I have always been told that the best way to get God to laugh is to tell him you have some plans. So about three weeks ago, I must have given him a true chuckle. You see, I had everything arranged for the end of April through the first of June and it involved a lot of travel and some fun things besides. Each week was to find me in different city and state working on behalf of NAIFA and even a little for our company. So what actually has happened? Well, first, let’s start at the beginning. It was Sunday morning and is the norm, woke up and got ready to attend Mass with the family. It was a really nice morning and after Mass, the kids and all the grandkids came back to the house and we enjoyed brunch. Playing with grandchildren and everything else seemed pretty normal and since Deb and I were leaving at 6am Monday morning to fly to Houston so I could meet up with good friends and I was actually invited to play in the Senior PGA Pro-Am, was in great mood and feeling good. After the family left, I sat and read the paper and noticed that I was starting to have a pain in neck and back. I asked Deb to see if by massaging it, possibly it would subside. After she was kind enough to try for a few minutes, I told her it didn’t seem to be helping. She mentioned needing to run some errands so I stayed home and decided to lie down. By the time she returned, I had developed what can only be called a very stiff neck. I was now unable to move my neck in any direction. I tried taking some muscle relaxers and Tylenol but nothing seemed to work. Finally at about 10pm, we decided it might be good idea to go to emergency room and see if they could do anything. After waiting about an hour, I was seen by nurse who mentioned that it was common and easily treated but the doctor would discuss. Doctor mentioned that I was running a low grade fever but didn’t see any concerns. By 1 am we were home and deciding about catching the 6am flight and what time we would need to leave for airport. Finally at 3am, I told Deb that I didn’t feel I would be able to go to Houston and we needed to cancel the flight. Needless to say, not much sleep was had that evening. Next morning, we were able to get an appointment first thing with our Primary doctor. We arrived at the office with me completely unable to move my head and in severe pain. The doctor came in, took my temp which was now at 102 degrees and immediately suggested I get to emergency room. We headed to hospital and when we arrived, I was taken into a room where everyone was in masks and protective garb. The doctor explained that my initial diagnose was meningitis and because it could be bacterial or viral, they needed to start an aggressive therapy since bacterial can cause significant problems within 48 hours. I will forgo the rest of the gory details other than to say for the next couple of days, not only was I poked, prodded and sucked dry of blood, but the obvious concern by doctors, nurses and other professionals made me realize how grave things could be. No one was allowed to enter my room without protective clothing and new drugs were introduced every two hours. All in all, I had to contemplate that these could be my last hours. Kind of scary for so many reasons but it also pointed out to me what it is that we insurance professionals. You see, as I lay in the hospital, lots of questions came to me. How would the health insurance cover the medical expenses? As they did a procedure on my back and told me that it could result in temporary or permanent paralysis, what would happen if I couldn’t work anymore? And finally, as the doctor gave me the news that if things progressed badly, that I might have 48 hours or so, was everything in order if the worst scenario was to develop? As I laid there thinking, it was very calming to know that in each of those cases, I knew that coverage was in place to protect me and more importantly, my family and our company. I then considered that if I had those thoughts, each and every client has those exact same thoughts when things happen to them. And it is the insurance professional that can provide those answers and bring the same type of calm that I experienced. It is very hard to explain unless you have ever been in that position what runs through your mind but the little scare I had will definitely allow me to be more forward when talking to potential clients about the need to have their affairs and insurance in order.

Well, after eight days of hospitalization, it was determined that what I had contracted was actually a staph infection in my vertebrae that manifested itself as same symptoms as meningitis. Much better diagnoses but still serious because of problems it can cause with heart and other organs. The prognosis good and it seems it was caught very early so all is well. On the mend and although an inconvenient way to do so, it required a great deal of introspect and review of exactly how my own personal insurance program would do. I encourage each of you to review your own and each of your clients so that they would have the same calm that I felt when stuff happens.

Thanks for all the well wishes and mostly for the prayers. God, if you are listening, I am not making huge plans so you can quit laughing.