Monday, January 26, 2009

A Second Look At A First Resolution - Putting My Heart Into It

Like many others I decided to go on a diet this year as part of my New Year's Resolution. I am about 40 pounds over where I'd optimally like to be, and I am not that good at dieting, so I tried to make the resolution something I could stick to by saying I wouldn't "diet" per se, but push myself toward a healthier lifestyle with eating and exercise. A little at a time, small steps I could handle. I wasn't doing badly, but there also was no epiphany either. If I was going to lose any weight or get any healthier it would definitely be over an extended period of time at this rate.

Then something happened that made me take a second look. And not for myself.

My fiancé of six years and I decided this past fall to finally tie the knot and make it official on Valentine's Day. Part of what made me want to lose weight is hoping to be prettier for him on our wedding day. He's also been talking about working on his weight and some other issues, but the fact that he's on the road and eats nearly 75% of his meals at fast food joints doesn't help. I haven't worried too much about it, he wasn't worried and I love him as he is (he returns the compliment generously, telling me frequently how beautiful I am, which doesn't motivate me to stop all my bad eating habits) so we've just kind of gone about our merry ways, every unhealthy one of them.

Then, on Friday the 16th, I got a call from Brian that they were going to medivac him from Roswell to the Presbyterian Hospital. My sweetie was having a heart attack.

He told me it was a minor attack, thank goodness or I would have fallen apart. I managed to keep it glued together while I waited for his plane to come in, where I ran to his side to hold his hand and listened to the doctor tell us it wasn't minor at all. If he hadn't sought treatment when he had, the results could have been very grim indeed.

I went to my mother's Friday night so I could be closer to the hospital, where I fell asleep quickly from exhaustion. Saturday I went to his room and helped his wash his hair, helped him eat past all the tubes and wires, and considered how lucky I was to have him. Saturday night I went home to our bed, where I cried most of the night in terror... how close I came to losing him, how real the loss could be, it was a wake up call.

The next day we discussed what had gone through his mind during the attack, and what was going through mine. We have five children between the two of us, three still at home. He knew his death would mean leaving us not only broken from his loss, but in serious financial need. That worried him. I could care less about the finances, but trying to picture the future without him made me feel like I was standing on the top of the Empire State Building with no railing... in a high wind storm. But I couldn't forget how important the kids are, losing either of us would be too hard on them, and we both knew some changes have to be made.

With his discharge and gradual recovery over the past week we have had to change everything in a radical way I would never have considered before the attack. He quit tobacco which I never thought he would do for anyone or anything. And no more fast food, a serious low sodium diet, low fat, high in all the greens and grains and heart healthy foods that we can cram into his picky eating habits. He's been sooo good. He even eats oatmeal now, which he hates. To support him I eat all the same things and have all the same restrictions. Not only does it help me know what he's going through so I can work to make meals appealing, but it accomplishes my original resolution in a way I had never expected.

Funny, but when I started my diet it was mostly for me, and a little for him. I wanted to be healthy and leaner, I wanted to be thinner for the fellow I love. Now it is mostly for him and I am benefiting. Hopefully we will both get a little leaner, but in the long run what I really want is time. Years more to snuggle happily with the man I'll be calling my husband in a few weeks.

Now that's a resolution worth sticking to ;)


Mike said...

Congratulations! I'm sorry you had to go through all that. Glad everything is okay now!

Dawn Allynn said...

Thanks for the thoughts Mike :) It's the hard stuff that makes you appreciate the good stuff, eh? :)

Astaryth said...

How scary was that! I can't imagine how you handled hearing he was having a heart attack. But, in the long run it seems like it is going to make both of you -more- healthy.

And, congrats on the nuptials next month.