There’s always something to howl about

I had a come to Jesus moment

I had a come to Jesus moment a couple of weeks ago. I had a bout of pneumonia earlier this summer and seemed to have gotten rid of it with some powerful antibiotics. It seemed to creep back a little while we were on a camping trip over Labor Day weekend. I felt winded and tired after doing the simplest tasks. It rained the whole time and was a real pain in the ass to pack out.

I was kind of exhausted when we got back and unpacked and didn’t do much the first day. That night my wife woke me up telling me my breathing was weird. The next day I had some real estate stuff and was trying to dry out the gear. I was ready to hit the sack early. Discovered it was hard to breath normally while lying flat. This had happened during the pneumonia, so I figured it was back and I would go back to the doctor in the morning. Did not really sleep much because I had to be almost sitting up to breath normally.

When I got to the doctor she told me I was in heart failure. …congestive heart failure. They wheeled me straight into the ER where I spent 6 days. My otherwise healthy heart had been infected by a virus. I had a cat scan in March and was told that I had 0% calcium in my heart and would very likely never have a heart attack. Even in the hospital they told me no clogged arteries, no damaged valves, none of the typical leading indicators. I don’t drink (for 13 years) I have never smoked, no drug abuse, no fast food, healthy diet, no diabetic tendencies, not a lot of stress….just a fucking virus. My heart is pumping about 25% of what a normal heart of someone my age pumps.  Now I am wearing an external defibrillator which is a harness and a battery pack designed to give me a shock if I have an abnormal racing heart that knocks me out.  I have to wear it for 90 days at which time the generous insurance company will allow me to have another echocardiogram to see how I am doing.  In the meantime I have to just cross my fingers and hope that it gets better. I have been told not to drive for now. Can’t eat anything with salt/sodium, I get about 1000mgs per day which eliminates pretty much everything at the supermarket or in restaurants. I can only drink 64oz of fluid a day in any form.

People keep asking how I feel or if I am feeling better. I don’t really feel sick. Except for one day when I had to get up early to see a doctor, I haven’t felt really that bad at all. I don’t actually feel tired. I just don’t give a crap about anything. I let my voice mail fill up for almost two weeks and have not really cared about that. I suppose it is my mind taking control of my senses so I won’t work or stress, but it is a really strange feeling. There are things I really should do and my first thought is “whatever…I will get to it when I get to it”. I suppose I could say I am improving every day, but from my point of view it is almost impossible to measure any progress. I tell my well-wishers that I am feeling better so they won’t worry. I think it will take quite a bit of time to heal.

So what’s the point? My major point is that it could be a lot worse. I could have actually had a heart attack. It could have required surgery.  I could have clogged arteries and other factors that would make recovery much more difficult. I could have died. So when you look at things in your life or your business that piss you off, or bring you down, or make you crazy remember this …even from my damaged perspective I know that it really could have been or it could be a lot worse.

If you have your health you have everything, or at least you have a chance of having everything. Do yourself a favor. Take some steps to get healthy. Don’t think that you have unlimited time on that task. They tell me if I were a smoker or a drinker my prognosis would be considerably more dire.  If my arteries were clogged from bad eating, I might never regain full strength in my heart.  Thank God for that.

Now I have to see how to go forward with the biz. I am really not ready to retire.


8 Comments so far

  1. Jeff Brown September 23rd, 2012 4:56 pm

    A scary story with what seems a happy ending. Plus, seems you’ve been blessed with what Grandpa used to call, ‘true sight’. Here’s to a full and speedy recovery.

  2. Greg Swann September 24th, 2012 7:46 am

    Godspeed you well, Dan.

  3. William Miller September 25th, 2012 4:54 am

    Recover soon!
    As for me I don’t drink, eat healthy food, fit, use my bicycle every week but.. I smoke 5 cigarettes a day. Now I’m about to quit on reading your story, a sad story.
    May everything be good with you!

  4. Dan Connolly September 26th, 2012 10:19 am

    Thanks guys for the well wishes. William I am glad my post had some positive effect, way to go!

  5. Eric Blackwell September 27th, 2012 11:51 am

    Godspeed Dan. You know TeamEric’s thoughts and prayers are there for you.

  6. Susan Zanzonico September 30th, 2012 7:21 am

    Dan, I’m glad to hear you’re doing better and it seems to be under control.

    I truly know what you’re going thru. I myself had open heart surgery at 46. It was quite a surprise as I was often referred to as the ‘poster child’ for health. They got it just in time…I had about two weeks before I would’ve had a massive heart attack with no recovery possibile. Some things are hereditary. This type of experience certainly makes you take a step back and look at life a little differently…realize what is important.

    I wish you many, many years of good health and ‘true sight’.

  7. Don Reedy October 1st, 2012 10:31 am

    Dan, hopefully you actually came to Jesus. I’m sure He was there to make sure we had you around to enjoy and learn from for quite a long time.

    Blessings to you, and thanks for sharing a moment of such import in your life.

  8. Dan Connolly October 2nd, 2012 9:48 am

    Eric, Thanks for that.

    Susan, I appreciate the support. It is helpful to hear about people who have come back from this. My rebuild is taking more time than I thought it would. But you’re right, it is a different world now.

    Don, I think that almost everyone finds religion when they have a near death experience, thanks for your blessings.