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From A Headache to the Hospital

October 10, 2022

by Allen Lloyd, CAE

We have all been there, stretched to our limit working too many hours trying to accomplish too much.  After awhile you get a headache, take some aspirin, and go back to work.  Last month MTCPA member Ryan Jordan was having one of those days… but it took a turn for the worse. 

If you don’t know Ryan, he is a sole practitioner out of Great Falls.  He always tries to do the best for his clients and is always willing to help a fellow CPA out.  He told me to tell his story so that you all can learn from his experience. 

Ryan was working and trying to get through an impending deadline, a fairly common CPA experience.  He had a migraine and tried to push through, but at a point he decided to head home and get some rest.  On his way home he was having trouble with depth perception and rear-ended another vehicle.  He made it home and got some rest.  When a neighbor checked in him, they noticed something wasn’t right and took Ryan to the hospital. 

After some tests the hospital discovered a brain bleed.  The cause was prolonged elevated levels of stress.  Ryan is in recovery now and we expect him to make a full recovery, but he has some work to do to get there.  I visited him in the hospital, and it was great to see he still has his sense of humor and personality.  He also got excited about what the Society is doing and the college football season. 

Visiting a member in the hospital is never good but knowing that the stress of being a CPA was the cause made this visit even more difficult.  As you navigate your day, week, month, year please find some time to step back.  We can’t all run off to the beach or the mountains and forget our work, but we can all find ways to relax and recharge. 

As knowledge workers we may not have the physical scars from the toll our jobs take on us.  The risks we face don’t come from a machine in a factory or a mine.  Our risk come from overextending our mental capacity.  I don’t have to tell you that your work is important, but it is nowhere near as important as you.  Your boss or clients are likely demanding, they are probably feeling pressures as well. 

If you are feeling the stress and strain of your job, tell someone.  Our bosses and clients are people too and they need to know when we are near or past our capacity.  Recognizing your limits doesn’t mean you can’t grow in the future; it means you understand the signals.  This wasn’t Ryan’s first headache. I am sure he thought he could push through and be just fine.  We all deal with these issues differently and the key is to understand how the stress impacts you. 

The Montana Society of CPAs created a resource page on the website, thank to our friends at the Washington Society of CPAs for their help.  If you are having trouble, there are resources available here:

As Ryan recovers, he would love to hear from you.  His screen time is limited so a handwritten note would be best.  You can send them to the MTCPA at PO Box 138, Helena, MT 59624 and we will get them to Ryan.