Monday, November 28, 2011

Stickman, or "Sickman"?

Well folks... I had a pretty close call, recently! I sometimes give a little thought as to the possible dangers that could stop me in my tracks, when I am out for a hike. Things like a bad fall... but it doesn't necessarily take a bad fall to knock you down. Sometimes it is something that can sneak up on you. Like bad health!

I guess you might wonder how a Stickman, who works hard, hikes, and kayaks, could be in bad health... (I was wondering the same thing!). Well... ol' Stickman wasn't taking good care of himself! He had gotten his weight down to 185 after being on the A.T., but had gobbled his way back to almost 240 whopping pounds! Working and playing hard just wasn't getting it done. I was having a long term affair with "Little Debbie" snacks, eating to excess, and making incredibly poor "food" choices. I also hadn't had a physical in a couple of years, and had no primary care physician... a recipe for disaster!

So... almost a couple of months ago I was at my new physician's office, ready for my first physical. Ten minutes into it, she made me aware that I probably had some heart issues!!! "Here's your sign"!!! High blood pressure... overweight... tired... a little short of breath... slight pressure on my chest... occasional light chest pain!!! Nah!!! ...

NO WAY was I sick! I was way too active, and I didn't feel "that bad". But, she was insistent. I was scheduled for a stress test. Then a nuclear stress test... the results were, lets say "marginally" positive. I was in denial, too. Yet, a couple of days later, feeling very tired, I went to the E.R., just to be safe... (I was convinced to go, by my wife and her co-workers at the said hospital). I ended up staying, and next day found myself on the way to EMMC in Bangor, which was more than equipped to deal with me. I was still in denial... I'm a STICKMAN! I got the best treatment, along with not so good news... the cardiac catheterization revealed that I had seven major blockages... one at 90%, two at 80%, two at 70%, and one each at 60% and 40%... I figured they got my results confused with someone elses, and was SURE I could go back to work the next day!

Well, they were right, and five and one-half weeks ago I underwent open heart surgery. My surgeon did a great job, as did all of the staff, and I survived my quadruple bypass! Yay! I am healing and getting stronger day by day, thanks to skillfull surgery, caring and competent nursing, and lots of love, care, and prayer from family and friends. Needless to say, my lifestyle and eating habits have been drastically changed.

I'm sure that I need to give you all no further warning of the dangers lurking around, trying to steal your health. You don't even have to fall off a cliff to hurt yourself!

THIS COULD BE YOU, if you fall off a cliff, (or just don't take good care of yourself!)

So... I'll get healed up, build some strength, and see you all out on the trails again this year. Until then, take good care of yourselves, and enjoy God's daily blessings in your lives,