THE BLOG

Workin' It

As I am writing this post, I am accutely aware that in a month, I will be acknowledging a milestone in my life. Two years ago, while on my way home from the gym, I experienced physiological turbulence, unlike anything I have ever known. Imagine someone grabbing your jaw and squeezing with a steel grip. Like a compressed grape, liquid pours forth, accompanied by the most intense heart burn pain that might come after eating spicy Mexican or Italian food. Drum beat/heart beat pounding out a staccato rhythm. Clearly I was oxygen deprived, since I made the ill advised decision to drive home, call and cancel with a client and then, rather than call 911, drove myself to the hospital. I put myself and others on the road at risk. I advise no one to ever do what I did, but at the time, I was on auto pilot, or perhaps not piloting at all. In retrospect, I sense that Spirit was behind the wheel.

Once I arrived at the ER of Doylestown Hospital, I was in observation mode. It was as if I was a witnessing presence of this woman lying on a gurney in the midst of a heart attack. 'She' was joking with the nurse who told her, "You're going to hate me, but I'm only going to shave you on one side," as a razor was poised to groom me on the right side, with the possibility that the catheter that was to insert a stent would need to be threaded through my groin. The response was, "Couldn't you do a landing strip?" The nurse shook her head and said that I was on my own for that when I got home. It assured me that I would indeed be going home. Blessedly, that point of entry was not necessary and the stent went in through my wrist.

Back in my room on the cardiac care wing, which ironically was on the unit that had once housed those with mental health issues, on which I had worked many years ago as a social worker, I contemplated what had just occurred. It was one of those holy shit/holy shift moments. Not for a moment, did fear of dying arise. instead, I was more concerned about being incapacitated. I wondered if I would be able to engage in the activities I had before, such as exercise, sex and work. I was to find out that I was expected to engage in a rigorous cardiac rehab regimen, I could return to a less, stressful work schedule and, according to my rehab therapist, "If you can climb stairs, you can have sex." Good news all the way around. I have since engaged in all three, in case you are curious.

Dramatic changes have occurred in every area of my life. My relationships with people, my body, God, routine, work, creativity and healing have altered dramatically. The message that I have more work to do, since I am still here on the planet, was abundantly clear. Educating other women about heart attack symptoms is part of my mission now. Preventing what happened to me from happening to others is a goal.

Following cardiac rehab, I joined a new gym called Fusion In this no frills, but high impact, neighborhood place of healing, I feel at home. I laugh when I look around the room and see people young enough to be my kids, sweating it out, when in rehab, I was the youngster. My peers there were a good 20-30 years my senior. Back then, part of the motivation was, "If they can do it, I can do it." Now it is, that want my youthful body back. When I was in their age range, I had the itsy bitsy swimmer's bod, that I thought was invincible and invulnerable. Would that it was so. When on the machines or using the weights, I step back, as I had when I was in the hospital and observe this 57 year old woman who has immersed herself in more than just recovery from a heart attack, but full mind, body, spirit well-being.

She has in-fused herself with deep appreciation for her life as she's really workin' it.