Papi's Health Challenge #UHCLatino

“The greatest wealth is Health.”  ~Unknown

Most of you know that Mami passed away in 2011. What you may not know is that we almost lost Papi that year as well. He had a heart attack 5 months after Mami died. He was not taking care of himself and certainly not caring too much about his own health.

Papi is a cancer survivor. So on top of the general grief that comes with losing your partner of 42 years, there was a deep sense of guilt at his survival and her passing. He refused to go to any grief counseling or support groups which did not help.

I remember that in the hospital, a nurse was talking to us about how this heart attack (he'd had one after Mami was diagnosed) had weakened his heart. If ever there was a broken heart, Papi had one.

Can I just tell you that I wanted to beat him? This man refused to tell us that he was in severe pain and even got himself dressed, collected his things and drove himself to the hospital! To say I was infuriated was an understatement. Thoughts of him crashing on the way there along with a myriad of other ways this could've turned out, circled my brain.

He made it there safe, though. And called me after he was set up in a room in the ER.  After having angioplasty and being given some meds that would help strengthen his heart, he was released.

What Papi Did to Ensure Good Health

After he was discharged from the hospital, things changed. Papi started walking. He began to watch what he ate a little (it's hard because he's the chef and generally, he eats whatever his stomach fancies). But I saw him taking his meds and taking supplements to keep himself healthy and in good shape.

It was important for him to stay healthy. I mean it's important to everyone but he had one big reason for making sure he was around. He told me his focus had been us kids. Because we had lost enough that year and losing him would have been earth shattering exponentially after we lost the core of our family.

Papi ensures that he keeps himself in good physical shape and that he eats healthy because he wants to be around to watch the Frog Princess grow. It is comforting and inspirational to watch this now 67-year old man set new routines for himself to ensure he remains healthy. I can only hope I have his energy when I'm his age.

What do you do to ensure you stay in good health?

For information on preventative health and other resources, check out UHC Latino.