My apologies in advance, this will be a bit of a long post...but I think it's worth sharing.
My Dad just turned 63 today. He spent the day in the hospital, he's been in since 2/3. He went in with a suspected heart attack, and it turns out he didn't actually have one, but he was dangerously close. His blood pressure was in what they called the widow Maker range, at 254/190.
He went under the knife Wednesday for a quadruple bypass. And is recovering rather well so far. The hardest thing I've ever endured was seeing my Dad in such frail condition after the surgery. He's always been my best friend, hunting buddy, and there he lays.
Why am I sharing this??? I'm getting there. Be patient.
Dad has been a smoker for 45 years, two packs a day for much of that time. Until about ten years ago when he actually did have a mild heart attack. He quit smoking for two months, then resumed. We're not sure why, but he did. He was then in an accident with his dump truck, he blacked out and hit a tree. Upon further testing, he learned he had a tumor on his brain. Wasn't cancer, and it's been removed, and hasn't blacked out since. But while in the hospital, he was told if he didn't quit smoking, he'd be dragging an oxygen tank around. And he ignored them. The COPD he's diagnosed with, and the high blood pressure be dammed.
Couple all these things with a poor diet, lack of good exercise, and here we are. He has had high cholesterol for years, never changed his diet. And here we are.
I dont tell this to whine or ask for pity. There's no place for that now.
Truth is, all blood pressure issues and heart related issues seem to run in our family. I have made it the longest without blood pressure meds. Or cholesterol pills. At 37 years old, I refuse to be another statistic In our family.
But, people, trucking is hard, we all know it. And the food choices on the road suck . And we all know about the hazards of smoking.
If you take nothing else from this drivel, take care of yourself. Eat real food, quit smoking if you do. It's really not worth it.
Stay ahead of your health, so you're around to enjoy life after driving.
Young guys and gals, Listen Up!!!!!
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Hoping the best for your Dad, hope he makes a quick and full recovery.
Edit: By the way tell him someone from Nashville TN, said Happy Birthday to him. And get well quick.Last edited: Feb 11, 2019
I've been there. I have CAD ... Carotid Artery Disease
I had a heart attack in a truck in Longview, TX in 2011. I was 51. I had a 100% blockage & an 80%. I have had stents put in 4 times for a total of six.
Bad diet & smoked for many years certainly didnt help. I stopped smoking in 1999. 20 years now. Hopefully, these stories will ring someones bell.
Those cigarettes are hard to quit. Yesterday in Los Angeles I walked past a woman that had just lit a cigarette. That fresh tobacco smell was wonderful and gave me the itch to smoke just one more. I quit cold turkey in 1984 with a 3 pack a day habit. I truly understand people that smoke and why it's so difficult to quit. My father died from emphysema and that is a long painful death.
Best wishes to your father.
To some of us, smoking was one of those "coming of age" things we looked forward to, right along with signing up for the military draft, a first sip of moonshine, drivers license at 16 yrs. old.Last edited: Feb 10, 2019
This really hits home for me. My dad has lived a similar lifestyle as yours. Same heart problems, quad bypass, stents, what not. I'm not here to pity party, but yesterday, after my wife finally nagged me enough I went to the hospital with heart palpitations that wouldnt go away. Chew, crap diet, high cholesterol. 35 years old. It was enough to scare me and I'm making changes as we speak.
I have spent approximately a year in the widowmaker range of BP, around 250 over 160 plus. The only saving grace is that the actual heart muscle in my case is a battleship. However I am fixing to see the cardiologist to update and evaluate a full panel to see if there is any damage done from that past year. The problem was traced to a broken bone and the associated failed pain management. Surgery fixed one problem and a 30 day period on altentanloll fixed the BP. I had been visited by nurses 4 times a week the last 6 weeks to examine BP with and without meds and going on 30 days without as of today. It's holding steady in the normal range.
I was a big time smoker in trucking because it was part of what was expected back then and part of stimulating the body to get through the long hours. Back in the days of no sleeper trucks running containers standing around all day awake only to fall asleep towards Baltimore at night. I solved the problem temporarily with a 40 count box of caffinee pills, then two boxes within a hour with coffee and then three. Fell asleep again. This time almost killing at least 4 construction crewmembers north of Doswell that had closed the highway in my face that night. The truck managed to lug and buck waking me up enough to get it off them.
Long story short, I quit smoking after 9-11. I bought them exclusively either Kings Mountain NC/SC or Indian Lands out west for the best carton prices. The reason I quit was one night after a long period of time in the rockies I got sick near casper. The symptoms were that of asthma, but the Casper ER could not detect actual problems other than preexisting damage later confirmed by MRI's (Plural, at 15000 dollars a ride...) here at home. It was necessary to quit. It was also necessary to give up the rocky mountains for a while. I took one smoke over 10 minutes and tested my vitals last year and found that they had already declined to where i needed medical care immediately. So, that's the end of that experiment. And the end of smoking.
When you consider the last 10 years to 15 years or so most all of that time is spent repairing damage where possible from trucking itself. Blindness, surgeries and so on. Pain management too. Among other things.
I can tell you that it is very possible to get better and heal to leave behind all the other crap that will try to kill you anyway. I prefer to be happy today and dead tomorrow in the mid 50's than to be 90 years old and kept alive by a system determined to extract whatever is possible out of my joyless existence. I have seen way too many people waste away in the later years with no meaning to life itself.
The worst part of everything is I have to deal with very strong specialtists in each of my medical issues. No longer am I going to a basic family doc or to a ER without a proven break etc to fix. The war on drugs has made a pariah out of me within the medical world as a legitimate pain patient. I would estimate approximately 60 to 80,000 has been spent in the last 3 months and pending this year and about half a million in the last 15 total plus. Cash and insurance. Sometimes insurances plural. That includes dental etc. I go through hundreds a month to the doctors that are actually actively fixing my current issues to improve and get better. Just like you take a big truck to the shop and have it fixed. I am actually on track to get active again in certain sports and horse as well as get back into limited tier two farm trucking at harvest later this year. That is how well things are going on my end.
I have had two people die in my community from smoking. One was killed by small cell cancer in lungs that drowned him right quick. The second had a seriously massive heart attack and was shipped to little rock 4 weeks ago for the heart hospital which is seriously elite keep him alive. He was not much past 50. He came home with dead heart muscle 2 weeks ago. I caught him standing on his walk about falling down all about breathing until the heart gained enough O2 to the body so he can move. He dropped dead from a massive MI and it felled him like a tree. I was one of the few to tend to the body minutes after we breached his door (Family member with key, took 20 minutes to get in. By then there is no point plus his final wish was DNR, do not resusticate. I generally do not do CPR on anyone down more than 5 minutes they will come back probably brain damaged or worse like a tomato plant. Alive but nothing there. We don't want that ever.
Life is something you live well each day and night. IF you enjoy anything about it you are doing good. But when it's your time, it's your time.
I know this post has been a little long on my end, but it is a trucker story of no doctors for a lifetime and then a period of many years with special doctors who have not quit on me just yet.
Seems many of us can relate to what you're going through with your father. It's a tough battle, but with discipline and persistence and your help along the way, he can have a comfortable life and enjoy his family for years to come.
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