Please don’t ignore these signs
A good friend of mine died earlier this week. I am 57. He was younger than me.
I have known Joel long enough that we had developed the ability to know what the other was thinking. We good-naturedly bickered about the little things that didn’t matter, but knew enough to agree on the big things that did. He once described us to an observer of our kibitzing as being “like an old married couple”. In many respects he was right.
Joel and I share the same profession – teaching automotive sales consultants (among others) about the latest advances in the industry. By its very nature, this business involves a lot of traveling – by plane and by car. Many hours could be spent behind the wheel each week, or behind the guy in front of you with his seat reclined all the way back. To counteract the forced inactivity Joel would work out consistently every morning on the road, seeking out the nearest gym for a workout. When at home, he could be found in a yoga class – the one with the temperature set to “Yuma”. Despite all of this Joel died of a heart attack.
The really sad part to me is that just two weeks prior he posted on his Facebook page of dizziness, nausea and sweating profusely for a couple of hours. According to the American Heart Association (reference here) these are among the “other signs” of a heart attack. My wife (who interestingly enough carried on a more consistent Facebook dialogue with Joel than I did) agreed with others who told him to go see a doctor. None, though, said that these were symptoms of a heart attack, as likely they did not know.
Many of us are familiar with the chest tightness, difficulty breathing and arm or jaw pain that could signal this deadly occurrence. Unfortunately, many of us are not familiar with the other symptoms of a heart attack. If Joel had only known, or those that had read his Facebook post had known, he might still be alive today. This is why I am departing from my typical script of writing about the LEAF and electric cars. The more people that know, the better our chances of surviving. Don’t wait to see how you feel later, and don’t try do drive yourself to an emergency room. Call 911. Better a false alarm over an anxiety attack than dying too soon.
Rest in peace, Joel. You contributed much to many lives, and will be missed.