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Monday, September 7, 2009

Bummer Summer

Bummer Summer

This summer has brought some good times, but it’s been kind of a bummer, too. Here are a few of my gripes:

1. A tree in our backyard rained enormous branches on our house and yard until we gave up and had it cut down.

2. The road to our development collapsed during a flash flood, and I was cut off from civilization for an entire day.

3. Gizmo, our Pekingese, wiggled under our backyard gate and vanished into the woods.

4. About a minute into my morning run on August 31, I had a heart attack.

If you follow this blog, you've read about items one and two, and you’re waiting breathlessly for updates. Wait no longer.

Two weeks ago we planted a red maple in our backyard to take the place of our former tree. It’s farther from the house, and we have a few years before we need to worry about falling branches.

A permanent solution to our crater/road is on the way. Construction begins tomorrow to add a fourth culvert under our road—and reinforce the whole thing with concrete—so only a Noah-level flood can wipe it out. Two problems solved.

Our straying pooch Gizmo straggled home two days after his getaway. His ears, tail, and all other body parts were so matted with stick-tights that the groomer had to cut his fur down to ground level. Until his coat grows out, we’re living with a Pekingese disguised as a pug. As you can see from his picture, he's not too happy about it. Mike lowered the gate to eliminate Gizmo’s wiggle room and prevent future escapes. Problem three solved.

Yes, I really did have a heart attack. And, yes, I’ve been running for a zillion years. I don’t smoke, drink infrequently, lift weights, eschew red meat, and basically do everything possible to take care of myself. I'm no stranger to shin splints, stress fractures, and pulled muscles. But a heart attack?

My heart was the one organ I knew I could count on. So when my chest and neck and arm burst into pain, I was stunned and in denial. But I wasn’t completely stupid. I stopped running, got myself home, and called the paramedics. By the time the ambulance reached the hospital, the clot causing the problem had dissolved. The tests showed no blockage, the damage to my heart is minor, and recovery will be 100%. In a few weeks I’ll be back running again.

What’s the bright side of having a heart attack? Let me think. I can vividly describe what a heart attack—and all the subsequent testing, poking, and prodding--feels like. I can write what it’s like to ride in an ambulance, hang out in the ER, drag an IV around, and have a tanker truck of blood sucked from my arm. Of course, the paramedics, technicians, doctors, and nurses will make great characters for future stories.

And, if you’re going to make me see the glass half-full, I suppose the bright side is obvious. I’m still here to bitch, moan, and write it all down.


Danielle Joseph said...

Jan, you know I have to comment on #4 first. So glad that you're ok! That is very scary. I bet your speedy recovery is due to how healthy you are! I definitely see this experience working it's way into a future novel of yours. And Gizmo is adorable, so glad he's back!

Jennifer Echols said...

Jan!!! I'm so glad you're okay!

Jan Blazanin said...

Thanks. I'm feeling pretty good.