Dear Dad – Wanda in the Hospital too

Hi again dad.  I didn’t think I would be writing to you so soon but as I was visiting mom in her hospital room, I got a call from aunt Puddin.  She said  your daughter, Wanda, called the EMS and is on her way to the hospital in Seguin.  She has been having heart issues for a long time and had a stent put in a few months ago.  She kept having fast heartbeat problems and finally went to the hospital.   I’m betting she will need a pacemaker too.

I am kind of partly in shock and mostly just don’t know what I am supposed to do.  What do normal people do when their mom and sister are in the hospital?  I’m just kind of keeping in touch, visiting and keeping on as best I can.

I guess heart problems run in the family on both sides.  I guess Jody and I are doomed.  So far I am doing well since we caught it in time and I’ve changed my eating lifestyle to keep my cholesterol down.  I should be OK as far as heart disease but who knows if I’ll end up with major heart rate issues.  I had an “Extra” heartbeat issue that medication seems to be controlling pretty well.  Hope it stays in check.

I’m not planning on living a long life.  If I can hang in there until I make it to 70 and stay relatively healthy then I’ll count that as a win.  That’s long enough anyway.  By that time I will have accomplished all my earthly goals anyway and will just be waiting.

Keep Mom and Wanda in your thoughts if you are able.

UPDATE:

Wanda is back home now.  There were no major symptoms when she got to the hospital.  She has been having the issue for a long time so she will go to the doctor and wear a heart monitor for 24 hours to get a snapshot of the issue.

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Dear Dad – Mom In Hospital

Hi Dad.

Just wanted to let you know that Mom is in the hospital.  On Tuesday, July 3rd, she called me at work that morning and told me she thought she was having a stroke.  The EMS was just arriving and took her to the hospital.  I took the rest of the day off and met her at the Methodist Hospital.

It was a mild stroke.  She was feeling fine other than having trouble walking and writing.  Her lip and fingers were tingling.  They had her on a heart monitor and soon found out that she was having Atrial Fibrillation, a high speed beating of the upper chamber of the heart.  This can cause blood to pool in the chamber and cause clots that can go to the brain.  This was obviously the cause of the stroke.  She doesn’t feel it when it is happening so it may have been happening for quite some time.

When it starts, it goes on for quite a while so the doctors decided to give her a pacemaker.  The surgery went quickly and smoothly and she felt fine afterwards.  We were hoping all would be well now but it keeps happening even with the pacemaker.  She says they are making adjustments to it so it will be more effective.

In the meantime, she has been in the hospital for five days now and is getting tired of being there but it may be best for her to stay until they get it under control.  I’m wondering if they should do a cardiac ablation to destroy the node that causes the fast beating.  I guess that’s not out of the question.  I wonder how they can tell where it is.  A heart has multiple nodes as backup.

Once they get it figured out, she will go directly to rehab so they can help her with her walking.   She says she is walking better now as they help her from the bed to the restroom.  I’m thinking she will breeze through the rehab and be able to go back home pretty quickly.   Wanda said she could stay with her for a while to help her out.  That would be nice.  She needs to spend more time with Mom anyway.  I’m stuck at work all the time so I can’t be there all day.

Until they get the fibrillation under control I’m still worried.   She is in good spirits other than wanting to get out of there.  Lying in a bed all day isn’t as fun as you would think.  She is, otherwise, in great health so I think she could easily have a number of good years left.  If the fibrillation stops then she may not have another stroke again.  It’s putting up a fight though.  Keep your fingers crossed.

Puddin and Wanda will probably come to town and visit with her tomorrow.  I’ll meet them there.  Jody and his wife Margo have also been visiting her almost every day.

Love you Dad.  Wish you were here.

For anyone else reading this, I know you don’t care but thanks for caring enough to read it.

 

Weight Loss Reality

ftby

Being overweight is a major contributing factor to heart disease.  If you are eating so much that you are overweight then that means all that saturated fat is clogging your arteries as well as your thighs.

Some of the guys at the office are doing a weight loss challenge for the next few months and I find it interesting in the way they are going about it. Denial seems to be their main attack.

There is only one rule to weight control.  Diet and Exercise. It’s simple physics.  Energy In equals Energy Out.  Energy not used by exercise must be stored as fat.  There are no shortcuts or fad diets that will work if they violate the rule.

You can’t explain it to people either because they don’t want to listen.  They are convinced that if they cut out carbs then they will lose weight.  Since meat is not carbs they think they can go wild with a plate full of it.

Cutting carbs is good because carbs turn to sugar and sugar is a major source of energy.  That’s good for a while but is not sustainable.  For your diet to be effective you have to cut all sources of energy. (Which is measured in calories.)

As you learned in school, A Calorie is the energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water through 1 °C.  Do you remember the experiment where you burned something under a beaker of water and measured the temperature increase?

