In a Heartbeat

20130206-151552.jpgUnexpected life events usually take place when you are the most busy and totally unprepared. This week has been no different. Plans this week to get all of the Willy Wonka set pieces and props finished have taken a back seat after I got a call Monday afternoon from my dad telling me he was headed back to the Emergency Room. He has been suffering from congestive heart failure for a couple of years now and occasional trips to the ER are not too surprising any more -but it wasn’t something I thought would happen this week. So, covered in paint and sawdust, I shifted gears and headed for the hospital (since my mom passed away seven years ago and I am an only-child, I am IT for family for him).

So, long story short … and two days later … Dad is currently in the cath lab having an implantable pacemaker / defibrillator (ICD) put in. This is great news and exciting on a couple of levels. First, we went from not having a lot hope for him to get much relief to actually having a possible solution that could restore some quality of life back to him. He has been getting tired so easily and the hope is that the pacing will straighten out his heart pumping which had gotten asynchronous and inefficient. Secondly, the device (albeit a newer generation now) and manufacturer of his ICD is what I worked on as an engineer in my career for 10 years. Throughout my years at Medtronic, we often heard from patients that had their lives restored with our products and here I sit, 7 years later, getting that same device (from the same company) put in my dad. I am reminded of the very smart and talented (and fun!) engineers I worked with that designed and tested these devices. Leaving that career was a huge change in my life and now I sort of feel that it has come full-circle. The timing of this while I’m analyzing so many facets of my life (weight gain and weight loss) is pretty cool.

And, of course, all of this is complicated by having a husband that is traveling this week and kids that are pretty much being left to fend for themselves while I am down at the hospital (about 30 minutes from my house). We are blessed with great friends that are helping them get where they need to be.

One big change I have noticed throughout all of this is that food is pretty much an afterthought. The desire to go stress eat is not there at all (although sitting in this hospital waiting room with people eating their yummy smelling lunches is not helpful). For the most part, eating an Optifast bar every 3 hours has been beyond convenient. I’ve apparently learned that I don’t need to eat something to ease stress. I sure have been tested on several occasions over the last 4 months.

Today marks the end of 4 months on Optifast. Watching my dad suffer from heart disease has been a huge motivation for me. Last time he was hospitalized I was at my heaviest, now I have some relief and reinforcement that this is less about getting in a smaller size and more about improving my health and reducing the risk of disease. I don’t feel like the cardiologist is thinking to himself while talking to me, “dear daughter, you had better do something about your health if you don’t want to be in this same place…”.

Praying that Dad has a successful outcome from this procedure. Can’t wait to see him in recovery.

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