Looks Like We Made It

My sister will get a big kick out of this: in the process of cooking out lately, I retrieved our bright red cafeteria-style cookout plates, which Nicole an I bought at Dillards in Lawton, Oklahoma,  for Mom and Dad for Christmas in 1983.
My sister will get a big kick out of this: in the process of cooking out lately, I retrieved our bright red cafeteria-style cookout plates, which Nicole an I bought at Dillards in Lawton, Oklahoma, for Mom and Dad for Christmas in 1983.

Cue Barry Manilow dramatic key change… “Looks like we made it!”

Made it? Made what? Well, my mom had her first heart attack when she was 51. It was a bitter cold winter day in Chicago and she and Dad were just finishing teaching their two week course in management for the Federal Aviation Administration. Dad was already back at the hotel. Mom was just about to dismiss class when she was gripped with a blinding sub-sternal chest pain. “Class dismissed,” she managed to say. Then she managed to drag herself up a flight of stairs, out to her rented car. When she told me this story, she said in the car she suddenly felt super-nauseous, so she opened the door, hoping the cold would help, but it didn’t. Finally she managed to drive to the hotel and lie down. Dad comforted her, but neither of them wanted her to be having a heart attack, so despite very clear signs and symptoms, and her background in medical care, she didn’t seek medical care for six months. When she finally did, her cardiologist told her, “Yes, you had a heart attack.”

My point? Today I turn 52, so I am out of the woods. No heart attack for me!

I know, I know. But consider this: I am more physically active than my parents by a factor of about a drillion, I eat healthier than my parents by a factor of about a grillion, and I have been under a doctor’s care with regard to my heart health for many years. I personally witnessed my wife have a heart attack, a pain which she described on a scale from 0 to 10 as “23,” so I am highly motivated to stay healthy.

One thing I did to celebrate my birthday was to wear this swordfish shirt my parents gave me 20 years ago. Festive, no?
One thing I did to celebrate my birthday was to wear this swordfish shirt my parents gave me 20 years ago. Festive, no?
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5 Comments

  1. The cafeteria trays! Best gift we ever gave them.

    My take-away from mom’s first heart attack: if you feel like you’re having one, just lay down. You’ll be fine and won’t need to see a doctor….right?

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  2. My friend Steve died last year at the age of 47 because he ignored his heart attack symptoms for several weeks. I’m glad your mom lived through it. Happy birthday.

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  3. * As shirts go, that is one of the swordfishiest I’ve ever seen.

    * Did you parents teach many courses for the FAA? My Dad took several, in various cities. He might have been in one of them.

    * I’m fortunate enough to still have both parents (and one grandparent) still living, which I suppose says something good about my possibilities. But if I’ve learned anything in my short time on this planet, it’s that there are no guarantees. I’ve seen too many leave us unexpectedly and seemingly “before their time”. I will cherish every moment I have here with you wonderful people. :-)

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