Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lessons Learned from Tim Russert's Death

I missed this story when it first came out, so it's a few weeks old, but it's a personal essay by 50-year-old writer Michael Bicks, who sought medical treatment for a heart attack, only because of the lessons he learned from Tim Russert's death.

Symptoms first arose on a a regular bike ride with friends:

"The ride a few Saturdays back was a tough one ... by the third hill I started to feel nauseated. Figuring that was probably a result of the four beers and large Chinese dinner the night before, I kept going. Twenty-five miles into the ride, I had fallen to the back of the pack. I was short of breath and wondering how I was going to make it much farther."

Eventually Bicks stops to have his wife give him a ride home, where he lays down on the bed. It was only after he thought of Tim Russert's recent shocking death that it occurred to him he might be having a heart attack. He writes, "Because at the right moment I thought of Tim Russert, I am one of the lucky ones. I get to hug my wife and my kids, understand how wonderful my friends are and realize exactly how much I love my life. It is a debt I can never repay."

Bicks elaborates: "As in Tim Russert’s case, there were no warning signs. No sign I was suffering from coronary artery disease. A piece of plaque in one of my arteries just broke off and created a massive blood clot. When it did, I suffered a severe heart attack. If I had not gone to the hospital, I might very well have died."

This is the power a celebrity can have over a media-obsessed society. When they die in a noteworthy way, it can not just shock people, but if used to proper advantage, it can also educate ... and apparently in this case, even save lives. It's uplifting to see something positive happen as the result of a sad situation. See, media isn't all bad.

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