Look After Yourself, Look After One Another*

The Past Two Weeks
Two weeks ago today I was pulling together material for the blog, doing some Kaur Group work, and getting ready for a 4-week trip to India in which I was going to be meeting folks involved in different parts of the sports world there. I was very excited for the trip, for personal and professional reasons. So there was a lot going on.

The next morning I started feeling a headache on the left forehead and scalp. I just thought it was the result of me being 39 and trying to run a full 90 minutes in my pickup soccer game the night before. The headache stayed all day Tuesday and Wednesday. With 4-weeks in India on the horizon and coming from a medical family, I went to see a neurologist. I never had headaches that bad so localized so I was a bit concerned. Thankfully the MRI came back negative and the thought was I was suffering from post-concussive headaches from a hit to the head Monday night in the game. The hit was not that hard at all but even a slight jostling of the brain and skull can cause such headaches.

So leaving from India was delayed from Oct. 22nd to the 27th. And with some pain medication and a couple of days of rest, I felt things would go smoothly. And of course they didn’t. Without going into all the medical details, I did not have headaches from post-concussive syndrome but rather was diagnosed on Sunday morning with a viral infection. The headaches had intensified and other symptoms had become evident. The main concern was swelling that had begun around my left eye and continued until I looked like Floyd Mayweather hit me 500 times. The beginning of the worst had just started. The next 4-5 days were going to be full of pain, discomfort, nausea, lack of sleep, and slight delirium from not being able to move much at all and having my eyes closed most of the time to limit the pain. Luckily, with the benefit of a good healthcare plan and an even better network of doctors who are colleagues and friends with my brother and dad, this was all part of the process of getting better and I was seen in an expedited manner and got the drugs I needed to start to treat the infection. Though I still look like crap, at least I am starting to feel a little better.

Going Forward

Why recount the story at this site? Because despite all the resources I had access to, the great care I was getting and the knowledge that it was almost certain that everything would turn out fine, I was miserable. This was really the worst I have ever felt in my life. The severe headaches, blistering rash, nausea, etc. were tough. I did not have the energy to even walk outside. Forget about kicking a soccer ball, working out or having a catch with my nieces.  That compounded the physical misery.

I won’t now or ever say going through this puts me in a group with those who have gone through major health traumas, e.g. cancer, stroke, loss of limb, etc. My situation was very short-term. Those individuals and/or their family members have taken their own  experiences to bring awareness, concern, empathy, dollars, and action to what they have gone through or continue to go through. There were numerous stories of individuals taking to the New York City Marathon to challenge their mental and physical will while also championing even larger causes. We saw it last month in and out of the sports world with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The reason I wanted to mention what happened to me these past weeks was that despite a lifelong interest in sports and its inherent good, the past two weeks markedly deepened my appreciation for their efforts of others and made me that much more committed to their showcasing their stories and being part of the effort to support this growing area of sports and development.

An organization I have long been a fan of is Right to Play. One of the slogans or catchphrases is one that I will do a better job of living up to going forward: “Look After Yourself, Look After One Another.”

RTP redball