So…how does one talk about diseases and try to be funny? It’s a slippery slope. However, like all races can only make fun of themselves, I feel like since I’m the one with the disease, I can make fun of it and make light of it and be funny, right?
I have heart disease. Ugh, it’s such a 76-year-old man thing to say.
In the winter of 2009, I’d be out walking my dog and it would be pretty cold here in Maine in January…so, I had these awful chest pains…I just thought I was either ridiculously out of shape (not a possibility, a fact) or was coming down with pneumonia or something. So as I did with every other uncomfortable thing in my life, I ignored it.
However, six-weeks of this and I was sick of having to basically hold my chest onto my body with my hand when these “attacks” would come. So, I scheduled an appointment with my PCP. I left his office with this advice, “Lose weight, lower your stress and try to meditate.” So of course, the second I left there, I did none of those things. A few weeks later, chest pains still getting bad…like, falling into the house after the morning dog walks and yelling for help like one of those elderly woman in the “I’ve Fallen and Can’t Get Up” ads bad. So I decided, maybe I should start meditating…
After seeing a couple other doctors and specialists, I had a stress test on March 4th, 2009. A nuclear stress test actually. This is where you run as fast as you can on a treadmill that’s at like a 49 incline going 300 miles an hour and they say stuff like, “How is your chest feeling now?” REALLY? I’m considered by some medical journals to be “obese” how do you think my chest is??? And then you jump off and they inject a radioactive dye into you and it gives the Cardiologist the best shot of seeing what exactly is going on in there. So, I’m laying on the bed after the treading of the mill and the waiting for multiple doctors to finish their whispering and this big guy (tall, not fat…so you know) comes over to me and introduces himself and says, “I’m gonna give it to you straight. You have two seriously blocked arteries and we need to admit you for surgery today.” “TODAY?? I have to be back at work at 11” I think to myself. Nothing that he said was sinking in yet.
The nurse that had been with me all morning, says to me, (Way too cheerily) “I’m gonna go get a wheelchair to bring you up to the cardiac wing!” As if she was saying, “I’m gonna go get some temporary tattoos and some microwave popcorn! As she pushed me through the halls of the hospital, she was GOING ON about the Red Sox and whoever the pitcher was at the time, she wasn’t too happy about him, I wasn’t quite sure what she was talking about. I’m more of a Celtics fan and I was mostly just thinking about how I was just told that I might DIE!!!
We get up to the Cardiac Wing and Cheery McCheerison, RN says to the desk people, “I have this girl here who needs to be admitted and she’s got no friends or family with her.” That made me feel awesome. Not only do I have a life-threatening disease all the sudden, but I’m now unpopular and abandoned??
I get put into a corner room (I called ahead…only the best…) and I sit on the bed, alone. What in the world was going on?? My loved ones quickly started to roll in, my bf, my sisters, my Dad and my Mum.
I’m gonna leave it here for now and switch gears for a second, but you’ll see why in a minute…just keep reading…
So, after this is all over, I’m out of work for three months, you know, coloring in coloring books, sleeping, getting pissed off that I can’t learn to knit (no patience), watching a lot of daytime TV (which is just…so bad, can I say? That’s a whole other blog…) and visiting with my peeps.
Fast-forward to three years later, I’m at work and we have a Health Fair and there’s an American Heart Association table. They have some free Red Dress pins and some pretty cool looking pens all for free, so I’m interested. I LOVE free stuff. (Refer to “If You Need Some Shampoo or Shower Gel Let Me Know“) A nice woman working the table says to me with a smile, “Here. Have a bookmark with 11 ways to prevent heart disease.” And I lightly and trying to be funny say, “Too late.” I tell her my story, we talk a while and she ends up asking me if I’d be interested in being the “Survivor Speaker” at the upcoming American Heart Association Luncheon. Ummm…I love microphones, hell yeah, I’ll do it.
Prior to the event, I had a film crew come to my house to make a “package video” I think they called it. They’d play it before I came up on stage and it would basically be me telling my story. So, basically, I’ll be famous is what was happening. It’s on Youtube, people. Not just ANYONE can be on the Youtube!
So, here, check it out…some of it you have already heard by reading this, but most will be new to you…”My Depressing Ride to Stardom.” It should be called. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AD0yBWKD9E&noredirect=1
It’s kinda dramatic, right? Sorry. It’s not really “too funny”. I think I laughed once, though, so that’s something.
I wanted to share my story, not to get more Followers out of pity (unless that’s why you Follow Us, because we’ll take it. We don’t care. We’re ruthless in our pursuit of Followers) but to tell you “About Me”…(maybe I should have put it on the “About Me” page…whatever.) I want to show people that, yes, I have heart disease and so do like 18 trillion other people, but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t define me. I mean, do I need to lose weight, reduce my stress and start meditating still? Yes. Maybe tomorrow I’ll start.
This is the bottom line, there IS funny in EVERYTHING. In everything that happens in your life. You just have to be open to it and willing and able to find it. Because it’s there. In my 37 years on this planet so far, I’ve dealt with being bullied, being a fat kid, hating myself, 1,400 unfulfilling jobs, being totally broke, being humiliated often, crashing cars, divorce, heartbreak, close to having an intervention due to my Malibu consumption at times, having a heart attack and now, living with heart disease…and a lot of other garbage…and you know what? In ALL of it, sometimes only in retrospect, but a lot of the times while going through it, SO many hilarious things happened that I laughed SO hard about…and still do. Because, why not?? That’s life. It kinda sucks. Don’t get me wrong, I have also had an awesome life, full of amazing people and experiences. I love life and have more blessings than I could count, but life is HARD, right? Who’s with me?? Holy crap, it’s hard. So, let’s just find the funny in everything, it’s WAY more fun.
As my Grammie used to say, “To make a long story longer…” No. Just kidding, I’m wrapping up. I just think that’s so funny she’d always say that…
Things to take away from this story:
1. If you’re having chest pains, see a doctor. Don’t just take Tums and say, “I shouldn’t have had that bagel!”
2. The camera adds 10 pounds. The video camera adds Chris Farley.
3. Take care of yourself, because there’s already a lot of competition in the American Heart Association industry to be able to give speeches and I don’t want any more people to go up against, I want those gigs, dammit.
4. Yeah, heart disease sucks, divorce sucks, people hurting you sucks, but all you can do is…as mean as it sounds, it’s true… get over it. Just think how cool it is that you probably have hilarious stories about these things. Like maybe being in the hospital and trying to secretly shave your legs (whilst on MAJOR blood thinners) and almost dying from a bleed-out. I mean, I didn’t do that, but maybe someone did. (Yeah, I did that. It was me. I don’t always think things through…) Realize that it’s a part of your life, whatever it is, all the bad stuff, but that you CAN choose to be happy, to get over it and to just laugh about it.
To FIND THE FUNNY in all that this wacky life throws your way. I dare you…
Heart you, reader. And I heart my heart. ❤