With our archives now 3,500+ articles deep, we’ve decided to republish a classic piece each Sunday to help our newer readers discover some of the best, evergreen gems from the past. This article was originally published in February 2013.
Expect a rollercoaster ride.
That’s all I can say. Climb into the car near the front of the rows, buckle your seatbelt, then grip the chrome handle in front of you. Clack. Clack. Clack. The car is nearing the top of the first high hill now. Get ready to raise your hands and scream.
The first time we were pregnant was 10 years ago. The very same day we first announced the pregnancy to friends, my wife, Mary, began to bleed. What a day of highs and lows it was. That morning, people were so happy for us, then that afternoon we stood at the front counter of an emergency room, our faces ashen. Mustering the lowest, most-controlled voice I possess, I said to the receptionist one short sentence I will remember forever: “I think my wife is having a miscarriage.”
It’s an odd thing about miscarriages. They just happen. Sometimes there’s an underlying cause that can be addressed, but often there’s virtually nothing that anybody—no medical doctor, minister, or magician—can do to prevent them. They occur in about 1 in every 5 pregnancies. Doctors will tell you that it’s the body’s way of cleansing something that wasn’t meant to be. There’s no rhyme, nor reason. Just mystery, and vagueness. Something to wonder about, but not understand.
Yet each one is heartrending. And a man finds himself in a unique spot. He’s often the silent sufferer, the one called upon to support and encourage and comfort. Yet inside he’s as equally torn up as his spouse or girlfriend, as unsure of what to do next, as grief-filled, discouraged, and aching. How can a man navigate this difficult season?
Mary and I spent four hours in the examination room. Mary lay on a gurney. I sat on a chair beside her. Doctors and nurses came by to draw blood, ask questions, write on forms, look, probe, touch, and talk. During those hours there were uninterrupted spells of quiet. Mary and I sometimes looked at each other, but it was hard to talk. We were sure we lost. There was just too much blood.
We learned a lot during that trip to the E.R. Normal gestation is about 40 weeks, which we already knew, but, technically, if the pregnancy ends prematurely, it’s called an “early pregnancy loss” up to about week 6, a “miscarriage” up to about week 20, a “stillbirth” up to about week 37, and a “premature birth” from then on (it’s called a birth even if the child dies). This was week 10 for us.
Toward the end of our stay, the doctor scheduled an ultrasound. I have often wondered why he didn’t do this first. I surmise he was convinced the situation was hopeless. But finally he did. Mary and I were emotionally pushed over the edge by then, completely exhausted, and anticipating a slew of sad phone calls to family and friends.
The ultrasound room was warm and dark and quiet. Then, to our complete surprise, the doctor cleared his throat. “I don’t know what to tell you, but there’s some other unknown reason for all the blood today.” He pointed to the monitor and grinned. “Because there’s your baby’s heartbeat. Strong and healthy. Your child is still alive.”
I will never be able to describe it. I could write until I run out of words, but I will never convey the emotion of hearing those startling and wonderful words. This is a rollercoaster experience, remember, this process of having children. Sometimes it’s best to just hang on for the wild ride.
We named that child Addy. Today she’s in fourth grade. Loves drawing and Barbies and reading. Just last night she sidled up to me on the couch and gave me a mischievous wink. “Dad—” she said, “what’s a horse’s favorite thing to put on his sandwich?”
“Neigh-o-nnaise.”She whinnied like a horse, grinned big teeth, and added in her best Las Vegas comedian voice, “You’ve been a wonderful crowd. I’ll be playing here all week.”
That was our first pregnancy, the one where we nearly lost Addy. To me, that put all future pregnancies into perspective: it’s such a fragile thing to have a child. And when you see your child growing up, you can more easily imagine your other children, the children you’ve lost. Stay with me here, because there are huge highs and huge lows, like I mentioned, and it certainly hasn’t been all after-dinner jokes for our family.
A year and a half after Addy was born, my wife became pregnant again. This time, again, she started to bleed. We anticipated the worst.
Sunday Firesides. Sometimes the Critic Counts
“It is not the critic who counts.”
