Wednesday, September 6, 2017

When Life Does "The Thing" And Freaks You Out

There are certain things in life that happen to people, that you always hope and pray will never happen to you. Never. As in... never ever ever.

One of those things is "that phone call" at some ungodly hour where most normal people are sleeping but... someone isn't, because someone you love dearly is in distress, and you're getting a phone call about it.   That was my house last Tuesday morning. I think it was around 5:30-ish?  It could have been earlier, I'm not really sure. I just heard it ringing, realized it was still an ungodly hour and braced myself for whatever the message was about to me, when I picked up.

"There is no easy way to say this, but Kev has had a heart attack and he's in ICU".  Said the voice on the other end of the line. Immediately my brain went into auto-pilot.  

When, where, how, how bad, which hospital, what floor? All I needed were the facts, as I was getting dressed while asking and hearing the answers. In the back of my mind and from the deepest place in my heart I kept hearing a voice that sounded oddly like my own: "please Lord, let him live, please Lord, let him live".  He answered that plea, and indeed did let him live. The next 4 days were kind of blur, but they included numerous trips down the freeway, a lot of crying, a lot of hugging, a lot of praying, a lot of conversations that started with "what if..."  and a lot of drive-thru dinners. To say it was an extreme emotional rollercoaster is truly the understatement of the decade. For our family, it was a massive face-plant into a concrete wall. 

By His grace and mercy, God chose to bring Kev back from a potential deadly situation and place him in the care of some brilliant and wonderful cardiac experts. He was released a few days later and he's been home recovering for the last 5 days.

For those regular readers, you already know I once had a crash course in malignant melanoma and became a sort of medical expert on signs, symptoms and treatments, and in this case, it's sort of the same thing. It's what you do for those you love - you consume every word, every definition, every potential side affect of every drug, whether you can pronounce the name of the drug or not. 

I've spent the last several days learning all about good cholesterol, bad cholesterol, stents, blood thinners, beta blockers, symptoms, side affects, cardiac rehab, stress tests, and about a hundred other things I'm not even thinking about right now.

Interestingly enough, one of the most important things I've learned in the last week is just how critically important nutrition is, for those with heart disease.  Good nutrition and a healthy, balanced eating schedule is so important, it ranks right up there with any and all prescription meds and taking them on time every day.

It's no surprise to me and really shouldn't be to anyone else but as it turns out, natural, home cooked meals with fresh veggies and lean meats, poultry and fish,  fresh fruits and good old fashioned oatmeal, beans, nuts and seeds...  is still the very best thing for anyone, but especially those with heart disease.  Fast food & pre-packaged store bought trash? Yeah, both are a recipe for disaster. They always have been, no matter how convenient they are. At the end of the day, if they're contributing (and they are, trust me) to clogged arteries and potential heart attacks... they're not really all that convenient, are they?

Our family has done a fast and hard core 180 on the food issue. We've gutted the pantry, spice cupboard, fridge and freezer and literally going back to the basics. 

Thanks to the recipe section at the American Heart Association,  we're one family that has made the choice to dump the trash and eat clean, and healthy.   I've been posting some of the things we've been making and eating on my FB page here. 

Kev has a long way to go to get back to a genuinely healthy place, but him and I are both committed to seeing him get there, on every level.  Your prayers would most certainly be appreciated in our new journey.