The Zipper Club

Life in 2020 has changed and for some, it continues to be the supreme challenge, for others beneficial and still for others, life has changed forevermore. This is what has happened in my life as I am now a member of “The Zipper Club” as I have been told.

So what is this group? I had heard about it, never really feeling that I would be part of it. We are the individuals who have survived heart surgery of some magnitude. We are left with a scar right down the middle of our chest where we were opened up so that life-saving processes could be performed. Oh, I might add that I found one Facebook group with over 6,000 members and I’m sure there are numerous ones here on LinkedIn as well.

For those who are wondering why I’m talking about this in a business forum, let me tell you. Janitors, custodians, technicians, environmental services workers, whatever you want to call us, we are people, individuals who also live life just like doctors, nurses, and all other health care workers. We all are fighting to save a life in some detailed way, every day.

It is personal. What greater purpose is our existence than to be a part of saving lives? Over a decade ago, I trademarked a phrase which is the focus of my business life. “I am a Janitor and I Save Lives.”

It has been my desire to influence those in the cleaning profession to look past the surface of cleaning and focus more on the real meaning of what we do. We fight a battle against unseen pathogens which can impact human life in a very negative way, such as the current pandemic we face today.

While I do not wish to compare what the many healthcare professionals did for me three weeks ago after two heart attacks in one day, we are all in this together, never meant so much to me as they have the last three weeks.

From the view of the hospital bed, I asked questions that I suggest you ask if you should find yourself in a hospital bed.

  • “Is there or has there ever been any COVID patients on this floor or building?”
  • “Has there been any MRSA patient’s on this floor or in this building?”
  • “Are there any intensive care patient’s on this floor or building?”

The answer to all my questions was no, it was a floor dedicated to heart patients, pre, and post-operation. I spent three days in pre-op with numerous tests and x rays being done. As I lay there, life as I had known it was about to change, the only question now was how was I going to deal with it afterward.

Every man in our family has had heart issues and up until now, I had not shown any signs. Grandpa passed of a heart attack during a conversation at just over 70, my father had numerous stints, my younger brother of 3 years has some arteries showing signs and my youngest brother had just 7 weeks before had a triple bypass. I’m the only one of the family who has not smoked or shown any signs before the big event.

Now, moving into the fourth week, things are starting to smooth out. Mentally, I’m getting my wits back about me, the pain is manageable with over the counter pain meds and I’m getting 3 hours of sleep at a time. Cardio rehab will be another 12-14 weeks, three times a week and then we’ll see how much this improves the next 30 years of my life.

Now the big question, what will I do with this second chance? Oh, my brother tells me I can’t quite say that, as the surgeon never stopped my heart during the processes. I have the fortune of a team from the Orlando Heart Institute work on me and they do not stop the heart like most.

Why all this information? This is life. It does go on even with all of the issues around us. Stop for a minute, take a look around, and see how many others are in a worse spot than you. Then be happy for where you are in your life and move ahead with a new outlook.

We are all in this together has a new meaning for me, now that I am in the “Zipper Club” and proud to be here too.

If you have a message that is personal and would like to share, please add it to this post. Our podcast, BeyondCleanWithACE on Podbean, has three words we use as our guide, please use them too.

Whatever you do, be sure that it is healthy, positive, and proactive.