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Heart Attack!

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Not me - but my darling Himself had one. Friday night. Or Saturday morning rather, about 4 a.m. he woke me. He was in pain and it wouldn't go away. This, alas, is heart attack #2. I didn't hesitate - but was up and dressing within seconds.

I must say - if you have to have a heart attack, 4 a.m. is probably a good time - there's no traffic on the roads so you can drive fast, there's nobody in the ER waiting room so you won't pick up germs or have to wait ... not that people having heart attacks are made to wait in ERs anyway - but it's nice to be breezed on through. We are lucky in that our local hospital has a crackerjack cardiac ER team - though this is a tiny rural hospital and they don't actually do heart surgeries. They have a helipad and there is a medical transport system too. But they got him on prep meds before he left our local hospital and his cardiologist was waiting for him at the ER in the bigger city hospital 37 minutes away.

Even more wonderful - I had forgotten that a cousin of ours is on staff in the ER at the city hospital - and she was there waiting for me when I got there - quite a bit more than 37 minutes later. I was slower not just because I didn't have a siren, flashing red lights nor the skill to drive faster than the speed limit. I also had to get a cell phone. I'm not much of a phone caller. I am easy to find in one of two places - at home or at work. My life isn't a cliff-hanger life that needs instant access. My only child is grown. Good news can wait. Bad news will keep hammering at my door till I finally answer. And I have never liked using a telephone ... period. Even when I was a teen I didn't like to talk on the phone.

but I needed one yesterday. So before I left to follow the ambulance I went to our local Walmart. I said to the girl at the electronics department "My husband is on his way to Richmond for heart surgery - I need a phone - I don't want to spend a lot - can you help me?"

Oh boy. Could she ever. With the most tender manner, with gentle but sincere expressions of sympathy, she took me over to the rack, picked out the $15 flip phone, suggested I get the unlimited minutes card, opened the box, set up the phone and handed me my security code and new phone number while I stood at the check out counter. I was set to go.

Yes. I am sending a letter to the store manager AND to Walmart headquarters. This is outstanding service. She deserves to have her great big heart recognized.

And DID you know McDonalds has an egg WHITE mcMuffin? only 240 calories! Yeah. Me neither. I'd already scooped up a bag of apples and a cluster of (thank God) ripe bananas in Walmart. All I needed was some protein.

At the Bigger City Hospital, while the ER registration people were trying to find out where my husband was, the door flew open and out strode my cousin Mary Stewart - who works in that hospital's ER! I'd forgotten. She'd already been in to hug Himself and now she was on the look-out for me. Talk about comfort. whew! It was as if ... now I knew MS was on hand everything was going to be alright.

And in fact, everything was alright - considering it was a heart attack. The staff was tender - I know - they're trained to be - but I still appreciate it SO MUCH. And the wait was not too long. And Himself was awake enough for me to hug and kiss both before he went in and as they wheeled him out of surgery. He was pretty dopey. He'd had a LOT of morphine. But he knew me and was not frightened. And the hour passed with me in the waiting room trying to figure out how to use the phone. And then using it. And calling loved ones, including some other medical cousins who were ready to rally troops if anything was needed.

And beloved son and brand spanking new daughter-in-law scrubbed their honeymoon plans and got on the highway north. They're sleeping upstairs as I type.

And the prognosis is good for my own darling Himself. He will be moved into a regular room today. He'll be walking. He'll likely come home on Christmas eve - and yes. we will have a tree.
Life is good - especially when it is your loved one and it's spared.

So now it's time to talk about me. emoticon and my eating emoticon
Interestingly, I was never really very hungry. I also didn't drink any water. When I go back today I will take water with me because I can NOT drink city water with it's essence of Chlorine, making my mouth turn down in distaste whenever I walk past a water fountain. I had no coffee. I didn't eat anything at all till well into the afternoon, after I'd tucked Himself in bed after lunch. By then, though, adrenaline was mostly what was keeping me going - and that meant I craved sugar. S U G A R. - well - and starch. So I stopped at the good grocery store that's on the way home - the one with the sushi chef - and picked up some California rolls. But what I wanted was gooey sugar. I wanted something rich; something that spoke Mama Loves You. I didn't want a package of 12 something gooey sugary mama-loves-you. I just wanted one. Neither did I want something ordinary - no Oreos for me. I poked about the store looking for a single item - but in all the time I hung in front of the bakery counter, not a single employee offered to help me.

Now - ordinarily I would call this bad customer service. but the truth is - gooeysugarmama-loves-you food was probably the WORST thing I could put into my system right then. The crash that would follow would be exhausting. so the Healthy Eating Fairy must have been fluttering around keeping all the bakery staff away. emoticon

I contented myself with the promise of getting ice cream at Food Lion when I got back to my own little rural town. Which I did. And I ate. But only 1 cup of reduced fat stuff. Not enough to wrench my blood system out of whack. I did flutter about the rest of the day - called Himself a couple of times. Called family members. Cleaned the house. Petted the dogs. took a hot bath. I was in bed by 10 o'clock after a most exhausting day. I was asleep by 10:01. I never even heard the kids when they got in.

And so. And so our holiday plans have shifted a good bit - but in the long run - they are improved. If this heart attack was on its way (and it was) I'm glad it happened the way it did - with lots of fast care ready to step up and fix things. Nothing could more swiftly take me out of the food indulgence mood than watching a loved one have a heart attack - hearing about his clogged artery, knowing that egg nog, standing rib roast and chocolate mouse are probably not going to help any of us. 100% of the men in my husband's family have some form of heart disease - and since I have a son - I really don't need to help his heart clog up either, with heavy foods - even Just For The Day.

The Haile family has been truly blessed - even the poor patient - because we dodged this particular bullet and I think we'll better armed against any others lurking up ahead.

Hug your loved ones close today. Put aside petty issues. Settle the big ones. Know that - beyond anything else in your life - loved ones are the most precious of all.

And here is a hug from me too. emoticon
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