If this line from Theodore Roosevelt’s famous “Man in the Arena” speech is taken to mean that the individual who takes action has far greater worth than he who merely casts stones from the sidelines, then it can be adopted as an unassailable truth.
If, however, it’s taken to mean you should never listen to your critics, then it’s a mantra that cannot be universally applied.
T.R., after all, was a critic himself, and when he called individuals “fragrant man swine,” “little emasculated masses of inanity,” and “beings who belong to the cult of non-virility” — you can bet he wanted to be listened to (and probably should have been).
While adopting a blanket “f**k the haters” mindset may anesthetize the pain of receiving negative feedback, it comes at the cost of two key things:
First, you surrender a potentially helpful perspective.
We’d all do well to heed our inner voice and scorecard over that of the crowd. But we can lose track of that voice or allow ego to convince us we’re doing a better job than we are, and it can take an external observer to point that out.
Second, you forfeit — at least if you apply the “never listen to critics” standard with integrity/consistency — the right to be heard yourself.
Because if people shouldn’t listen to anyone else’s opinions, they shouldn’t listen to yours, either.
Little credit belongs to the masses of heckling, grandstand-riding spectators, who nine times out of ten, have nothing valuable to say. But to avoid developing what Teddy called “a mind that functions at six guinea-pig power,” it’s wise to recognize that sometimes the critic can count: when he’s someone you respect; when he’s someone who also has skin in the game; when he’s someone who’s got, well, a point.
The post Sunday Firesides: Sometimes, the Critic Counts appeared first on The Art of Manliness.
How to Diagnose and Treat Heat Stroke & Heat Exhaustion
It’s been freaking hot around the world this summer. Here in Oklahoma we’ve had more than a dozen days in July alone with temperatures over 100 degrees.
The chances of suffering a heat-related illness like heat exhaustion and heat stroke go up during extreme heat. According to the CDC, between 2004 and 2018, an average of 702 people died annually from heat-related causes, and thousands more ended up in the hospital. Small children and adults over 65 are most susceptible to heat-related illness. However, it can hit anyone who works or exercises vigorously in the heat. In fact, heat stroke is one of the three most common killers of soldiers and athletes in training.
Below we share how to recognize heat exhaustion and heat stroke and what to do to treat both conditions.
How to Recognize & Treat Heat Exhaustion
Heat Exhaustion Symptoms
Heat exhaustion occurs when your body can no longer cool itself down through sweating due to a loss of water and electrolytes. Heat exhaustion needs to be treated as soon as you recognize it in yourself or others. Left untreated, it can develop into its more severe sibling: heat stroke.
Symptoms of heat exhaustion include:
Heavy sweatingCold, pale, and clammy skinFast, weak pulseNausea or vomitingMuscle crampsTiredness or weaknessDizzinessHeadacheBrief fainting (passing out)
How to Treat Heat Exhaustion
The goal of treating heat exhaustion is to cool the sufferer down and restore their fluids.
Move to a cool room. If you don’t have access to an air-conditioned room, at least move to a shady spot.Take a cold shower or bath. If that’s not possible, drape (do not tightly wrap — this will trap heat) cool, wet towels/cloths on the body. Turn a fan on these towels if you can. Remove extra clothing.Sip cool fluids, like water and Gatorade.
If heat exhaustion symptoms continue for an hour despite your treatment, seek professional medical assistance.
How to Recognize & Treat Heat Exhaustion
Heat Stroke Symptoms
Heat stroke is the most serious of heat-related illnesses. With heat stroke, the body has lost its ability to cool itself down, resulting in a dangerously high internal body temperature (above 104 degrees Fahrenheit). High internal body temperature is potentially life-threatening as it can cause seizures, organ failure, and rhabdomyolysis. Even if you recover from heat stroke, you can still suffer long-term damage to your heart, brain (creating cognitive deficiencies), kidneys (requiring lifelong dialysis or a transplant), and liver (also requiring a transplant). Heat stroke victims often die months after they’ve “recovered.”
