Friday, March 30, 2007

Cliff's heart surgery

We're approaching the one-year anniversary of Cliff's four-way bypass open heart surgery. Our lives will never be the same as before. Trust me on this.

We already realized our time on earth was short, but this confirmed it. We had already agreed between us that time is more precious than money. But we didn't really know it in our bones until the fateful day of Cliff's surgery.

Cliff never works overtime now when it's offered. Even though he'd be making over $30 an hour. Because money isn't that important. If he suggests that he might work overtime, I remind him, "You'll be sorry". And he agrees, once again, that time is more important than money.

I do everything in my power to keep his diet healthy. In fact, at our last visit to his cardiologist we were asked why he was losing weight.

"Weight watchers?" the nurse asked.

"Nope," I answered, pointing to myself. "Me watcher."

"Then I wish you'd come and help some of our other patients," she said, smiling.

And she told me about one lady, living alone, who had her heart bypass a year ago.

"She's worse now than she was before surgery," the nurse said. "She lives alone and won't walk, and has basically given up."

She and the doctor shared with us how most patients refuse to quit smoking, refuse to exercise, and refuse to eat properly.

Cliff and I walk a half-hour every day in the pasture. He works out in the weight room at work, on his break-time. He is determined to stay healthy. And I'm determined to keep him that way, as long as I can.

I am now so thankful that I insisted we re-finance the place so he could build his shop, because that's where he spends most of his time when he isn't working or sleeping; he loves it.

I'm so thankful that I insisted he get XM radio, although he didn't have a clue what it was when I suggested it. Because now he can listen exclusively to the kind of music he enjoys (with no commercials), and he loves every minute of it. (And I'm thankful that our son helped me figure out how to get it.)

I'm thankful that I urged him to buy that Honda Gold Wing he wanted so badly, because it was such a big incentive in his recovery... and the number one reason he started working out after his surgery. He wanted to have the strength to handle it again.

I'm glad I talked him into trying a different, more expensive type of hearing aid. Because now he isn't left out of conversations, and he isn't treated as though he's retarded just because he can't hear.

I want you all to remember than life is short. If you can help someone you love achieve their dreams and pursue happiness, do it now. Tomorrow isn't guaranteed.

If you'd like to see the start of Cliff's heart surgery adventure, click HERE. If you want to go through the whole operation and aftermath, just click on the upper right-hand portion of the entry where it says "Wednesday, April 19", then to the next post and the next until you've seen it all. As far as I'm concerned, it's a story of God's grace.

And a wakeup call.


Rachel said...

I cry every time I talk about, or hear about, or read about, or think about last year. I almost lost my daddy. I'm so thankful that my mother sees to it that my father is healthy.

toni (in the midst...) said...

I hear the wisdom in your words, Donna. My house is not filled with fancy things. I quit my job, a job I loved, over 7 years ago to stay home with my children because time is more important than money. We have old furniture. We thrift shop. We plan and save for big purchases. But my kids won't remember what kind of couch we had or what super car we drove. They'll remember time spent together. And dh feels exactly as you when it comes to overtime. He would rather be home with us. He learned this through his mother's death at age 52.

My father had quintuple bypass 2 years ago (he got a "new" heart on Valentine's Day). Three months after that, he was on a cruise in Holland. Life is waaay too short, even when we're blessed with the "full run." My dad knows that. He wasn't about to miss out.

Kudos to you and Cliff for seizing what counts most.

Chiquita Banana said...

I'm very thankful that I answered the mysterious urge to visit Missouri last year.

Thanks for letting me share in this journey.


Midlife Mom said...

My husband clinically died when he was only 27 years old due to Addison's disease. Our son was only two years old at the time and we had only been married 7 years. We learned very young to make the most of life as it is so precious. Thank you for your wonderful post to remind me again of this!

Anonymous said...

This is a great post and a wonderful reminder. Life is too short to try to "live up to the Joneses" as the saying goes.

I agree with your comment over on my blog this morning. I, too, have so many blogs in my blog roll and it becomes a chore to read through them all! They are interesting, but sometimes it takes time away from other things I should be doing around the house.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend and I am glad you have learned what really counts in life. Nice reminder for all of us.

Jspiker said...

I've just listed some diet and health advice on my web site...

I'm glad Cliff is doing well. I remember the entries like it was yesterday.

It's good to see you both enjoying the country life!