It’s been two weeks since the 4th Roche Social Media Summit wrapped up in Indianapolis, and this is my first post post about it. Better late than never, right?
To be honest, I don’t know what I can say about the gathering that hasn’t already been said by other attendees. There have been a number of great posts written about the event already. Still, I feel obligated share my thoughts as well.
The one thing that has stuck with me over the last two weeks has been the session with guest speaker Josh Bleill, community spokesman of the Indianapolis Colts.
Josh was on combat patrol in Fallujah Iraq on October 15, 2006, when a bomb exploded under the humvee he was in. The blast left two marines dead, and Josh and his best friend were severely wounded.
After 5 days in a coma, Josh woke to the news of what happened and that both of his legs were amputated as a result.
After two years of rehab and uncertainty about the future, Josh is now working for the Colts. His job? Sharing his story and message of overcoming great challenges.
Like others in the room that day, I didn’t get why Roche had him there at first. I mean, what did this have to do with diabetes and our community? And how was this applicable to me?
Well, the more I listened, the clearer the connection became. Josh said,
“Everyone has a bomb that goes off in their lives at some point.”
He was referring to those life altering events that blindside us from time to time. The death of a loved one, being diagnosed with a life threatening medical condition, losing a job, etc… All bombs that disrupt everything with they go off.
For me, the “bomb” was being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and congestive heart failure. My struggles with each are well documented in this blog. As are my fears of dying in my sleep because of my heart. And despite how far I’ve come, there are times when I’m still haunted by those fears.
Something happened the following morning that I kind of laughed off at the time but, in all honesty, really troubled me. I didn’t wake until three hours after my alarms went off. Three hours after the morning’s activities had started. I made it down to the meeting room and slipped in just before the final guest speaker of the summit was introduced. No one had noticed that I wasn’t in the meeting room that morning. If so, no one said anything. Sure, that stuff happens to everyone but for some it causes more mental anguish than you’d ever realize.
I couldn’t help but think about what Josh had said. “Everyone has a bomb that goes off in their lives at some point.” And the more I thought about it, the more my fears came roaring to the front of my mind. What if I hadn’t woke up? What if the time bomb in my chest had finally gone off? How long would it have been before anyone noticed? Who would find me? Who would call April?
I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights have spent thinking those very thoughts during the last three and a half years. More than I care to admit and more than you want to hear about, I’m sure.
Josh ended his presentation by thanking everyone in the room that morning for sharing their story and doing the work they do. All I could think about was thanking him for the sacrifices he made defending the freedoms that allow us to do what we do. Before he left, I thanked him personally and shook his hand.
A reminder: take nothing in life for granted. You never know when everything will come to an end.
Disclaimer: Roche paid for the gas used to drive to Indy, hotel accommodations, and meals associated with my attending the 2012 Social Media Summit in Indianapolis, Indiana. I was not asked to write about the summit, nor was I coached on what to say and not to say. My thoughts are just that..my thoughts!