Your company’s biggest asset is you

  • By: Chamber President & CEO, Al Smith


In this month’s column, I’ll be addressing an issue I covered many moons ago.  Of all the articles I have written over the years, this topic has perhaps been the one which  received the most response from readers.  And – it is subject matter I believe we all need to be reminded of periodically.  Therefore, I felt compelled to repeat the details

About six years, ago I was sitting in my office at the Chamber when my phone rang.  It was my wife, Janette, on the other end, stating that she had made an appointment for the both of us to go to this medical screening procedure called Life-Line, an inexpensive medical check-up done by a roving band of medical technicians that check you for health problems which aren’t readily recognizable –  such as blood circulation, osteoporosis and other health issues. 

Well,  both of my parents died of heart failure, so I was already very aware of how health challenges can affect one’s life.  But, I am a good boy.  I go annually for my physical. I even do a regular stress test where I’m put on a treadmill, shot up with juice in my veins and forced to walk so hard I feel like I’m only one step from the grave – all while the doctor stands there smiling while he watches to make sure I survived (I hate that smile).

I monitor my health closely, so I didn’t think I needed another “stinkin” medical check-up. But you know wives, they can wear you down.  “It won’t take long,” she said unrelentingly until I finally gave in.

Well, my plans for the rest of the day only included meeting up with a buddy for a quick liquid libation on the way home so I responded, “OK, but if I have to wait more than fifteen minutes, I am out of there.”  

At the appointed hour, I showed up at the Congregational Church where this medical team had set up shop. Sure enough, they whisked me right in.

Efficiently, these medial specialist put me through a couple of quick and easy tests.  However, on one where they applied an ultrasound to  my abdomen, the specialist started punching buttons and twisting knobs on his machine, all while continuing to push this pencil-like thing all around my belly button. He even called in one of his associates to help him jiggle with the feedback.  I jokingly say, “Is your machine the problem or is it me?” –  never thinking there could actually be something wrong with me.

When it is all said and done, one of the guys took me aside and said, “Al, you have an aneurism in your abdomen that is over twice the size of a level we think is critical.  If I were you, I would leave here now and go straight to the emergency room.”

Well the long and short of this was that there was a major and possibly fatal medical complication that had never been detected in my annual checkups.  Why, you may ask?  Because, according to my doctor, it was not covered by insurance.  Never covered by insurance??? You have got to be kidding me.  The cost of finding this out through Life-Line was less than $100 dollars! 

Had I not found out about this when I did, the medical experts who successfully operated on me stated I would not have lasted another two years.  That, by the way, was six years ago.

So, if you are over fifty, FORCE your doctor to do such an exam.  Aneurisms are silent killers.

I say all this to remind you that there is no more important asset to your company than you.  In order to preserve the health of your organization, you must preserve your own health.  Don’t wait.

Hopefully, you won’t be surprised (as I was) at what they find.


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