I’m referring to a near-death experience that forever changed the course of my life on the afternoon of December 1, 2013. A rare, non-impact induced subdural hematoma (bleeding between the skull and brain) formed in my head from near the front of my right eye, extending beyond my right ear to the back of my head.
I was fortunate my condition was detected by my astute family physician, who ordered me to have an MRI after going to him with a headache, a day before I was to fly to New York for a business meeting. I was rushed immediately from the imaging office to the hospital emergency room, where I was greeted by a neurosurgeon who explained to me that emergency brain surgery would most likely be required.
When you’ve been forced off the treadmill and you’re lying in a hospital bed facing unscheduled brain surgery, surrounded by the ones you love the most – my wife of twenty-nine years and my two children – it becomes easy to stop and contemplate the things that matter most. Clarity and focus become simple – you have no choice.
Fortunately, I did not have to have surgery, thanks to a heavy dose of steroids and anti-seizure medication that immediately began to stop the bleeding when administered. Had I sucked it up and endured the pain of my headache, my doctor assured me I would have died earlier that day. Another interesting fact is that I lost one of my mentors and former senior leaders with Merrill Lynch to the very same condition just one year earlier.