My dear friend Jason Hirschhorn (ex-MTV, Sling, MySpace), founder of the must-read ReDef newsletters, is undergoing a heart procedure. I am praying for a successful surgery and his speedy recovery. (Read) Jason is one of the good guys, tough and tender at the same time, and willing to share everything he has with others. Over the years, a strong friendship based on directness and honesty has developed. And while we don’t see each other as often, we communicate with regularity.
It is my concern for my friend and his well being that fills me with a sense of unease. Or perhaps, my apprehension comes from my own unpleasant and similar experience. The circumstances of his sickness are remarkably similar to my own, eight years ago.
Like him, I am diabetic. Eight years ago, and much like Jason, I made my work my life, living with constant stress. A series of unhealthy choices and my lack of physical activity led to an event that put me under a surgeon’s knife. Post-surgery, I have had to radically change everything about my life.
The miracles of modern medicine, lots of luck and some smart decisions about work-life balance have helped me come back from the abyss. With a little oversight and some rudimentary discipline, things have gotten better for me. In many ways, my own brush with mortality was the best wake-up call: while a lot of my life is controlled by medication, I also have made changes — no smoking, no red meat, no salt and no sugar — that make me feel more alive.
What got me through my tough times was my family and my friends, who would either call or write often. That communication allowed me to feel connected and part of my community, and led to a quick rebound. The worst part of being sick or being in surgery is those moments alone — Netflix and books can fill the time, but they don’t nurture the heart and can’t replace the human connection. While social networks are nice, but a phone call and a visit is the best medicine. I hope all of us who are Jason’s friends find time to visit him, despite our busy lives.
Buddy, I am looking forward to visiting you in Los Angeles. I will bring two giant glasses of Kale Juice — we will talk about media.