To guide me on the intricacies of identifying and treating heat stroke, I talked to Dr. Sean Langan, a research assistant at the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut. The Korey Stringer Institute specializes in research in preventing heat stroke deaths among athletes.
Heat stroke symptoms include:
Central nervous system (CNS) dysfunction:ConfusionAggression/agitation (Dr. Langan says you frequently see heat stroke victims bite and punch people)DizzinessFaintingSeizuresVery high body temperature (104 degrees F or higher)Red, hot, dry skin (no sweating). Sean notes that you rarely see dry skin in people with exertional heat stroke (caused by exercising or working in the heat). Those exerting themselves in the heat may still be sweaty, and you’ll need to be on the lookout for other symptoms, particularly CNS dysfunction.Throbbing headacheNausea/vomitingRapid breathingRapid pulse
According to Dr. Langan, the critical heat stroke symptom to be on the lookout for is CNS dysfunction:
You can have really fit people who have an internal body temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit at the end of a marathon who are fine. Their body is adapted to having that high of an internal temp so they don’t have any CNS dysfunction and they cool down quickly after they finish their race.
You can also have someone who has an internal body temperature of 103, but they’re experiencing CNS dysfunction. This person has heat stroke and needs to be treated.
If you see someone who’s been in the heat who’s showing signs of CNS dysfunction, your best bet is to start treating that person for heat stroke. To confirm, take their temperature with a rectal thermometer (it will give you the most accurate reading)
Podcast #678 Physical Benchmarks Every man should meet at every age
As men, we all want to be physically capable. We want to be able to save our own life in two ways: in the more metaphorical sense of wanting to preserve it in healthy, fit form for as long as possible, and in the more literal sense of being able to make it through an emergency unscathed. How do you know if you do possess that kind of lifesaving physical capability?
It’s time to do more than wonder, and really check in with yourself. My guest today has some helpful benchmarks that guys from age 8 to 80 can use to see if they’ve got an operative level of strength, mobility, and conditioning. His name is Dan John, and he’s a strength coach and the author of numerous books and articles on health and fitness. Dan walks us through the fitness standards the average male should be able to meet from childhood to old age, beginning with the assessments he gives to those who are 55 years old and older, which includes carrying their body weight, a long jump, and something called “the toilet test.” We then reach back to childhood, and Dan discusses the physical skills kids should become adept in, which were inspired by a turn-of-the-20th-century physical culturist who thought every individual ought to be able to save his own life, and which can be broken down into the categories of pursuit, escape, and attack. We end our conversation with the physical standards those in the 18-55 range should be able to meet, including how much a man should be able to bench press, squat, and deadlift, and the walking test that’s an excellent assessment of your cardiovascular conditioning.
Resources Related to the Podcast
My first and second interview with Dan“10 Things Every Lifter Should Be Able to Do”AoM Article: Don’t Just Lift Heavy, Carry HeavyAoM Article: Take the Simple Test That Can Predict Your MortalityAoM Article: The 10 Physical Skills Every Man Should MasterAoM Podcast #663: How to Achieve Physical AutonomyAoM Article: The History of Physical FitnessAoM Article: Every Man Should Be Able to Save His Own LifeAoM Article: 12 Balance Exercises You Can Do on a 2×4Shaker PlateAoM Podcast #508: Break Out of Your Cage and Stop Being a Human Zoo Animal
Connect With Dan John
DanJohnUniversity.com Dan on IGDan’s website
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Read the Transcript
Brett McKay: Brett McKay here, and welcome to another edition of The Art of Manliness podcast. As men, we all want to be physically capable. We wanna be able to save our life in two ways. First in the more metaphorical sense of wanting to preserve it in a healthy fit form for as long as possible. And second, in the more literal sense of being able to make it through an emergency unscathed. How do you know if you possess that kind of life-saving physical capability?
Well, it’s time to do more than wonder and really check in with yourself, and my guest today has some helpful benchmarks that guys from ages eight to 80 can use to see if they’ve got an operative level of strength, mobility, and conditioning. His name is Dan John. He’s a strength coach and the author of numerous books and articles on health and fitness.
Today on the show, Dan walks us through the fitness standards the average male should be able to meet
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