By Alyssa Rychener – Horizon News and Features Editor
When the student body was told in a Monday chapel that Ken Rodgers had been rushed to the ER over the weekend with heart complications, a wave of concern swept over campus. The excitement of the pre-spring break atmosphere quickly turned solemn.
It was just over a month ago that Rodgers, a music faculty member, was taken to the emergency room where his heart rate was recorded at nearly 200 beats per minute (BPM). A normal resting heart beat should be anywhere from 60-100 BPM. The doctors found that Rodgers’ heart had gone into atrial fibrillation, meaning the upper chambers of his heart were beating too fast compared to the speed at which the lower chambers are pumping out blood. He was given medication to bring his heart rate down.
His latest stress test, two weeks after his release from the hospital, gave ideal results indicating all was well. But Rodgers says he still feels the effects of the episode.
“Generally, I don’t have the energy I had before the event, but it’s getting better,” Rodgers said. “I should be fine.”
Rodgers is the director of the Hesston College Chorale, teaches, gives piano and organ lessons, is working on planning the biannual choir trip to Europe, is part of the Hesston-Bethel Performing Arts committee, and is active in the church community. He didn’t have time to have health complications.
But Rodgers says this experience has caused him to reevaluate his busy lifestyle. Not only is he eating healthier and exercising more frequently, he is saying “no” more often.
“It was a wake-up call for me that I had better not keep such a busy schedule,” said Rodgers.
Although Rodgers regrets not being able to go on Chorale tour over spring break, he says he’s learned lessons he may not have learned any other way.
On his list of lessons: “A person’s health is a great gift, which no one should take for granted.”
Rodgers implements this by trying to find a balance in his life.
“I think it’s important to daily take time for some time of rest and exercise,” he said. “Those are things I have not always done well with.”
The other part of this lesson, Rodgers said, is being grateful. He is grateful for his health, for those in the medical profession, and for his community of supporters.
“Life goes on when you don’t,” he said. “I appreciated the many people who stepped in to help out when I wasn’t able to be on campus.”