My Heart and My Hearth

By Nadene Neale | | Heal with Dr. Neale

One of my husband’s BIGGEST pet peeves is when I chew in front of him. He cannot listen to me eat. It drives him simply nutty. The only time I can eat in front of him is when he is also eating and chewing. Over the dozen years we have been together I have learned to time my eating pace with his so he doesn’t finish before me and then have to listen to and watch me perform the horrific act of consuming food. Now I am an Italian from Jersey, but my mom taught me not to talk with my mouth full and not to chew with my mouth open. I am not a grotesque eating partner. To set the record straight, I have never had any complaints prior to meeting my husband or since for that matter.

On January 9th, 2016 my husband’s heart went all a-flutter. No it wasn’t because I was looking especially fit that day, but I like to think I did. It was rather that he was in the midst of a heart conduction anomaly termed atrial flutter or a-flutter for short. The nurse who called me was well spoken and calm as she described his regularly irregular rate of 280 bpm and that the advanced life support interventions used were successful at lowering his heart rate and returning his heart rhythm back to a normal sinus rhythm. I heard everything and nothing the nurse said. By the time she stopped talking all I could think to ask was, “wait, where is my husband?”

hospital-pic“At Legacy Emanuel Hospital in the Emergency Department,” she replied.

Here’s a stat to know by heart:

The US has the highest heart attack rate of any industrialized country in the world. Over 30% of those occur on Monday mornings.

Picture it, your last “Monday morning.”

As soon as you got to the office or woke up the household, you were productive and immediately resumed your work after the weekend pause (um, if you can call it that). is-it-mondayLub dub. Likely you weren’t feeling put out once you got rolling because we are natural workers. Like bees, we have a natural drive to build and produce and to contribute to the hive. Lub dub. Lub dub. We gravitate towards wearing hats, having roles, titles, duties, importance, and purpose. Lub dub, lub dub, lub dub goes your heart as it keeps pace.

It would seem that one hook we hang our self worth hat on is our greater contribution to not only our own hearth but also the greater hive to which we belong. Be it in or outside the home, work services an instinctual drive we have to build.

So we work and we build. Lub dub. Lub dub. We work and we build, both individually and collectively, at an ever-increasing rate.

Now try to say Lub dub 280 times in one minute. Yes, good try, you end up saying lubdubblelubdubbludlubdbleblooddub.

Today, through my new shiny set of lenses, life feels more fragile than it did on Jan. 8th, 2016. My husband, 38 years old, no previous heart conditions, fit as a fiddle, tall (quite), dark (sometimes), and handsome (very) was <insert closely pinched fingers here> almost a statistic.

I share this personal story with you because my goal in this nuYear as your trusted health care provider is to help you find and ask yourself those tough questions. The questions that are buried under the work and buried under the building plans. The questions that cannot wait to be answered. Tic toc. Lub dub.

Nota bene: I have noticed recently that my husband does NOT take notice of me chewing or eating. Apparently, he’s cured of that bother. Lub dub.