Monday, May 20, 2013

Always a work in progress

Life is always moving.  We all know that.  It's fluid, dynamic and is constantly changing.  Sometimes we change it.  Like when I moved to Wyoming.  Sometimes we alter it, sometimes.......


My father was 54 when I was born.  My mother was 31.  She had two daughters from a previous marriage.  18 months later, I would have a kid brother and that would be my life until 14 years later and I would have another brother.  That's my family and I love them dearly.  We lost dad in 1994 at the age of 86.  He was the 7th born of 14 children and the second to last to die in his family.  Aunt Mildred, 16 months his junior and the 8th born, would die two years later and that would end the life cycle of his family.

It's hard for me to know the family health history of my dad's family.  My first memory of them is that like my dad they were all old.  Most of them smoked liked chimneys my dad included. Some died in their 60's, but most made 80 or higher with two of them hitting the century mark.

My great whatever grandfather landed in what would become Windsor, CT in 1629.  I don't know how old he was when he died but I do know that every male from which I am a direct descendant lived past 70 except one.  That is a helluva statistic when you think about it. My dad's side of the family has been kicking life expectancy's ass for the better part of four centuries.
My mom's side of the family is not as well documented though both of her parents made their 70's and my mom turned 81 last year.  My mom is the third oldest of 8.  When she turned 80 in 2011, she was the first member of her family to hit that number and she won't be the last.  When it comes to health and longevity it appears as though the deck is stacked in my favor and I couldn't be happier about that. Like I said, I don't know a bunch about our family health history but like what I see.  Hell, if smoking hadn't made a mess for a few I would love to see the average age of death.

Me?  I'm pretty healthy.  Obviously great genes never hurt.  I've taken good care of myself.  Honestly I have.  Sure I like Crown. And vodka.  And who doesn't like a bottle of cold beer now and then? Have I had one more than I should have on occasion? Damn right! That doesn't make me a bad guy.

Still, I eat well.  Lean meat.  Not very much fat.  I try to keep up a gym membership not only with a payment but also by using it.  I'm 5'8" and 165 pounds.  You've all seen pictures.  I'm as healthy as I look.

In 1996 I was diagnosed with a hypo-active thyroid.  While this is not life threatening immediately, it can lead to long term health problems if not treated so treated it became.  I have had a complete physical every year since then.  My blood pressure has been border-line low for most of my life.  Usually in the 85 over 55 range and my cholesterol has been immaculate.  I'm healthy as can be and always have been.


My life was altered when I lost my father. I know a lot of you can relate. It just changes.  You aren't the same.  Whether inwardly or outwardly, you carry yourself a little differently. New jobs, relationships, moving, etc. they all have the change built in.  The good thing about them is that usually they are positive moves that we control.  When they aren't we have to channel our positive energy and make the best of the situation.  To do otherwise is to destroy yourself from within.  At least that's my opinion.

I recently altered my life.  I quit my job to be with the woman I love. Why I haven't received more praise from my female followers and readers as one of the most romantic things they've heard in recent memory is something I can't quite understand but you ALL must have your reasons. My theory is that because I'm such a sexist ass at times you don't want to give me the satisfaction.  I can live with that.

I altered my life.  It's altered me.  I haven't always been happy but that is how it goes.


I altered my life when I moved to Worland.  I've applied for two jobs and had one interview.  Not bad for a town of 5,041.  I've been pulling weeds, cleaning the garage and playing golf.  Not a bad gig.

BRM and I were playing golf last Friday, the 10th, when I felt the first twinge.  We were chased of the 17th green by huge wind and rain.  We dashed for the parking lot, unloaded our clubs and headed into the the clubhouse for a beer.  By the time we sat down I didn't feel like having a beer. My throat felt like I had something stuck in it.  I had a glass of water and in about 10 minutes felt fine.

Last Monday I did a few things around the house and then went to play golf.  I played 18 (shot 91 with a triple, triple, double finish for those of you who are wondering), picked up the weedeater from the shop and headed home.  Our place is about 8 miles from town. I arrived home, checked some emails and decided it was time to get some weed eating done.  BRM showed up about then.  She was going to jog the 2.5 mile loop around our house.  I said I would do my chores and see here when she was done.

