that, I’m afraid, is all I can tell you about the Tuesday morning in question.
That’s because about twenty minutes after I got to work, I went into cardiac arrest.
I got lucky — twice.
First because I got shocked back into the world by the paramedics. Then, after I was admitted to the hospital…well, I went into cardiac arrest again. The same day, just a few hours later.
And the hospital employees shocked me back into life again.
It was more complicated than that, though. I’ll never know everything the doctors and nurses and technicians at the hospital did, but one thing they did was use a coolant to significantly lower my body temperature. From what I understand, that increased my chances of maintaining motor/brain function.
It worked, as did a lot of other things they did. I received exceptional, life-saving care.
I am extremely grateful for that treatment (which I received at Palmetto Health Richland in Columbia). The doctors, nurses, and techs were uniformly fantastic — especially the nurses in the coronary care unit. Troupers, every one of them.
I went 2 for 2. I sincerely hope nobody reading this ever has to go 2 for 2, or 1 for 1, or God forbid some combination that isn’t 100%.
Subsequently, I’ve had surgery to correct a coronary artery blockage. It apparently wasn’t a factor in my collapse, but just a nice bonus.
Later this week, I’m going to have a defibrillator/pacemaker gizmo installed. Going forward, I’ll have to go the TSA-wand route when I’m in airports, but I’m okay with that. At this point, I’m okay with just about anything.
There have been other repercussions. For one thing, I did suffer some short-term memory loss. Most of the month of May basically doesn’t exist in my brain, and a good chunk of April is gone too. I’ve been told nothing much happened in May anyway, so not to worry about it.
A couple of days after I got out of the hospital, I was perusing my blog when I noticed that I had recently published two posts, one on the day before I went into cardiac arrest. I don’t remember writing either one of them.
I’m still getting my strength back. It’s going to take a while. I also suspect that I’ve been a touch grouchier than normal, which is really saying something for someone who uses Oscar The Grouch as his Twitter avatar.
My ability to concentrate isn’t up to full speed yet, either, though I believe I’ve made a lot of progress on that front.
In all honesty, my health issues did not come out of the blue. I had not been feeling well for most of this year. However, none of the doctors who checked me out could find a major problem.
I can’t blame them for that. I was tested (rather thoroughly) and nothing significant came up. It was just one of those things.
I did start taking a couple of different medications for “lesser” problems. Looking back, they were probably symptomatic and not causal.
My one piece of advice for anyone in a similar situation is to not be afraid to challenge your doctors. If after a diagnosis you think there is still an issue, continue to discuss it. It’s your health, and you usually only get one shot at life.
Besides, they’re going to send you a bill anyway.
Now, about this site and the upcoming football season…
I should be okay from a physical standpoint by the time The Citadel’s gridiron campaign begins. However, I’ve already missed a lot of time that I normally would have used to do “prep” for the upcoming season — and this year, with the coaching change, is one that would arguably require more analytic groundwork than usual.
Also, even before this happened I was a little unsure if I wanted to continue my normal in-season posting routine. Usually, I would write a game preview, and follow it up with a post-game review more often that not. I also posted a separate weekly national TV schedule, including announcers.
I don’t know if I’m going to do all that this season. I’ve debated changing things up because of the time involved in putting all that together. Time has become an increasingly scarce commodity for me.
Of course, I may wind up doing the exact same thing I do every year.
What I think I’m going to do is continue to write weekly previews, but perhaps in a shorter format (which may be a blessing in disguise). I’ll still have pictures to post for games in which I am in attendance, and they will still be amateurish at best.
I’m not sure if I’m going to continue the weekly national TV schedules or not. I may skip those, at least for 2014.
This season for The Citadel’s football team is likely to be one of transition, as a new coach puts his stamp on the program. It may be that it is a season of transition for this site as well.
However, whenever the phrase “transition season” is thrown around, I always think of the seniors in a program. They aren’t thinking of their final season in terms of transition. They aren’t interested in being a collective afterthought. They’re ready to play (and win) now.
I feel the same way. Maybe this year I won’t write quite as many sentences about the team, but that doesn’t mean I won’t care just as much. When August 30 rolls around, I have every expectation of being at Johnson Hagood Stadium, cheering on the players and coaches.
I’ve had to take it easy this summer, but I’m still ready for some football. More than ready.