Champion of Hearts
** Personal** As we come to the middle of February, I always get contemplative. I always make efforts to donoutresch about Heart Health Awareness in my Community. Many ask why I’m doing what I do. For school? For a project? I tell them “No, just so people can benefit from the information and screenings”.
Why am I so passionate about #hearthealthawareness ? I have a mother, who is an experienced telemetry and labor & delivery nurse, who had to have a CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Graft, and open chest procedure), quite unexpectedly, in the CVICU where I work. She was 45 at the time. It was terrifying and came out of nowhere. I felt helpless, standing on the sidelines as all the people I had worked with for years took my mother’s life in their hands. I knew they were the best of the best. They taught me everything I knew about cardiovascular care and surgery, but I was terrified nonetheless. ⠀
All during her surgery, I could only imagine and replay the details of the unfortunate Post-CABG cases I had cared for. People who were like her, and came in hoping for the best, who never left. A CABG is a huge deal, it is a surgery where a lot can go wrong, but that we typically had good outcomes with on our unit. She hadn’t even actually had a heart attack, but had those strange signs that indicated that there was compromised circulation. A blockage at the bifurcation of a major vessel indicated surgery as the best option to ward of a MAJOR cardiac event! This was almost 2 years ago and she is doing much better, though her healing process has not been easy or straightforward, despite the changes she worked hard to make. ⠀
This event was a reminder that my mother was mortal. That she might not always be here. That’s a terrifying and humbling concept to grasp. I felt stupid, I knew that no one lives forever. However, I had never considered the possibility, no the eventuality, that a world could exist where my mother and all those I hold dear wouldn’t be there.⠀
So I support heart health awareness because I know the humbling power of cardiovascular disease. I’ve seen it both try and succeed in taking the mightiest of men and women. I’ve felt the grim reaper standing in the corner, waiting to claim his prize, even when that prize was someone I loved. At many times in my career I’ve growled that he can’t have my loved ones, he can’t have those under my care, that he can’t just swoop in and make my life difficult. Sometimes he has listened, but other times he has not. So I work tirelessly, as a nurse, as a son, as a neighbor, and as a friend to help others see him, the reaper, lurking in the shadows. I know that each time I help someone improve their knowledge and be aware of their health, that I am helping distance them from the great adversary of all healthcare workers and humankind, death. ⠀