I fully expected to be back at work Monday after spending last week relaxing on vacation time. Most of the teams I wanted to win took care of business so I had many reasons to smile. However, whether I just hang out around the house as I did last week, or visit family, as I will at Christmas, I usually canít wait to get back to the job.



@font-face {
font-family: "News706 BT";
}p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }p.bodycopy, li.bodycopy, div.bodycopy { margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; text-align: justify; text-indent: 12.25pt; line-height: 10.5pt; font-size: 9pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; }div.Section1 { page: Section1; }



I fully expected to be back at work Monday after spending last week relaxing on vacation time.



Most of the teams I wanted to win took care of business so I had many reasons to smile. However, whether I just hang out around the house as I did last week, or visit family, as I will at Christmas, I usually canít wait to get back to the job.



My plans for Monday were to be in Paxton for the girls basketball game between Baker and Paxton. Tuesday, I would be at the Milton at Crestview boys basketball game. I wanted to see the Bulldogs take down the Panthers (which they did).



But my plans quickly changed when I experienced severe pain in my right forearm much of the day Sunday. Then my blood pressure sharply increased.



Monday morning, rather than heading to work, I headed to the doctor, was promptly sent to the Fort Walton Beach Medical Center emergency room and was admitted for cardiac symptoms.



After a two-and-a-half hour stay in the ER, I went to a room immediately adjacent to the coronary unit. I guess they wanted me close enough to the unit so they wouldnít have far to take me in case something major went wrong.



The doctors ran countless tests trying to determine if I indeed had a cardiac event and treated me with multiple drugs just in case I had something going on with my heart they might have missed.



Thankfully, I passed all the tests ó this time.



When they said I needed to take a stress test, I wanted to know if it would be anything like sitting in the back seat of my car on a football Friday night trying to file a 400-word story on deadline.



My joke got the desired laugh, but I know my health isnít a laughing matter.



The list of my health issues seems to grow longer with each passing year.



Iím 54 years old and more than 100 pounds overweight. The extra weight is likely a direct cause of my high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type II Diabetes and sleep apnea. Iím almost afraid to find out what else might be wrong with me that I donít know about.



Iím the only one to blame for allowing myself to get in this condition.



Thirty-seven years ago, I was a 160-pound high school athlete. A few years later, after my adult body finished filling out, I was a rock-solid 190 pounds. By the time I was in my late 20s, I was still an athletic looking 210 pounds.



As I added the weight a pound here and a pound there, I never even thought about it. Weight gain has an uncanny way of sneaking up on me ó right up until I tipped the scales at 315 pounds about two years ago.



Even before Mondayís incident, I had started trying to make choices for a healthier me. Iíve been meeting with a diabetes educator once or twice a month since mid-summer and recently starting using a CPAP machine to help with the sleep apnea.



My weight, which was 310 pounds a few months ago, is down to about 302 pounds.



Iím making progress, but have a long way to go.



Iíve always functioned better when I had teammates. Something about being a part of a team encourages accountability.



I consider the coaches and athletes I cover ó and this sectionís regular readers ó a part of my team because your help makes my job possible.



Now is the time to form a new team dedicated to getting healthier. This challenge, open to anyone, is mainly directed at all the Baby Boomers who once were high school athletes and are experiencing some of the same health-related issues I face.



If you are interested in joining Team Good Health, contact me at my email address listed below. If there is enough response, Iíll see if I can get some local healthcare professionals involved to guide us down the sometimes confusing path to better health.



We could start the program in conjunction with the new year.



Iím determined to get healthy. Wonít you join me?



Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletinís sports editor. Email him at randyd@crestviewbulletin.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524