Lessons of the Heart

12 Lead ECG EKG showing ST Elevation (STEMI), ...

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I’ve been going to Cardio Rehab with Rob on and off. Recovery from a heart attack is a family affair we are told though so far, I am it as far as the “family” part goes.

Unless we are counting all the forced walks we dragged Dee on over the summer.

I have seen only spouses in attendance at the various classes they offer, so I wonder why they simply don’t say “spouse” instead of “family”. In my mind, they are not interchangeable terms.

Today’s class went over the basics. Heart Attack 101. Anatomy. What can go wrong. What it feels like when it does. How to gauge pain and dose yourself with nitro. When to dial 911.

Mostly it reiterated what we’ve heard in several other classes:

You are now chronically ill with a disease that will technically never get better. Stabilize perhaps. But your days of claiming 100% health are behind you.

Heart attacks are qualifiers.

“I’m in great shape … for someone with a heart stent and known blockage.”

There will forever be the “but”. Though not necessarily the other shoe.

“Are you worried,” Rob asked me.

Not really. My husband is a keener after all – one of the reasons why he is doing so well and the absolute reason why the company doctor and the P.T. at Cardio Rehab won’t clear him for work until he finishes the program.

It wasn’t his bad habits that caused the heart attack. He doesn’t have many in terms of diet although he could have exercised more. No, it was the stress. He can’t do anything half-assed. Even if it’s something he could care less about, he treats all responsibilities and tasks under his jurisdiction more seriously than a heart attack.

I am not worried for some reason, and it’s not naively assuming we’ve dodged a bullet that can’t ricochet back at us. I am not that complacent or foolish. I just don’t see the point in dwelling on the what-if factor or the when/again possibility.

We’ve taken additional health steps. Reordered life a bit. Safe-guarded what we can. And that’s all anyone can do.

5 responses to “Lessons of the Heart

  1. Who’s to say that Rob won’t outlive all of us? He’s had a wake-up call and is making changes that may lengthen and improve his life. The next step is to relax enough to enjoy it.

      • I’m doing very well at the moment, thanks. As someone who also has a “chronic illness” now, I know that all you can do is, well, all you can do. And there is really nothing you can do about what-ifs and when/agains, other than live each day now to the fullest, without getting *too* precious about it. I like the snuggle therapy evening – that’s the kind of stuff I’m talking about.

        Anyhow, since Rob and I end up sharing Archie’s dunce cap so often it seemed rude not to stop by, you know, just in case you were getting jealous… 😉

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