I just got back from my cardiologist; he is my second one (my first one fired me…I’m not joking), but I like this one much better. I am older than he is (I have 3 doctors and I’m older than all of them). That feels kind of weird but I feel better with younger doctors as they feel they are keeping up better with the latest medicines and might be a little more jaded with “being educated about medicines” by big pharmaceutical salespersons. Besides, my old cardio was an SOB.
My current one saved my life a year ago this past April with two stents. Three of my four main heart arteries had blown out; and the only one holding things together was one that was put in a stent back in 2001.
I had gone to the hospital because edema had set in and I noticed my feet swelling. I thought I’d get a diuretic and go home the next day. It was not to be. It required two separate procedures.
Now every 6 months, I go see (“Surfer Dude”). That is what my wife calls him (my cardiologist) as he is young, good looking and always tanned and in good shape and wore a pooka shell neclace in both surgeries; a bit discomforting at 1st but I adjusted. A little over a year later, today, he did an EKG and checked my weight, blood pressure etc. Everything was perfect. I explained to him that my wife Lee has been watching out for my health prodding me to eat better and exercise more. I go hiking with her every other day. I drink 1/2 gallon of our “magic 2000 year old thermal water” every other day. I eat salads, sushi, and other health foods. Salt has virtually disappeared from my diet.
But my blog is not about heart disease and I rarely bring it up. But its been a little over a year and but for the grace of God I have cheated death yet again. Don’t get me started on all my near-death experiences…there have been quite a few more than the two heart attacks; most having to do with accidents, etc. I am a klutz as well.
Today, I wore one of my cartoon caps to Surfer Dude’s Office. I think I’ve worn it there before but he never brought it up. He was rather chatty today and aske me where I got it. I told him the story of Londons Times Cartoons and gave him one of my business cards and then asked me if I had any medical cartoons. I assured him I do (in fact probably several hundred). That’s what happens to your psyche when you are klutzy all your life and later end up with heart disease. But I digress.
I have always heart that attitude is half the battle and taking care of oneself is the other half. I am a nonsmoker and nondrinker. Lee and I hike 2-4+ miles depending and they are mountain miles which means you can just about double that as far as the aerobic value of it. Plus the miles are in the middle of the most beautiful National Park in America, Hot Springs National Park, which, like the water, is very healing. It is impossible to be suspicious of a turtle, silly to feel hatred toward frolicking squirrels, and impossible to be angry at an affectionate mockingbird who is following you just for a collaborative melody. In other words it is a safe healing place. And I’ll be damned if more often than not, I can look at all the beautiful wildlife and flora which surrounds us, and an idea for a cartoon doesn’t pop up. So I keep a pen and paper in my pocket on every hike (though that is not why I go).
My hope is to encourage everyone, especially younger people to take care of themselves *now*; in other words it is never too early to prevent heart disease. Eat right. If you smoke, stop. If you’ve stopped and started back, not to worry. Stop again, and again, and again. It is that important. For many it takes 10+ times. It will finally make sense as you learn to re-enjoy the taste of fresh air.
Look at your diet. Simple is better. Fresh fruit and veggies. Less or no salt. The lower the sodium the better. Exercise!!! If you are immobile you can still exercise. You can learn tai chi on the Internet. Lee & I do Tai Chi before every hike.
I hope I don’t sound preachy. If you are reading this, chances are you are probably a Londons Times Cartoon & Gifts fan and I’d like you to be with us a long time. Plus to be honest, I don’t want you to have to go through what I’ve gone through because you truly don’t have to. It is a choice. Seems complex but it is simple. Choose to be healthy. That does not mean perfect; it means conscious of healthy things vs unhealthy things from food to emotions to exercise to career. Choose what feels healthy and the younger the start, the faster habit becomes lifestyle. Cheers, Rick London
Rick London is a writer, entrepreneur, designer, and outdoorsman. He founded Londons Times Cartoons & Funny Gifts which have been the #1 offbeat webcomics & gifts on the Internet (MSN & Google ranked) since 2005. He has founded numerous online shops which feature his cartoon images and also others which are unique fashion such as the worlds only love quote shoes, Shoes That Amuse, and ShoeShies.com, Sushi Shoes & Gifts.