I will always remember January 11, 2023 as the day I died.

But by the Grace of God and the prayer of a Faithful Wife, I got better.

I thought that it would be beneficial to our Higher Ground friends and clients to bring everyone up to speed on the events surrounding my health this year. Those that know have been more than kind with their prayers and thoughtfulness, but as others find out through the ‘grapevine’ the tale gets somewhat distorted. So that everyone is on the same page of the hymnal, here’s the update.

In late December, I had my pacemaker changed due to the battery life – a routine and planned procedure.  No issues at all.

In early January, Karen and I boarded a cruise ship for our first post-pandemic vacation, cele-brating her birthday. On January 11th I experienced a medical episode that left me unconscious on the bathroom floor for approximately 11 minutes. When I came around, Karen was holding my hand and calling my name. Much to my surprise the room seemed to be filled with the ship’s medical staff.

After a trip to the infirmary, multiple EKGs, and bloodwork it was determined that I had not had a stroke or heart attack. The ship’s physician did a consult with my Cardiologist, Dr. Hodges, and because all my ‘numbers’ were normal, it was agreed that I could remain on board and avoid a hospital stay in Jamaica.

Once home, data was downloaded from my new pacemaker and provided to Dr. Hodges. He immediately scheduled me an appointment for 01.18.2023. During this appointment, he informed me that the pacemaker data indicated that the medical episode on the ship was not dehydration but instead I was diagnosed with Ventricular Tachycardia.  Please understand, other than my wife Karen, Dr. Hodges is my best friend.  He looked me in the eye and stated simply that there was no reason other than GOD’s Amazing Grace that I got off the floor… because there was an eight minute period where there was no measurable blood flow through my heart.

Karen and I have talked at length about what SHE was doing during the 11 minutes that I was unconscious; how the cabin stewards were attending to her, the sudden appearance of a fellow passenger who was also a (retired) nurse, and the arrival of the medical staff - everyone allowing her to sit by my side... until I opened my eyes and sat up... then the medical staff kicked into gear.

What has followed over the last three months have been 5 additional medical procedures (including a heart catheterization) to address the various electrical issues with my heart.

In March my pacemaker was replaced with an ICD (Defibrillator / Pacemaker combination unit).  While this won’t necessarily safeguard me from having another Ventricular Tachycardia event, it betters my chance of survival five fold.  I’ll take those odds.

And last week I had a cardioversion (shock).  Since January, I have been in pretty constant Atrial Fibrillation (AFib).  As was explained to me, folks die WITH AFib, not FROM AFib… but the decision to restart my heart to alleviate it was a ‘quality of life’ solution.  The procedure was a success, and I must admit I feel the best right now that I have all year.

In the meantime, life goes on.  After hearing this story, a friend of mine said to me the other day that I was now living on ‘borrowed time’.  I don’t feel that way.  I believe that I am now living on “Bonus Time”. My GOD is faithful, and I won’t waste this ‘second chance’ curled up in the fetal position worrying.

Today (May 1st)  is my 60th birthday.  I am humbled to be here.  For those of you that knew what’s been going on, please know from the bottom of my heart (no pun intended) how much your prayers and positive thoughtful comments, texts, emails, and phone calls have meant to me and Karen.  For those of you who didn’t know, well… now you do!  And for anyone who has texted or called and I’ve not gotten back to you in my (normal) timely manner, please forgive me just this once.

As author Mark Twain once said, “The story of my demise has been greatly exaggerated.”

I am alive and well, and Higher Ground Insurance & Financial Services is open for business.

As always, thank you for your friendship and your trust.


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Check the background of this financial professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck