Teacher Tales: On Being Grateful
I am a blessed man… or at the very least, very lucky. I feel as though I’ve used up more lives than that proverbial cat with nine at his disposal. The latest and perhaps, closest brush I’ve had with an untimely demise came around two months ago. I had a heart attack, and did not know I did. There were no signs; there wasn’t any indication of what had happened to me. I thought I had a cold of some sort,or another. I was tired, and did not feel the same energy I usually felt, but again, I thought it just stemmed from symptoms of a flu bug. However, I soon found out that I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Medical professionals analyze our heart’s working ability through a measurement called an “ejection fraction”. A normal, healthy ejection fraction is somewhere between 55 to 70%. When I finally made it to the emergency room, mine was at a paltry 24%. I was near death. Fortunately, I drew a fantastic group of doctors who promised to get me healthy again. Besides the wonderful doctors, my wife was a rock solid, tower of strength and resolution. Although she was frightened, she still managed to somehow overcome her fears and helped me lessen my anxiety.
This episode has taught me to be grateful for things above and beyond the daily blessings we all have: somewhere to live, food on our tables, and people who love us. Now, of course I knew about being grateful long before this episode, but the reality of it for me was the actual realization of just how grateful I am for people like Dr. Nguyen, Dr. Shah, Dr. Berry, and Dr. Monfil. I am grateful for their kind and caring expertise. I am happy to have developed a solid doctor/ patient relationship with each of them, but most importantly, I am grateful to be alive.
After 17 days and recovering from the placement of four stents in my artery, there was nothing like leaving the hospital and feeling the warm sun on my face through the open car window. This spring has been more significant than any other spring I’ve enjoyed. The birds seem to sing more sweetly; the flowers are more beautiful and fragrant; the budding trees seem greener and more majestic than they ever have before. I have stood out on our deck just to watch the clouds go racing past far above me, and have felt joy and appreciation far beyond that I’ve felt before.
It is my wish for you, gentle readers, that you are able to discover the beauty and wonder that surrounds you, and realize that you too, have many facets of your life to be grateful for. God bless, and take care.
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