Having a family member admitted to the hospital happens everyday. Yet, this is my first time that an immediate family member of mine has been admitted to the hospital. It was a wake up call, for my Dad as well as for myself. The truth is that although the onset of dizziness that caused him to go the hospital was relatively sudden, the underlying ailment that caused the eventual dizziness wasn't something sudden. It's been in the works for years, mostly because of his eating habits and diet.
When we'd go out to dinner once a week, it was always for Chinese food or something involving a lot of meat and friend or oily foods. I don't know what he'd eat on a normal basis. Each time I'd ask him about his health and diet, he said that he was fine; after all he did ride his bike to work everyday and he did play ping pong three or four times a weeks and sweated until his shirt was drenched.
I didn't think too much about it and assumed that he was taking care of himself.
When I received the call the other day to take him to the hospital, I was optimistic, albeit a little concerned, but optimistic nonetheless.
In recent years, my Dad has been really active, riding his bike to work, playing ping-pong four a couple of hours a couple of times a week. That morning, my Dad seemed like he was doing well, maybe a tad bit tired but he still looked ok and I took him to the hospital and then went to work.
When I called a little later to see if he got home safely, he said that he was in the Emergency Room. His blood pressure and blood sugar levels were dangerously high. I became worried. A couple of hours later, he said they had to run some more tests and that he would have to get admitted to the hospital overnight. Over the last couple of days, the Doctor and staff have been working to get his blood pressure and blood sugar back down to stable levels. He will be discharged in a day or so.
It turns out that he has diabetes but never took it seriously and thought he could take care of it by himself with exercise. His blood pressure was so elevated because there was a small blood clot in his brain that, luckily, did not affect any physical or cognitive function and increasing blood pressure was the body's way of making sure blood was circulating to where it was needed.
Growing up, everyone thinks and acts like they are invincible. "That's terrible that someone has to live with that condition or suffer from an ailment, but that will never happen to me," is a common perspective from our teens into our 20's and maybe even our 30's. For some, that attitude carries even further until the point that it's too late.
For health, and other matters in life that are important that we don't have expertise in, leave it to the experts, leave it to the people and professionals that have a system to manage, measure, analyze and resolve issues that pop up.
Numbers Don't Lie
Often, there is so much emphasis on thinking outside the box, allowing for creativity, and going by the "feel" of things that sight is lost of the scientific, measurable and quantifiable side of things.
In our jobs and careers, we learn about and implement S.M.A.R.T. - C. goals.
S - Specific
It has become progressively evident that there are many great tips that can be taken away from the job. In the past I wanted to keep such a strong delineation between my work and personal life. As silly as it may sound, I viewed work as a necessary evil that allowed me to pay my bills and live a comfortable lifestyle. It was a very myopic and self-centered view.
In recent years, I've learned the importance of experiences and tools learned at work such as quantifiable results, measuring progress and success, and utilizing all available tools to keep a laser-focused track towards a worthwhile goal.
With this wake up call from my Dad being admitted to the hospital, it drives home the message that there is always a way to measure, quantify, and be precise when progressing towards a goal, in the case of my Dad, having a healthy life with healthy vital measurements.
If we really wanted to become experts in something, we should all become experts in knowing when to ask for help and keeping ourselves healthy!