Caleb Hungs Pain-Gave Perspective, Newfound Love for Golf Career
After returning from playing in a tournament for two days, I was all back at work and enjoying the crisp fall air and sunshine. After helping Mrs. Lindsey with her clubs, I was returning to the parking lot when things suddenly got very strange.
I drove the 30-minute distance home with only one eye open. I cursed every red light that I saw, cursing each one of them, and rinsing my head in the hope that the pain would stop. I crawled up the staircase, went to the bathroom for some Advil and finally fell asleep. I felt my head pounding but knew that everything would be okay.
“This is how I sleep at night,” I thought. “I’ll be okay.”
Spoiler alert: I was wrong and it was not okay. Multiple times throughout the night, I felt nauseated and started sweating.
“You need to see a doctor,” he said.
In my head I mutter, “I thought that’s what I was doing…is this guy not a doctor?”
“You need to go to the emergency room immediately,” he said.
I slumped my way out of the building and back to my car, where I Google-mapped “emergency room” to locate the nearest hospital. I was admitted not too long after arrival (honestly, I was surprised that it didn’t take longer), and eventually the nursing staff took me in for an MRI.
“You have a brain bleed,” said the real doctor, after reviewing my results. “We need to run some more tests, but you’ll have to stay with us for a little while.”
I would spend seven more days in the hospital. I had a few procedures to assess the extent and I was also monitored and given lots of Dilaudid (also called morphine). At the end of it all, the diagnosis was “Acute Non-Traumatic Subarachnoid Hemorrhage.”
“What the heck does that mean?”
Short answer: Blood got into my brain from a malformed vein (that’s what caused the incredibly painful headache), and then the vein resolved itself. There was no need for surgery, no therapy, or any other medications. The doctor just said that I should go home and rest for a month.
When I asked what caused this and whether it would happen again, the doctor said, “We’re not positive about the cause; it’s typically something you’re just born with. It’s unlikely to reoccur, and for most, this is a one-time-only thing.”
It was promising news, but there was a catch. I asked if there was anything I needed to start doing differently, like any dramatic health or lifestyle changes I would have to make, and the doctor confidently told me, “No, patients rarely, if ever, experience any further issues. Just go about your normal life, you’ll be fine.”
I thought, “Thanks, doc…but really, that’s it? I just spent a week in the hospital with a headache. This is the most expensive headache Ive ever had!”
I started to think more about my role and began to search for meaning in my day-today work. The business of golf isn’t always a walk in the park; the industry is certainly fun, but not without its unique challenges. In my personal experience, I’ve endured plenty of tough times, long days and thankless tasks yet have also felt great joy, made incredible friendships, and had unforgettable experiences.
I had taught my fair share of lessons over the years, and I knew teaching full-time wasn’t the joy I was looking for (sometimes, the best part of a junior lesson was giving the kid back to their parents). It took some time, but I was able to retrace my steps and think back to how it all began. My first job in golf was due to the great instructors who gave me free lessons, range balls, and rounds as a kid. They took me to tournaments, taught me things you probably shouldn’t teach kids, and eventually gave me a job. I am grateful to these instructors, all PGA Professionals, for what they did when I was growing-up.
Fast forward to now and I am in a unique place to influence the future development of the Association. As a Recruiting & Membership Engagement Specialist, my responsibility is to recruit new members. Although it sounds complicated, my approach is simple. I try to be positive and share my joy about the game of golf.
And for me, that’s working in golf.
Are you interested in a career as a golf professional or PGA Member? Visit pga.org/workingolf to find out more.