Take 6: Things Learned Over Three Weeks

Daryl HattonCardiac, Health, Personal

Coming home – selfie at VGH just after discharge…

Things I’ve learned over the last three weeks:

  1. We have an amazing health system in BC. Like everything it has challenges but my results were excellent – well beyond expectations. No complaints. None.
  2. When faced with a life changing decision and little information I chose well. On Friday night July 11th I was driving back to the North Shore after starting to experience some mild chest pain. My plan was to get closer to home so it was easier on my family to help me if I had to spend the evening in ER getting tested to figure out whatever was causing it. But along the way I called my dad. He didn’t say anything specific that changed my plan but just the fact that unconsciously I wanted to talk with him made me realize in greater depth what I was experiencing. At the last minute (literally) I turned left on West Georgia instead of right towards home and committed myself to what I instinctively knew would change my life forever. I drove to Thurlow, parked, plugged the meter on my phone, and got out to hail a taxi in the touristy area of Robson. I asked the driver to take me to VGH because, frankly, I knew the drill there from my dad’s surgery in Feb. I walked into ER and did something very uncharacteristic – I barged to the front of the line and said two words: heart attack. I’d set the machine into motion and there was no stopping it; I was now a passenger on a roller coaster, not a driver. And it has been quite the ride.
  3. When I’m feeling empty and out of gas, helping someone can counterintuitively recharge my batteries. At one point I was feeling quite down; in pain, low energy, very emotional, worried about my condition. I walked the hall and came on a new patient, just admitted, waiting to hear when he would have his surgery. I’m my mother’s son and that compelled me to start up a conversation with him. We talked for a few minutes about the procedure, my results, his issues, the health care team, the tricks for eating well in hospital, and our fears. When we parted he had more color in his face and less fear in his eyes. My gas tank was not full but not on a warning light anymore. Since then I’ve used this technique twice more with even better results. If I treat it as precious and don’t abuse it, I can see it helping out many times in my life in important situations.
  4. I can be quite silly around pain meds and sometimes deny that I need them. I’m sure there is something interesting going on in my psyche but it doesn’t matter; “why?” is the booby prize. I’ve just learned to suck it up and take them. Lower pain promotes healing. I won’t be on them forever but for now, bring ’em on.
  5. I’m still a Type A and will need to be closely monitored and self-aware over not pushing ahead too hard in my recovery. Last night Myra and McKenna joined me to watch the fireworks. They were spectacular! But I was “done” about 20 minutes in. I should have gone to sit down but I didn’t want to step away. Silly because when I did sit down I hurt. It was a great low-cost mistake that I can use to help me avoid big-cost mistakes. For that I’m grateful. And obviously an idiot.
  6. I’m extremely proud and grateful for my FundRazr team. Not many startup companies can survive the unexpected loss of the CEO for an extended period of time. Our sales keep flowing, our bills get paid, our customers are supported, our partners get activated, our features get tested and deployed and people even can still take vacations. Wow! This just confirms a feeling I’ve had in my gut for a while that this team can scale up to do even greater things. And I get to come along for the ride. Sweet! When you see FundRazr as a great success please think of this great team and recognize that they are why it worked.

I’m a lucky man. I’ve just come through a massive life changing event and while I didn’t pass it with flying colors (there are lots of complications working themselves out) I’ve done very well. Many have asked “Is he for real? His updates sound so positive and yet he just had heart surgery…” Let me assure you that I’m being honest with you about how I feel. For some unknown reason I’m blessed with a character flaw that when faced with the “half full / half empty?” question I CANNOT see the glass as anything less than 3/4 full. And I live “out loud” and need to talk about it. For me, this really helps deal with tough situations.

Some want to know how I learned to be like this. I think I’ve been the lucky beneficiary of a lifetime of “big” experiences that helped build/challenge/test/reward my belief system. I know my life took a huge sharp turn away from mediocrity when I took the Excellence Series from Context 26 years ago. I’ve been able to take some of the techniques and philosophies they taught and REALLY apply them to my life. I still marvel that I use so many of them each and every day. Ask me anytime if you ever want to know more about them.

One of those philosophies is: To be truly successful, surround yourself with people who genuinely want you to win and who are winning in their own lives. In that aspect, I’m truly wealthy. I am massively grateful at a deep, soulful level for all of you. You are a great group of people and I’m honored to be able to call you my friends. Your encouragement and good wishes and funny comments have really helped make this journey much easier.

Thank you from the depths of my newly refurbished heart.