Heart Attack Journal – Week 2

Kezar and me

So, I had a heart attack, and this is my second weekend since it happened. It is hard to believe that two weeks ago I was in a hospital room laying on a bed that moved underneath me of its own accord, inflating and deflating and hissing all the time. I made it through the heart attack, the loss of chest hair from having all those monitor pads yanked off me when I left, and everything else that goes with a hospital stay. You can read about my heart attack experience here, and see my week 1 entry here.

Let’s talk about week 2, though.

A few things have happened in my second week. Some are positive, some less so. I’ll start with the less-than-positive things because I am trying hard to be a more upbeat person and I think that ending on a high note sounds like the way to go.

The Bad
I had a setback on my walking this week. I got up to doing a whole lap around the block and then some, but then backslid into having a bit of light-headed effects going on. Being out for a walk and starting to feel dizzy is not a comforting experience. When it happened I would stop to rest, try to breathe normally, and if necessary I would head back to the house to sit. The sitting outcome happened more than I had hoped for. Still, I am undaunted and keep trying to get out and walk. It is getting colder around here and I need to keep working on my endurance so I can exercise indoors on an elliptical machine for the winter.

Also, Halloween hit this past week. I partook of more candy than I probably should have, and as such I am mostly holding steady on my weight (though down a few tenths of a pound). I had wanted to drop more weight at a faster speed, but my willpower gave out when all that chocolate was just sitting there in its bowl. I am pretty sure the chocolate has some kind of evil mind-control powers, as it called to me and I zombie-walked over to it. All joking aside, it was weird to feel so powerless against the pull of sugar. I’m developing an appreciation for the theory that sugar can be addictive.

The Good
I did drop a tiny bit of weight today. Every victory is a good one, even the tiny accomplishments. I am back on plan with my eating and we got rid of all the candy in the house so there would be no more temptation / choco-mind-control.

I have a walking buddy for the week. His name is Kezar. He is my sister-in-law’s dog, and while they are on a trip we are dog-sitting. Kezar is just about the coolest dog ever. He is gentle, sweet, loving, and well-behaved. He is also playful and energetic, and tons of fun to pet and play fetch with. He is also well-behaved on walks and friendly to passersby. Kezar is a Labradoodle, a mix of a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle. That gives a lot of advantages but the key one is that he does not set off my pet dander allergy.

Kezar, My Walking Buddy

Kezar, My Walking Buddy

My meds have changed this week. Instead of needing to take one of my pills three times a day I have an extended release version. That means I got to turn off the multiple daily alarms in my cell phone and can now just take all my pills when I get up even if that is not precisely the same time each day. It’s a ton more convenient, and if you need to take medications for post heart-attack care (or for any reason) consider asking your doctor if you can get a once-daily version of your pills.

Support continues to roll in from friends and family.

My sister got mad at me for not being readily available by cell phone for texting purposes. I’m sort of old-school about that and don’t keep my phone handy at all times, nor do I make it my problem to be instantly available when people text. I think I know why my sister got mad, though. It’s because she loves me. My having had a heart attack probably scared her pretty badly and I think she wants to be able to check in with me more readily than ever, now. That’s a big deal to me as we were out of touch for a long time and I am so grateful to have my sister in my life. I have promised myself to try to be more available to her via text so that she will not have to worry about me as much. I am lucky to have a sibling who cares about me.

I’ve learned a bit about my neighborhood from being on walks. It’s great to see families outside together, to notice details about local properties like the nice landscaping around some of the houses, or just to enjoy the experience of being outdoors. I don’t get out much, and have become very solitary over the past few years, so I am glad I can at least make it around my block.

My outlook
While I worry about my health more than ever I feel good to have plans to follow for making things better. I appreciate the outpouring of positive wishes from all corners. It gives me hope and motivates me to want to stick around this world for a long time to come. I hope to write a new entry in this journal each week to chronicle things, as it helps me to organize my thoughts and decompress. It’s been suggested to me that my writing might be helpful to others, and if so, that is great. It would be a good thing to have done something positive for other people with these articles.

Onward and upward, as they say.

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10 Responses to “Heart Attack Journal – Week 2”

  1. Dave C says:

    Keep it up, Drew. The worry will be there for quite a while (and probably never go away completely – it hasn’t for me yet), but don’t let it take over.

    All this has of course made me think about myself and it is reminding me that I have let myself get comfortable and slip back into some old bad habits (Halloween chocolate is evil). Time to get all the way back onto the program.

  2. Bob says:

    I have gone through several live-saving surgeries in my time. Never a heart attack. But similar life-altering situations. For me, every time, I found comfort in some very simple facts – I’m here. Right now. Check me out, yo. I made it here. That wasn’t easy. But I did it. :) And now I am taking I guess what is best called baby steps. Every day I am getting better because even my setbacks are a reminder that I just need to put forth more effort, and that reminds me I’m alive – a place I wasn’t so sure I would be, several times. So to Life, to God, to my friends, and especially my enemies, I say the following – bring it on. My back – it doesn’t break so easily. So let’s wake up tomorrow and see what dance we shall do. :) I applaud your spirit!

    • Andrew says:

      Thanks Bob. I really get the baby steps thing – sometimes I try hard and then make a bonehead move. It’s frustrating, but I have to keep working at it even if the accomplishments are little ones.

      • Bob says:

        …Exactly. I remember what it was like just taking my first steps…the first time I could again go to the bathroom on my own…and now here I am. Jogging again. Okay that’s a damn lie but I COULD jog again, and it was all those baby steps that got me here. And I really should go jogging. :)

  3. Deena says:

    Drew, have you considered getting one of those walkers with a seat for when you go for walks? That way you can stop and rest when you get tired. I am glad your doing better. Just take one day at a time, that’s all you can do.

    Sincerely,
    Deena Chambers Holman

    • Andrew says:

      No. It’s a thought, but my fatigue level has not been that bad that I feel the need for a support device like a walker – yet. If that kind of thing becomes important I might get a nice-looking cane first, and see how I do with it.

  4. Vicki BaconThomas says:

    Hi Drew,

    Keep up the good work. It’s hard to get motivated, even when you know it’s the right thing. I, like you, think sugar is evil. lol Seriously, I know that I’m addicted to it and have to fight that addiction forever. Not easy. Hang in there and follow those instructions so you and Vicky can be together for a long, long time!

    Best,
    Vicki

    • Andrew says:

      Thanks for the positive thoughts! It is a tough set of habits to form (and a tough set of old ones to break) but it is worth it to get the result I want. :)

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