WHEN THE CEO GETS SICK: WHAT HAPPENS TO BUSINESSES?
When the CEO gets sick, it's not just a personal issue - it's a corporate one. When the head of a company falls ill, it can have a ripple effect throughout the entire organization. From missed deadlines to a drop in morale, there are several ways that businesses can be affected when their leader is out of commission.
In the age of COVID-19, this is an issue that's top of mind for many businesses. With the virus causing severe illness and even death in some cases, CEOs and other leaders are rightfully concerned about what would happen if they were to become sick.
In our case, this actually happened. Our CEO, Rusty Bresse, was hospitalized on September 22nd, 2021, because his oxygen level dropped to the low 80s and was still rapidly decreasing. This testimony is how the amazing Grace of God, along with his love and the love of many, helped him not just to survive, but to continue leading our company towards our vision in a new and even more powerful way.
Rusty has allowed us to share his story in the hopes that it will provide some comfort and hope to other business leaders who may be facing a similar situation. No matter what you're going through, know that God is with you and that you have the power to overcome any obstacle.
A POWERFUL MESSAGE
From the moment Rusty was put into a hospital room, he needed 100% airflow and oxygen. When the doctors told us that his oxygen level had dipped into the low 80s and was still rapidly decreasing, we knew it was serious.
We were all very worried about him, but tried to remain calm and positive. We knew that he was in good hands and that the team at the hospital would do everything they could to help him recover.
Friday, September 24th, 2021
On Friday, September 24th, Doctors advised that Rusty would need to go on a ventilator in order to start feeling better. They told him that this would help him get the oxygen his body needs, that it was the best course of action, and that it would give him a 15% chance. However, Rusty knew that the amazing Grace of God was with him, and he kindly declined ventilation.
Sunday, September 26th, 2021 - Morning
On Sunday, the 26th, he began to get worse. His lungs were filling with fluid, and he was having a hard time breathing. He had double pneumonia. He was scared, he was in pain, and he didn't know if he was going to make it. On top of that, both his father and sister were also admitted into the hospital.
His cellphone allowed him to stay in contact with his family on the outside, and his sister, who was in a room close by. However, he had no communication with his father.
Throughout it all, Rusty was in constant communication with his best friend, Rabbi Greg. Rabbi was away for his anniversary on the 26th, but he would often give him words of encouragement, emotional support, and prayers to say. He was a source of strength for Rusty during this time, and helped him to keep the faith.
Through Rabbi, Rusty also found out that several people were praying for him around the world. He felt unworthy at times, but Rabbi helped him realize that he was loved by many, and that the prayers were helping him to get through. The amazing Grace of God was with him, and he could feel it.
Although it was a difficult time, Rusty knew that he needed to stay positive and have faith.
Sunday, September 26th, 2021 - Afternoon
Later that day, things took a turn for the worse. Rusty spoke to God, and together, they could see that no one in the hospital was going to be able to help him.
He needed to stop thinking he could control this, or anything else in his life. This brought him a sense of peace, and he surrendered 80% of his control, but he needed to go all of the way; he needed to be all in at 100%.
Just 1 hour later, a Doctor came in with two nurses, and gave Rusty an ultimatum. They told him that he had a 0% chance of making it through the night unless he agreed to go to ICU and on a ventilator. Rusty took a deep breath and asked, ''what are my odds of getting off the ventilator?'' The Doctor replied, ''only 10%.'' Rusty advised that he needed time to speak with his family, but he eventually agreed.
During this time, he thanked God for giving him an incredible 63 years. He said that if it were his time, he'd be okay with it. In fact, he almost welcomed it as he felt it was the best alternative at the time. God replied, ''trust in me. Go to the ICU, but don't go on the ventilator''.
When Rusty arrived at the ICU, he was told they would put him in a picc line, be completely sedated, and put on the ventilator. Instead, he asked for just one night without it. In his own words, he said ''I have 0% chance of making it, right? So If I die, that's on me. No ventilator.''
Sunday, September 26th, 2021 - Night
That night, Rusty experienced one of the worst, and one of the best nights of his entire life. Purposely, he put his phone to one side and didn't speak to anyone. Instead, he left communication open for God.
His chest felt tight, as if a truck was parked on it, and his breathing was very labored. Every time he would try to take a deep breath, it felt like someone was stabbing him in the chest with a knife. The pain was unbearable, and he began to doubt if he could make it through another night.
He remembers groaning in pain, and looking for the remote to buzz the nurse. However, he couldn't find it. God had hidden the remote from him as he knew that Rusty would be put on the ventilator if he pressed it, and it wasn't his time yet.
