Some who know me are aware of the following and some are not. For those who are not I will tell the story. For the rest, I apologize for being redundant and boring. This past Wednesday I was feeling morose after reading of the death of the brother of an acquaintance of mine. In addition to that, it seemed as if there had been a rash of deaths of people I know or know of. In that mood, I wrote the following comment on a Facebook post: “As we grow older and see more and more often the passing of family, friends, and acquaintances, we realize our own mortality and how precious the gift of life is. Make everyday count.” It turns out the comment was somewhat prophetic as only a few short hours later I found myself riding in the back of an ambulance, on my way to the hospital, after experiencing a mild heart attack.
I guess it was a good news/bad news scenario. The good news was it was mild, the bad news was, it was a heart attack. Suddenly there was new meaning to me for the old expression “serious as a heart attack. The next several days are somewhat of a blur with a series of tests, blood lettings, and interrupted sleep. All this was culminated with an angiogram and the insertion of a stent to relieve an 80% blockage. It was a comfort to know I was in Christ Hospital which to my knowledge is one of the top-rated cardiac care hospitals in the country. The staff there treated me exceptionally well and did much to ease my fears. I know the term mild heart attack never sound like much, until you are the recipient of this mildness. Your perspective then changes. As unimpressive as the event may be, to me it is a life changing experience. I now need to reevaluate my life, and how I am living it. Other than the obvious lifestyle choice of diet and exercise I will evaluate how I treat people, and how people treat me. I will reevaluate how I make my life decisions and what is important and what is not. I do know it will be quite a while b before every little twinge in my chest, every little ach in my left arm, or even indigestion is not frightening. But I can assure you, when it occurs, I will pay attention.
I would like to say thank you to those of you who called or sent an email or a Facebook comment with well wishes and inquiries as to my health. It is nice to know there are people out there who care. It meant a lot too me. I am wishful that this is the one and only time I report such an event in my life. I would prefer to blog about things other than myself. But today I felt compelled to share this information and to use it to warn others to take care of themselves. To make everyday count, and do not put off what is important. I do not want to sound overly dramatic. Most of you are probably saying “Damn Tom, lighten up, it was only a “mild” heart attack. And you are right, I will. Thanks for listening, and thanks to Billy Joel for inspiring the title of this article.
Those are my thoughts (and experiences), what are yours.