Did you know that September is “Cholesterol Awareness Month”? O, yeah, I’m aware!
The service mark for the American Heart Association is: Learn and Live. I mull this over. I’m mulling over a lot of things lately. You know I realized tonight that I never thought my husband could/would/might die. Really… ever. I’m fairly sure I’ve been thinking it would be me to go first – still probably will be, by the way, though I’ve known there was a very strong possibility that my husband would have a heart attack or stroke or both. In fact, if he followed family health patterns, a heart attack was absolutely, positively guaranteed to happen. It happened.
Since heart disease is common on both sides of both of our families, it was actually quite foolish for me to continue cooking and serving in the manner I have for the last nearly 30 years. I’m troubled tonight by the fact that I have been pretty cavalier about health and food preparation and serving. O, I’ve been working at many healthful choices… but that really doesn’t mean much when there are an equal number of very unhealthy choices made, prepared and presented every day. I’ll write more on this another time.
There’s nothing like a brush with something to force action. It doesn’t matter what it is, when you have a brush with something, you act – or react. You get stopped by an officer for speeding — and if you only get a warning, in the future you watch your driving around officers. If you get a ticket, you watch your driving around speed traps. If you get a substantial fine, you not only watch for officers and speed traps, you watch your own actions… prevention. Same with cooking without instructions or putting together “some assembly required” objects… ruin things a few times and you begin to realize there must be some value in following instructions and that instructions do serve a vital purpose.
So, learn and live.
This isn’t going to be a new nauseating mantra, but we do need to make some more changes. The last thing I (or my husband) want to do is to become an annoying clanging cymbal… you know the clanging symbol or the noise of the newly reformed. Well, and especially since we’ve got so far to go and have a pretty pitiful reputation of making some rather unhealthy food choices. I mean, I’m pretty sure a Starbucks grande mocha isn’t on the ‘heart healthy’ menu. Or peanut M&M’s, either.
If you’ve got risk factors, you’ve got a few choices. Actually, you’ve got few choices. Do nothing; wait and see what happens — but actually you’ll likely make one of two choices. The first is to be faithful, live well, eat well, exercise well, sleep well, work at reducing stress and inflammation and then see what happens in your healthy so-far-as-it-depends-on-you life — or, live poorly, don’t eat well, don’t exercise, don’t sleep well, don’t seek to reduce stress and inflammation and watch the mounting unintended consequences of an unhealthy life take you in directions you would never have imagined.
Yesterday as I sat in the waiting room –that first meeting of the new club I’d just joined, I listened to a surgeon tell me to help my husband. He then went on to tell me my husband needed to do three things:
diet, exercise and eliminate stress.”
I was sort of glad I had left my coffee cup in the room where I’d been waiting previously. I’d ordered it from the coffee stand in the hospital lobby. “Whipped cream on that?” “No, thank you… my husband just had a heart attack.” I was thinking… I need to turn over a new leaf. Well, actually I need to dig up a whole big tree.