2 am came around, and Rusty saw a nurse come in to check on him. She put a catheter on and told him that he needed to lie on his stomach, then she left. When she left, he flipped himself over as he had torn his rotator cuff on his right side, and it was uncomfortable. Rusty then found a slot in the bed rail and locked his arm in it. Then, all of a sudden, the pain began to subside.
His left arm was hooked to a blood pressure device that would inflate by itself. At around 2:30 am, it squeezed his arm, and Rusty felt as if it was God grabbing his arm and telling him he was there. He was in control, and Rusty needed to relax and trust in him. He said to himself, ''God is with you; he's got this.''
30 minutes later, Rusty felt another squeeze. He smiled, as the pain in his chest began to subside. Then, he thought to himself, ''This is it, I'm probably going to pass now, but God isn't going to let it be painful.'' From there, he finally fell asleep.
Monday 27th, 2021, 5:30 am
At around 5:30 am, the nurse came in to check on Rusty and was shocked at what she saw. He made it, he was still alive, and he was doing better. The pain in his chest was gone, and his breathing had improved.
2 hours later, the Doctor came in to check on him and told him that he was doing much better. He told Rusty that there was now only a small chance that he would need to be put on the ventilator, and that they would be monitoring him closely.
Friday, October 1st, 2021
Fast forward to Friday, October 1st, and Rusty was sent back upstairs as his oxygen airflow miraculously increased to 65%, and only ventilator patients stayed in the ICU.
Afterward, Rusty didn't experience any real change from that Friday night through to Sunday, October 3rd. However, God did tell him that he would be provided with a sign, and that sign will be the day he goes home.
Monday, October 4th, 2021
On Monday, October 4th, Rusty got the sign.
That morning felt different; it felt like something was going to happen. He woke up feeling more refreshed than he had in weeks, and the first thing he did was give thanks to God.
He saw a new nurse in the hospital, and as it turns out, her name was Angel. He smiled as he told her that it would be a good day, because God sent an angel to him first thing. Then, just moments later, another nurse came to him, and her name? Well, it was Grace. So again, Rusty smiled and said to Angel, ''See, now God has sent me his Grace too.''
He knew it; this was the sign he had been waiting for. Over the next hour, Rusty's oxygen airflow level kept dropping to a safe level. It reached 4 liters, which meant only one thing; Rusty was finally able to go home.
As it turns out, actions do speak louder than words. Later that night, Nurse Angel wheeled him out to the car, hugged his neck, thanked him, and told him never to come back here.
Sure, he's still got a long road to recovery; but with God by his side, Rusty knows that anything is possible. He's alive, and he wants to send the message of just how merciful God is.
Although, he knows that it's not just about him.
CEO LEADERSHIP FOR A NEW ERA
It's about the businesses too. When the CEO gets sick, what happens to them? Do they just crumble and fall apart? No, because there is always someone there to pick up the pieces and lead them back to glory. Just like Rusty was led by God back to his family.
While he was out, the business didn't just stop. His employees didn't give up; they fought tooth and nail to keep the company alive.
When he finally returned, it was like a hero's welcome. Not because he's some sort of celebrity CEO, but because he's their leader, and leaders never give up, even when the going gets tough.
A MESSAGE FOR COMPANY EXECUTIVES FROM RUSTY BRESSE
After all he went through, Rusty has a message of his own, and it's directed at company management executives. From the man himself -
''You always have to understand what's going on in the lives of your employees. From the moment they walk into the office, to the time they leave. Because you never know when something might happen, and you need to be prepared for it.
When the leader becomes sick, employees become the backbone of the company. They are the ones who keep it going, and they are the ones who make sure that everything runs smoothly. But when employees fall ill, or their families, it's the company's responsibility to make sure that they are taken care of.
This is the new era of CEO leadership, and it's one that understands the needs of not just the business, but the people too. Because at the end of the day, companies don't run on their own; they need amazing people to make them run. And those people deserve the best possible leadership that they can get. '' - Rusty Bresse.
Rusty is just one example of many CEOs who have fought and continue to fight through hardship. But his story is unique, because it shows how businesses can be affected when their leaders become sick. It's a story of hope, resilience, and most importantly, it's a story of how God always has a plan, even when we can't see it.
Rusty knows that God has a strategy for him, and he's not done yet. He's got more stories to tell, more businesses to help, and more people to meet. So, if you're ever feeling down or lost, just remember this; when the CEO gets sick, businesses don't always crumble. Sometimes, they just need a little bit of faith, hope, and love, just like Rusty did.
Until next time,