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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Heart Attack

I had a heart attack Wednesday morning, March 30th, hospitalized the same day, had CT Scan, Echo-cardiogram, and angiogram the next, and then released. I am alive.

With a blog about health, fitness, good eating, and “The Cure,” one would probably think discussion of this writer’s heart attack is counter intuitive. I had a stress related incident brought on by years of worry over the health of my husband and not enough cardio exercise. It is my diet that allowed me to leave the hospital in less than forty-eight hours after admission.

No burgers = No plaque

The doctor, a good physician, believed that my arteries would be clogged with plaque as heart attacks occur as a result of coronary heart disease (CHD). The odds were good that bad stuff filled my veins and after a confirmation from the scheduled angiogram a stint could be placed inside the artery to squish the gooey stuff to the walls allowing blood to flow again.

He assumed that I ate a Standard American Diet (SAD).

Having been a vegetarian off and on most of my adult life, I thought the stats would be on the side of stress event verses the CHD. The doctor listened to us—my husband and I—and did additional tests to look for any other possibilities.

The admitting nurse asked a series of personal questions—religion preference, diet, next of kin, and Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) agreements. When I told her I ate a Raw Vegan diet, she needed more information. She had not heard the term. I explained. She assigned a dietitian to speak to me.

It was like checking the box for vegetarian on my airline ticket. The standard rubber-chicken meal got tossed and someone was forced to wash an apple, and throw it into a box just for me. Same here.

The hospital dietitian understood vegan, vegetarian, and raw terms. It was the execution of such a diet challenged the capabilities of the hospital’s food system. She knew that my meals needed to be made fresh each day. We compromised on several fronts and came up with the final menu.

  • Breakfast: Hot Oatmeal, soy milk, grapes, melon, Hot herb tea.
  • Lunch: Salad with lettuce, cucumber, mushroom, tomato, canned kidney & garbanzo bean, and Balsamic dressing, Mixed fresh fruit bowl, Apple Juice.
  • Dinner: Salad with lettuce, cucumber, mushroom, tomato, canned kidney & garbanzo bean, and Raspberry dressing, Mixed fresh fruit bowl, Orange Juice.
  • Late Night Snack: Apple sauce, graham crackers

Understand this is the menu for every day—a true motivation for healing and going home. If I had stayed any longer than two days, I would have been forced to have food smuggled in to my room.