Again a bit (for “a bit” read “very” 🙂 ) self-indulgent this time but if you want to stick with it there is a point.
There once was a very stupid man (we’ll call him Bob for the sake of this tale).
Bob considered himself fairly self-sufficient in daily life and was a firm believer in sorting stuff out for himself, he didn’t like to make a fuss (honest 🙂 ) and just got on with life.
This included any health issues that may have arisen over the years. Bob was a firm believer in only going to the Doctor as a last resort (and, despite everything, still does to a large extent) rather than running to the surgery with every sniffle, fever, stomach bug or odd ache. He typically only sees a G.P. every 4-5 years on average.
Then one day the thing happens. One evening at the end of quite a stressful period at work, Bob is sitting in his chair and a strange feeling come over him, difficult to describe but it feels like a giant spider has got into his chest and is crawling around his heart, it then settles in place and gives a little squeeze. Bob’s heart then starts to race and pound like a badly played set of bongos.
So what does Bob do?
Does he phone for an ambulance and go straight to the hospital?
No, he goes upstairs for a bit of a lie down to see if it’ll pass. It doesn’t, so Bob decides to see how things are in the morning after a good night’s sleep. No real change but Bob is still busy and has things to do, as long as he takes it steady things will probably be ok.
The following night Bob sticks to his routine and goes training, despite a resting heart rate of between 120-140bpm (difficult to be more precise as it was fluctuating too wildly to get an accurate reading 🙂 ), He has an hour’s line work and kata followed by an hour of pretty intense partner impact work, he does at least make the concession of sitting down for a couple of minutes between the sessions.
Bob continues in this vein, teaching, training and working for nearly another 2 weeks before it finally occurs to him that this isn’t going away and goes to the Doctors.
The Doctor has a real paddy and is in two minds whether to have Bob admitted to hospital straight away or to medicate and wait for the results of the tests, she tells him “you can go home and take things (very) easy as, if it hasn’t killed you yet, we can probably wait until Monday for the results BUT at the first sign of anything changing get straight to the hospital!”
When Bob gets to see the consultant to discuss the results of his tests the consultant seems incredulous that at no time during this period has Bob suffered a loss of consciousness (enough to have asked the same question at least 3 times 🙂 ) and is functional at all.
The upshot is that if Bob had immediately called for help the emergency treatment would probably have fixed the problem then and there but as he hadn’t there were now all sorts of ramifications from the possible effects of letting to issue run.
Because of the delay it is possible that blood clots may have formed in the heart and when it is shocked they may get into the system and cause a stroke. This is a “relatively low” risk after sufficient medication (so low in fact that if you miss just one tablet in the 4 week period ahead of the procedure they have to cancel it and start the whole cycle again 🙂 )
So, whilst the problem is probably fixable (80%) Bob is now living on a raft of medication to avoid the clotting risk, to bring down the heart rate enough to minimise further ongoing damage to the heart, to reduce the blood pressure so the heart is under less stress, and a diuretic to stop him drowning on his own body fluids (oh, btw, apart from the blood clot/stroke risk situation it now turns out that “some of the other drugs can lead to kidney failure”, so more tests for that).
The point of this long drawn out tale?
There are two really, the first is the one that we constantly need to remind men of in particular, don’t take your health for granted and get help when you need it!
The second is general but does apply as well to self-protection as anything else in life
Every decision we take in life has consequences which we may not see at the time and picking the wrong strategy up front can lead to a cascade of increasing detriment.
There is nothing wrong with picking the lowest risk strategy as your first port of call in any situation.
There is nothing to be proved by or gained from picking the higher risk strategy based of a level of (perhaps over) confidence due to training, ego and self-belief.
Training and self-belief are major benefits of martial arts training and I am all for them, however, them becoming your first port of call in a genuine situation can have unknown, ongoing and possibly major life threatening consequences and, whilst tempting (and perhaps more satisfying 🙂 ), would very much be the foolish choice if a low risk, easy access exit strategy exists.
There are no actions without consequences so why not minimise the risks?
You may end up with a better story than “There was a problem but it go fixed” or “A guy wanted to fight so I left” but you may end up with a story you really don’t want or even no story at all.
Just sayin’ 🙂