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”

36 comments:

SciFi Dad said...

That's scary shit. I went through something similar (chest pains of unidentifiable origin) last year, and it turned out to be stress.

Glad you're on the mend. Sorry to hear about the bucket.

Awesome Mom said...

I am glad you are ok! It is really scary to realize that you are getting older and your health is not what it used to be. That is why I really freaked out when I found out that I had gestational diabetes. Yeah it is only temporary but it also gives me a greater chance of developing it later. I am going to have to carefully watch my diet if I want to avoid it and that really sucks but will be worth it.

for a different kind of girl said...

Glad you're ok. It's scary being a grown up. Perhaps you should make posters of your headshot (or yours and Lionel's) and distribute them to every KFC within a 50 mile radius. Put one of those red slashes through it and the word "DON'T" across the top. Cheap medical insurance!

iVegasFamily said...

That would freak me out. You have life insurance, right?

pixie said...

You give a whole new meaning to "kicking the bucket"!
Take care!

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

I am glad you are okay. I am sorry about the chicken restriction.

creative-type dad said...

for a different kind of girl -- That's funny! Don't give the wife any ideas.

pixie -- TRUE!!! How could I have not come up with that line...

Idaho Dad said...

Wow, glad to hear you're okay.

I suggest watching one of those documentaries about how chickens are raised in those crowded, dirty factories. Might just put you right off KFC forever.

spain dad said...

My wife is one of the healthiest eaters I know, and she still has higher blood pressure than I do. It doe seem unfair how some people can try so hard to eat right and exercise, but still have health problems.

If it's any help, I stopped cooking meat at home about ten years ago. I remember the first 2-3 months I felt like something was missing when I made meals without meat, but ever since then, I haven't missed meat at all. I love the food we make.

Otter Thomas said...

Glad that you're ok. Being from the south I share your affinity of all things fried but you better lay off. I think it is for a good cause.

Chief Family Officer said...

I've had my own scare and I think the terror was all the more worse because I know that with my amazing husband and kids, the best is yet to come. And the prospect of losing it was nearly paralyzing. I'm SO glad that you are okay ... just listen to your wife and stay away from the bucket!

Beverly said...

Hope you're doing better. Yikes. Your story will motivate me to kick my husband's butt to have a checkup, long overdue. Seriously. If he died at the same age that his father died (of heart disease), our youngest child would only be 13. I have done the math.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Glad you're okay.

Having it less will make you love it more. I only eat fried chicken a few times a year, and when I do, it's an EVENT.

Beck said...

GEESH! I'm glad you're okay!
A few years ago, I had an infection that spread to my heart and nearly died and WOW, the changes that makes in a person afterwards. I'm sorry you had to go through it.

Laura said...

So sorry to hear about your health scare - but I'm very glad all is well and you are doing OK.

I don't know if this helps, but Nigella Lawson has a recipe for some yummy chicken nuggets on the the Food Network site that are "breaded" with Ritz crackers. They aren't bad for you if you bake them instead of fry. I make big batches and freeze for my little nugget lover. I know they don't come in a bucket, but they may make visiting KFC not so often a little less painful.

Wishing you the best!

kristen said...

Glad you're all right! I had some serious heart palpations for several weeks and finally went to the doc, did the EKG and all and turns out it was nothing really, just something my heart does every so often, and once I found out it wasn't a problem it mostly went away. Except when I drink a lot of coffee. Like a lot. Like when you eat a bucket of extra crispy. That kind of a lot.

Sasparilla Sue said...

Well, they say absence makes the heart grow fonder, I guess in your case it also makes it grow stronger. Glad you're alright!

MetroDad said...

I totally share your pain. I had a similar scare two years ago and it rocked my world. Major life changes ensued. I've slipped a little lately and am attempting to find a balance between being vigilant about my health and enjoying life.

After all, a life without fried chicken is not a life I'm sure I want to live. Go Popeyes!

nonlineargirl said...

I am glad to hear that you are not in imminent danger and are willing to make changes to keep yourself healthy.