A calorie is a calorie no matter where it comes from.  If you want to be serious about your diet and not violate any of the laws of physics, then cutting calories is the thing.  They guys here don’t want to believe that meat is full of calories and won’t listen to me.

Cutting carbs is a start but don’t think that will be the end. You have to continue to manage rest of your intake.  Great physicists like Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawking couldn’t violate the laws of physics so what makes you think you can do it?

Pay attention!  I’m trying to help you.

Light Therapy – Get Naked!

I had a little time to spare this afternoon before I have to rush off to a mid-day band concert so I decided to take a few minutes to get a little light therapy.

It wasn’t exactly sunny on this early March Sunday but you have to take what you can get.

I’ve been cooped up in an office all winter and haven’t experienced any sun in countless months.  A little light therapy can do wonders for your body and soul.  Take advantage of it when you can and feel the sun.  A little is good for you!

Get naked and let the sun wash away your anxiety.  I feel so much better now.

Do glasses make your eyes lazy?

glassesMy eyesight was awesome until I hit 40.  They warn you but you never expect it to happen to you.  Suddenly I was unable to read menus in restaurants and the small text on my phone. Begrudgingly I started to wear reading glasses which restored my close up vision to perfect sharpness.  My distance sight is still fine so I don’t wear them except for reading and computing.

It kept feeling like my vision was getting worse and worse.  Now I can’t see shit up close without glasses.   I was concerned that wearing reading glasses causes your eyes to get lazy and lose the muscle that keeps them in focus.  I read that it is not true but I’m beginning to wonder about that.

A few days ago I decided I would go without my glasses for a while and see what happens. At first I couldn’t see anything and had to strain my eyes.  After a few days it wasn’t so bad.  Now, the text on my monitor is still a bit blurry but I can manage fairly well without my glasses.  At times it doesn’t seem quite so bad.  There are still times when I need them but for the most part, I don’t have to feel blind without them.

I tend to think that the things I read on the internet are true.  You would expect to be able to believe what you see on reputable health sites.  I’m thinking not so much.

There’s no doubt that my vision without glasses is better now than it was when I relied on them.  I’m going to continue my experiment for another week at least.  So far so good.

 

“No vegetables, Please.”

Wow!  It’s amazing what you will see when you’re out in the public.  Even more so in a restaurant.

Today I was having lunch in a Chinese restaurant when I overheard someone at another table ordering.

He actually ordered a dish and said, “No vegetables.”

This man obviously eats meat only and never touches vegetables.  That’s sad.  He gonna die!  Goodbye vegetables, hello heart disease.

I know.. I shouldn’t judge others but…Damn!  Really?

 

Meatface

After my coronary artery stents were put in, I was told outright by the doctor, “You need to be a vegetarian!”

There’s no doubt the American Diet is a death sentence.  High in saturated fat and cholesterol, it’s not surprising that 610,000 people die of heart disease every year.  We eat the worst crap and deny any ill effects while silently, plaque builds up in your arteries until you turn 48 and die.

I’ve taken it seriously and eat a low fat diet every day.  The daily recommended intake of saturated fats is 13 grams.  I try to keep my intake in the 0-5 mg range.  Heat disease is reversible if you are serious about it.  Many days I can do zero by eating only vegetables and maybe tofu.   That doesn’t mean I don’t splurge occasionally for those special occasions.

Minimizing sodium helps keep your blood pressure down which is also very important to help prevent stretching damage to your arteries.

Something I’ve run into quite often when I order food is “Meatface?.  That face people make when I tell them to hold the meat or substitute something else.  Just yesterday I was at Subway to have a veggie delight sandwich.  The girl making the sandwich asked me if the Veggie Delight was good.  Apparently she hasn’t tried one because when I told her that you don’t even notice the meat is missing, she made the face I’ve see so many times.  It’s a look of revulsion like eating a sandwich without meat is some kind of horrible taboo.  I realize that not eating meat takes some time to get used to but it still amazes me that people have such a reaction.

There was a time, back in the early 1900s and before, where meat was not so available or affordable.  People only ate meat once or twice a week if at all.  It was normal.  Funny how things have changed.  The thought of a meal without meat is outlandish.  You must be some kind of alien from another planet. People don’t even know how to eat a no-meat meal.

It’s not going to change anytime soon and it’s a good thing we have statins and blood pressure medication to make up the difference in our poor eating habits.  Without them 48 would be our age limit.  If your doctor says to take cholesterol and blood pressure medication then you had better do it if you plan to continue eating meat.  I doubt you will understand until you have your first and possibly last heart attack.

You may think you are eating a healthy diet now but if you are eating meat three times a day then you are possibly three times over the limit for saturated fat.

Eating right is very important. Wake up!!!  You’re doing it wrong.