Friday, March 02, 2012

A Voice Crying Out in the Wilderness

Some of you poker players with knowledge of both the Old Testament and the New Testament may recognize my reference to Isaiah and John the Baptist. Not to imply that I am some sort of prophet or anything, but I do see that I can serve a purpose for those people who know that they are are the road to medical problems but, like I used to be, are not doing the things they need to do in order to stay away from dire consequences.

In case you are a more recent reader of this blog, please note that almost six months ago I had a mild heart attack. I chronicled some information about it in three blog posts last September. I will not rehash all the details from the past six months here, but please know that I have changed my eating habits, exercise regularly, and have lost in the area of 28 pounds. I feel great.

Several of my blogger friends, either in part spurred on by my story or just by a desire to improve their lives, have been looking at ways to change their diets and get more exercise. More power to you. But today I wanted to write a little bit more about why it is so important to get off your duff and do what you need to do.

Fear is a great motivator. There have been a few times in my life when I thought my life was in danger, usually based on something stupid I had done when driving my car. However, those times were usually due to a moment of carelessness and were quickly gone. Being ready to undergo a hospital procedure and being told there is a small percentage chance that you could die during the procedure is certainly frightening, especially since you have absolutely no control over anything at that point.

In the weeks after my procedure, there was fear the first times any chest or arm pains came. I began thinking "I am having a heart issue or is this no big deal?" Even if you are pretty sure it is nothing to be worried about, you begin to think that there is a chance that when you go to sleep, you might never wake up. Wonderful.

After several months had gone by, I was feeling pretty good about everything until the day when some chest pains returned. Although I had been working hard at exercising and dieting, there was still this creepy, nagging feeling that I could heading halfway down the grave. I saw my cardiologist, who allayed my fears. But it was still scary.

Side Effects - Physical
I have always been a person who prefers not to take any medication unless necessary. I had to adjust to my morning pills -- three new ones prescribed by my cardiologist, one I had already been taking, plus aspirin, a multi-vitamin, and a fish oil pill. Fortunately, I only have to take one in the evening.

Because of my current medication I now bruise easily. It sucks knowing that almost anytime you hit into anything or anything hits you, the result will be a nasty bruise. I have been pretty fortunate to not have much else in the way of side effects except that I occasionally get dizzy from a head rush if I am sitting or laying down and get up too fast.

Side Effects - Psychological
Outside of the fear I already mentioned, one thing that has definitely changed in my life is that for the first time I think I am actually beginning to understand the concept of death. Having this scare has caused my to re-evaluate my priorities and rethink some of the ways I had thought for many years. I feel fortunate that my background in psychology and my personality have allowed me to absorb this all, but I shudder to think what it could have done if I was not so well grounded in things in my life.

More than anything else, perhaps, I have felt that for being a pretty bright guy, I was unbelievably stupid and obtuse. I even joked around with co-workers, telling them that I was a prime candidate for a stroke or heart attack. Of course, I was able to joke about it because I thought it would never happen to me because ... well ... because it just wouldn't happen to me. What a chump I was. I could have prevented this if I had taken it all more seriously.

Lesson for Today
Since I did begin with biblical references, it seems only fitting that there should be some type of  learning or spiritual objective to this post. I think that I can sum things up pretty succinctly:

1) Don't be a chump like me and think that it won't happen to you. It just might. Do what you need to do now!
2) Although we often hear and say that the most important thing is our health, sometimes we do not give our health it's due until we have to. I have changed -- I believe! I believe!
3) If you really want to do some serious reflection on your life, have a medical scare. You will be surprised at what you will learn and how it will change the way you think.

My best to everyone. Viva la vida!


Blogger SirFWALGMan said...

oooh I can't wait to accidentally bump you in Vegas and see you turn purple!!!

2:22 PM  
Blogger lightning36 said...

Just because I bruise easily now doesn't mean that I would not just kick the living shit outta you, Waffles.

Ahhh ... I feel much better now. : o )

2:27 PM  
Blogger Cranky said...

change is very hard. Even with a heart attack, some folks don't change their ways. Now, maintaining the changes is the next big challenge!

3:28 PM  

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