I finished the weed eating and went in the house for a beer.  This time the pain was much worse.  From the bottom of my throat to the bottom of my sternum.  My arms hurt too.  I took some tums and a prilosec.  BRM was home by now.  She asked me if I needed to go to town.  I told her no, I would let some time pass.  In about 30 minutes I was feeling a little better and soon I went to sleep.

The next morning I woke up and was fine.  I had coffee with BRM and she left for work.  Twenty minutes later it hit me again.  This time worse than the night before.  The pain in my chest was immense and the back of my arms felt like a horse was standing on them.  I gathered my thoughts after almost vomiting and thought to myself "you're sick and you need to get to a hospital".  I tried to call BRM but she was not available.  I threw on my clothes and headed to town. No lectures on my driving myself please.

I arrived at the hospital and walked up to the emergency room, I rang the bell and the doctor greeted me.
"How can I help you?"
"I think I'm having a heart attack."

He led me to bed a laid me down.  I took off my shirt and the EKG guy was there with his cart and hooking me up.  He gave me some nitro for the pain and it took three to make it go away.

I don't know how much time had passed but the doc finally came over and told me that "the computer doesn't think you're having a heart attack but I do."  BRM had shown up by then.  After our brief discussion I was informed that a life-flight helicopter was on the way from Billings and I was headed there for a stent procedure.

Less than two hours later I was in St. Vincent's ICU recovering.


I'm not even going to begin to describe my luck here.  It's not worth the time. And by this I mean my luck is great.

No family history, no high blood pressure, no bad cholesterol.  My cardiologist told me I was "just lucky".  Said he sees a couple of cases like me each year.

I made it back to Wyoming on Friday.  BRM spent the week with me in the hospital.  The outpouring from my family and friends was tremendous (as it would be for all of you).  I slept like crap with IV's in both arms and wires taped to my chest.

I'm on the mend now.  It will be sometime before we know the extent of the damage to my heart.  There will be some and I will have to live with it.  The doc was very upbeat about me being able to live a healthy normal life and see at least 80.  A might have to cut back on some Canadian whiskey but that is a small price to pay.

Life, sometimes we alter it, sometimes.........

Safe journeys,



Anonymous said...

Great to hear you are on the mend. Take care of yourself and see you in a few weeks.
James Stan

Milk River Madman said...

I'll call you later JS3. Need to talk about Vegas.

Buzz Kill said...

You are a lucky madman. You could have just keeled over dead. My father did at 49. Because of that and other family history, my doctor has been really keeping an eye on my heart since I was 40.

I failed a stress test a couple of years ago (no chest pain) and had to get a heart catheterization to check it out. I was totally thinking I was getting a stent. They even had me looking at the brochure (and signing the waiver) for those new helical ones. Turns out, it was a false reading. I was fine and will never have to do a stress test again.

Like you, I try to do all the right things - diet, drinking and exercise wise. And hope for the best.

Good luck with your recovery and you can probably parlay this event into some sympathy sex with BRM. I, of course, couldn't work that magic with The Mrs., but you're smoother than me. Bwahahaha

Pam said...

I think you are very lucky also and I hope you are more receptive to those warning shots as well. This happened to my brother at age 42 and he didn't live to tell about it. So good for you for getting yourself to the horse-pistol and having a good woman by your side to see you through. Life is worth living, for sure!

Milk River Madman said...

BK, I'm smoother than you? Say it ain't so.

Pam, when your body talks, listen. Thinking tons of you Kym and Caleb. Glad you are all safe.

Jennifer Pavlovick said...

holy crap chip. it's been a few months since i last checked your blog. very excited for this next chapter in your life and really really grateful that you're on the mend!!! i hope that someday i'll get the chance to meet BRM. take care of yourself and i'm mighty happy that The Duke is still "kickin it" with the rest of us mortals :) - jennyp

Karl said...

Good evening MRM,

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