Have you seen the newest Facebook craze? It’s a quick little game named “Find out how long you have left!” Answer a few simple questions and you get something like this:
John Doe has 42 years, 106 days, and 19 hours left. ENJOY!
*Snort* Yeah, right. There are way too many variables that have to be considered to make an accurate lifespan prediction. And what happens if you accidentally step in front of a moving bus?
John Doe has 0 years, 0 days, 0 hours, and 3 seconds left. ENJOY!
That could ruin your whole day!
My Atlanta Cardiologist was out-of-town during one of my appointments, so I was being seen by his partner. I don’t mind that a bit – she’s playing at the top of her game, too. It had been on my mind for a while, so I asked her THE QUESTION: Doc, how long do you think I’ll be around?
She rolled her eyes. “We’re pretty much off the page already! But as well as you are doing, if you keep taking care of yourself you should live a good long time.”
The key point, of course, is taking care of yourself. That can be applied to the heart healthy as well as the average CHDer. Keep your butt planted on the couch, you’ll wither away. Get up, get out, keep moving and doing things, you’ll last longer. There were two gentlemen in my community who retired about the same time. One came home, planted a garden, did some home improvement projects he had been meaning to get to, stayed active and lived for 15 years. The other one moved a comfy chair onto the porch, put his feet up on the porch rail and watched the world go by…. and was dead inside of two years. The moral of this story is obvious: If you want to live, tear down your porch rail and sell your chairs!
It’s not that hard to stay active. You really don’t even have to think about it. Take the steps instead of the elevator. Or you’re like me and you despise steps. What then? Simple… park at the far end of the parking lot. That little stroll will do you good, and it adds up, too. Have good friends – not the kind that have more drama than the local picture show. In a true friendship there are going to be hard times, of course, and you’ll be there for each other. But if your friend has so much drama in their life that they could export it to China…. you can do better. Keeping your nerves on edge is hard on your system.
Don’t take a shovel with you to the dinner table, you don’t need to eat that much. Eat good foods. I’m one to talk, I’ve been a junk food junkie all my life, but I am always working on it! Being put on a low sodium diet to prevent my heart from taking the day off is a hell of a convincer! A good rule of thumb is foods ending in with an OH! sound usually aren’t good for you. Doh-reet-OH!, Cheet-OH!… you don’t need those very often. About the only exception is the Cheer-e-OH!
Do the little things to take care of yourself. Fasten your seatbelt, and don’t drive like Mario Andretti. Even Mario keeps his speed under 200 Miles Per Hour when he’s on the public highways!
As I often say, Every heart deserves to live a lifetime. But you have to do your part, too.