I posted my last blog on Tuesday, June 29th. The very next day while I was in Venice, I received a call from my only sister who reported that her only son died in his sleep of an aneurysm at the tender age of 20. Thomas was an amazing individual: he was in his final year at Vanderbilt University, was a few days away from traveling to Cambridge for the summer, and had just been accepted to the Yale School of Medicine. He was a young man of faith and passion beyond his years, an accomplished pianist, and in all respects a gentle and caring soul. He will be missed. My wife and I have no children, so this loss is doublely felt as this also represents the terminus of the Booch genes.
Because I was still in Europe, it was physically impossible for me to make it back to the United States in time for his funeral although I did spend time with the family immediately upon my return (and I just now returned from keynoting the IBM Rational Software Development User Conference which I'll talk about in a later post). Needless to say, keeping up with my blog was low on my list of priorities at the time.
I've known for many years that this was in my DNA. My father died of an aneurysm as did his brother, although both did so in their late 70s, a much more common time for men. I'd recently had a complete physical and just a couple of years ago tested for aneurysms. Needless to say, this recent episode has caused me to be much more aggressive in diagnosis (I've got an appointment with the doctor this Friday to baseline my aorta). The symptoms of an impending aneurysm are often silent, but one can get indicators via x-ray and CAT scan.
CAT scans, by their very definition, are software-intense devices. Siemens, Toshiba, General Electric, and Philips are among the leading manufacturers. I titled this blog as Saving Myself because I actually have engaged with some of the teams in these companies and are aware of a few of their projects and practices. The theme of the Rational conference was software runs the world, and this is brought to a clear and present reality for me, as whatever I can to to raise the tide of quality and professionalism in the field of software engineering may indeed contibute to saving myself in a very literal sense.