Turns out he had undiagnosed and outrageously high blood pressure which caused him to have a massive hemorrhagic stroke. I had never seen my father sick before, not even with a cold. I had visited him just 2 months prior and he was healthy as ever. Being a native New Yorker he would often walk to work or the store just because and every Friday night he would go out dancing with his friends. Of course he loves sweets, but with great skin, impeccable fashion sense, a height of 6’1 and coming in at a lean 185lbs, most people couldn’t even tell his age: 54.
The doctors told me that with his type of stroke, most people die within the first 48 hours. It was a good thing that he had the stroke at work so that he was able to get to the hospital quickly and except for the high blood pressure he was a healthy guy. As my dad laid in a hospital bed with a tube draining blood from his brain, his Neurologist told me that all of this could have been prevented if he had just gone to the doctor and had his high blood pressure treated. Further freaking me out he said, “Now that you know high blood pressure runs in your family, you will have it too and should do something about it now. “Like my dad, I'm also a typically healthy person. I might get a sinus infection in the spring when the pollen count goes up and as a child I had the normal boogers and chicken pox from classmates. There was that time when I was about 9 and I thought I had appendicitis. I begged my mom to take me to the emergency room because I just knew at any second my appendix would burst causing me to have sepsis, bleed out and die on my pink and pastel unicorn comforter. Turns out I just had bad gas, and my mom was pisssssssed for having to pay the emergency room co-pay. If anything, I had hypochondria.
|A photo of me in my Dad's hospital room
But with my new knowledge I plan to be pro-active about my health. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions because if you don’t stick to something during the year, what makes you think that you’re going to stick with it just because the ball drops? I’m starting off by getting a full physical (which sadly I haven’t had since I went off to college). Whatever is wrong with me just tell me now, all at once so I can tackle it head on. High blood pressure, pre-diabetes, appendicitis, I want to know now because what you don’t know can hurt you.
And in my opinion, an apple a day is not enough. I’m not going all Billy Blanks and rabbit food on myself, but maybe I’ll go all “Jennifer Hudson” and to go to the gym more and not overindulge. I only hope that this post can help push other people to get in charge of their health too. If you don’t have health care, there are programs that work on a sliding scale. You can make better choices like drinking a gallon of water a day, eating ice cream only once a week and trying new vegetables. Don’t get me wrong, I will murder a piece of fried chicken, leaving no meat on the bone and biscuits get scared when they see me coming… but I’m not going to do that everyday.
|Trying not to die from exhaustion at the gym, in the bathroom