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.

Broken Hearted

Dad had a heart attack on Friday. Yeah, I know what you're thinking.  Really?! Yes. Really.  I got a call from my aunt telling me that he was having chest pains during my team meeting in the afternoon.  I call this man up and he tells me he's fine.  That he was just mowing the lawn and it was hot but he's doing better.  Unbeknownst to any of us, he showers, changes and drives himself to the hospital!  He drove himself to Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) which is not close to the house.  Thankfully he made it there safely.  Why did he do that, you ask? He didn't want my aunt being dramatical.  Nevermind the fact that both my brother and I were minutes away from him.

More importantly, he didn't want to go to Florida Hospital which we didn't have great experiences with when mami was sick.  He also had a bad experience there himself.  I didn't realize how big of an impact those experiences had on him.  I wish I'd known because we would've just driven him wherever he wanted to go. But, being dad, he didn't want to impose on anyone so, he calls us from the ER after he's all settled in.

His arteries were cleared up with an angioplasty on Saturday.  He had a heart attack around this time last year. And I can't help but think that his heart attacks correlate with his broken heart. This time last year, mami was starting her 2nd treatment to fight the bile duct cancer.  This year, she's not here.  One of the nurses commented on where his wife was when he was about to talk about how his heart was a bit weak.  It was his attempt to make a joke but, it failed miserably.

The truth of the matter is, I believe his heart attack was caused by his broken heart.  And honestly, I don't blame it for being weak because I know exactly how it feels.