Thursday, March 25, 2010

Why, Why, Why, Why, Why?

In business, we’re taught to use the “5 Whys” to get to the bottom of just about anything. It’s very simple – ask why five times and you will often reveal the root cause or reason for something. In my line of work, the whys are particularly important to success because marketing is all about pulling levers and measuring impact – knowing why certain levers work better than others is the name of the game. We drive the business forward by knowing why things happened in the past.

So my analytical mind continually returns to this simple question: why me? And not in a “life’s not fair” kind of way (though I do occasionally allow such self-indulgent thoughts), but in a “why did I survive” sort of way. There have been many tall hurdles to my survival, ample opportunity for death to win, and yet here I am, once again a productive (if to a diminished capacity) member of society.

My mom carried me over that first tall hurdle – she (and whoever encouraged her to come see me) saved my life. She flew up to visit me when I was first feeling very sick but before we knew there was a serious problem. I told her not to come, but she came anyway (incidentally, not the first time she did something I asked her not to do). She arrived by cab late one night and took me to the ER (well, technically I took her to the ER since I very rarely allow myself to be a passenger instead of a driver) the next day. The doctor we saw ran some tests and sent me away with a diagnosis of indigestion and a prescription for Prilosec. Great.

If it weren’t for my mom, I MIGHT have gone to the ER that first time. However, I most definitely would not have returned the next day for a second look. She was supposed to get on a plane that day but decided to stay after I’d been reduced to tears by the sickness and exhaustion. That stubborn woman made me go back to the ER and fortunately we saw a different doctor. To make a long story much shorter, I was admitted for overnight observation and went into cardiogenic shock late that night. Unfortunately for the grim reaper, I was in the hospital when this transpired, making the score: Andrea – 1, Death – 0.

I met other hurdles and expect to encounter more, but this post is about survival – more specifically about why I have survived. I keep waiting for a “calling” to hit me over the head or a special opportunity to present itself to me. There must be a reason for someone to defy the odds and walk away relatively unscathed (except of course for a weak heart, an IV, lots of skin puncture scars on my neck and arms and a device implanted above my left breast). Should I start a charity or switch careers to work with children in need? Am I meant to somehow help others going through a rough time? If you figure it out, please do fill me in. Until then, I’ll just keep asking myself why. And I'll keep thanking my mom for giving me the privilege to do so.


  1. Shari sent me your way without saying whose blog -- I'd recognize you guys anywhere. Sounds like you're on the mend -- but what a ride!! That's not supposed to happen until you're MY age. We'd love to see your folks and re-hash old times. Guess you've probably had to cut back on soccer :>] Take better care ... Shari's dad, Paul.

  2. Andrea, not only is she a great Mom, she's darned good looking as well. Thanks for sharing this; there are many, many people who are cheering you on and have been for a long time even before October. I'm a friend of your parents.