Monday, March 02, 2009
I’m Going to Live!
It was pretty surreal when my doctor told me with urgency “go to the nearest ER right away or call an ambulance” when referring to the results of some tests during a checkup.
A checkup that I would have completely avoided if it had not been for my wife pushing me to go because of some odd pains I was having for some time that were getting much to evident to ignore.
Then came the inevitable thought – am I going to die?
My wife, daughter, family, friends; all of the things I’ve wanted to accomplish in life or visit all came into mind. That feeling of total loss knowing that the circumstances were completely out of my control just overwhelmed me.
Later my wife and I had a serious conversation about all the “what if’s.” That by far had to be the most difficult and emotional conversation I’ve (we’ve) ever had.
What surpassed it was seeing my daughter shortly thereafter; all chipper, smiling, without a slightest clue of what in the world was going on. The first thing she said, with enthusiasm, was something like “a squirrel ran into my classroom and the police came… and took him to jail!”
Life is weird.
I never thought that I would be seeing a cardiologist, hooked up to an EKG machine and all sorts of strange equipment, having ultrasounds done of my heart -- all in my 30’s, and just a few weeks before my birthday (the irony!)
But then again, I never thought that I would have such a great wife, an amazing little girl, and a life filled with good friends and family that I can’t really complain about. That’s what made the circumstances even more difficult.
The feeling that all of it may really be gone in a limited amount of time is truly unexplainable.
I really thought stuff like this only happened to people who didn’t do all of the things I did - workout 4 days a week (nearly 8 years now like clockwork), watched their weight, didn’t smoke, drink (well only a few times a month), and ate pretty healthy (OK, except maybe the occasional trip to the Colonel’s house of pure fried chicken delight – my only one true vice!)
But none of that is a guarantee, especially when heart disease runs rampant in all the men on my Dad’s side of the family.
When all was said and done, I emerged. A bit traumatized, a different stance, and a fresh appreciation for the people around me. This time adding some new lifestyle changes that are going to be even more restrictive – the biggest being eating red meat only twice a week and fried food –- you know all the stuff that tastes good like fries, bacon, chicken to once every 6 weeks.
Let me repeat that again: I can only eat KFC “once” every “six” weeks (the irony!!!)
But how?! Just looking at the picture makes me want is even more…
Now my wife’s favorite line - “If you want to live... stay away from the bucket”