I am sorry that this was not just a very clever attempt by your wife to make you so happy that you would MAKE it to your birthday that you would not expect any gifts.

Anonymous said...

long time lurker, first time poster..i'm glad that you're ok...things like that always scares me as i'm a hypochondriac...yikes...but thank goodness you listened to the wifey and got your checkup...what symptoms did you have?

Darren said...

I guess that's it. KFC is headed for chapter 7.

I'm glad that all turned out well. You've reminded us all what we could lose if we don't take care of ourselves.

P.S. Don't be an enabler and tell the hypochondriac up above what your symptoms were. And did anyone bail out the squirrel?

creative-type dad said...

Darren -- Last I heard, the kids are having a bail-out bake sale for the squirrel.

Anonymous -- The majority of the symptoms were chest pains. They gradually became more painful to the point of having to stop whatever I was doing.

Laura -- Thanks! Those do look good, but I think the buttermilk and frying is going to prevent me from those too.

Idaho Dad -- I've seen some of those. I'm not entirely convinced as those documentaries show only the extreme to make a point about banning consumption of any animal and virtues of vegetarianism.
I'm all for eating animals.

Beverly -- You should urge him to get checked out. Usually us guys need the pestering...(only on these rare occasions!)

spain dad -- The ironic part is, I didn't eat red meat for nearly 13 years. But that changed when my daughter was born. I didn't want to have a kids who was skewed by my habits and become a picky eater. In defense, I LOVE meat now, but only the good stuff. It's not like I got out and eat philly cheese steaks every day.

Artist Unplugged said...

I'm 'dancing on the ceiling' that you are alright, what a scare! Thank goodness you have a nagging wife, came in REAL handy! (ha)

Whit said...

That's how the Col. went teats up. I don't know if that's true but I've always wanted to use that line on here.

I'm glad you're okay. That's a freaking scare.

I suppose my wife and I should have that conversation, too.

Laura said...

Use lowfat or fatfree buttermilk - and bake them instead of fry. I'm just here to help!

Steph said...

Oh dear. So glad you are okay, but how terribly frightening...even more so because of your little girl, I'm sure. I had a scare myself a few years ago (not heart), and the thought of having to leave my kids...horrible. They would be fine, of course...it's my missing out on their lives that seemed unthinkable.

Take care of yourself.

Dad Stuff said...

Very scary. It sure brings perspective though.
I'm glad you're feeling better. Keep it that way.

Amrita said...

Sorry to hear about this Tony.

Take and just restrict your diet, maybe veggie would help. Its all about diet , exercise and medication and check ups. You 'll live very long.

People from both sides of my family have had hart disease. We are mostly vegetarians and aviod redmeat. Take care.

chanchow said...

Glad to read that you made it through. Life throws some scary curve balls. A+ to you and yours.

carrie said...

I'm glad you're okay. :)

kittenpie said...

That's a scary thing, Tony - and it is hard to combat genetics, that's for sure. I have an unle who eats immacualtelyand runs miles in an attempt, but has had a few minor vvents, like a stent here and a small aneurysm there. He's doing well, though, and I think has outlived his dad, so it all helps, for sure.

Perhaps between your standing dates with the Colonel, you could fashion some sort of faux chicken from tofu and refried bean paste?

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Ruth Dynamite said...

I think Col. Sanders needs to make a special new menu just for you.

Glad you're OK.

creative-type dad said...

Ruth Dynamite -- Baked spicy popcorn chicken? I can live with that.

kittenpie -- I think faux chicken from tofu and refried bean paste would kill me before the real stuff does.

The Real Mother Hen said...

That's scary dude. I can't even be funny now after reading this as I contemplate on life and how short it could be.

radioactive girl said...

I'm glad you are ok. I remember when I found out I had cancer I was pissed because I do so much to take care of myself. I wouldn't wish cancer on anyone, but felt like it should have gone to someone who didn't work out, ate less healthy, whatever and not me.