It was late July 2016. I was participating in a new hire training program for an employer that depended on an usually young demographic for the bulk of its new hires. Almost everyone was just out of high school or in their early twenties. One boastful individual in the class declared that he was accustomed to real work with real pay since he was thirty-one. Instead of impressing everyone in the class, he quickly became the “old man” of the bunch. If his goal was to impress the females in our class, I’d say it backfired. One of them instantly responded that he looked “kind of short & scrawny to be thirty-one.” On of the younger members of the class had guessed my age at twenty-one or so. I was forty. I decided I wasn’t going to say jack about my age while in the company of this group.
About a month later, I was hooked up to a heparin drip & an IV on a bed in one of my region’s premiere heart hospitals. Sometime in the last month, I had suffered a hard attack. I had stubbornly refused to consider that possibility despite my progressively eroding physical state. It felt so much like a combination of heartburn & anxiety; two conditions that were common in my family. I was convinced that what I had been experiencing was much of the same as well as the stress of my new job with an employer with a less than reputable professional atmosphere. Glassdoor.com had warned that this work site frequently experienced fights in the restrooms. I’m not a huge guy & mostly a peaceful fellow; to be blunt, I’m not much of a trouble maker. But even I had just gotten into a shoving match in the gravel lot a couple of weeks earlier. It just so happens, it was against that aforementioned thirty-one-year-old. Now, here I was, having been laid low after so recently weilding formidable strength. I thought it was just a matter of aging. Welcome to forty, I thought. Then one of the numerous, nameless health care employees came into my room to administer some kind of test or take some kind of blood sample. After a period of silence, he stared at me & said quietly: “You’re too young to be here for this.” At this point, youth was relative. But I wanted to say, “Well, if you really feel that way about it . . . cut me loose & help me get out of here.” At that time, I was more worried about having my skeletal structure broken open to get to my heart than I was worried about my constant fatigue & heartburn. I wanted to get the heck out of there! Spider man style, if need be–scaling down walls & hiding inside linen carts. Anything but open heart surgery!
Pardon the language, but this shit isn’t designed to come open. It’s not a desktop computer that’s designed for easy access to the internals with a screw driver & a little bit of time. Although I referenced earlier that I had never been a huge guy, I had strength-trained for years & had a pretty solid torso area. Lord knows how many sets of flat & incline bench press I had done along with unknown amounts of push-ups to solidify the muscles around the skeletal structure around my chest. And now, these freaks wanted to cut it open? How were they planning to close it back too? No thanks!