Matters of the Heart

Erin Fangboner essays

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As a wife, I worry about my husband. It's just what women do. Mostly, I find myself worrying about his health, specifically is heart. His father had his first heart attack when he was 32. My husband is 35. I also have heart issues. My mother has heart issues. My father died of heart complications. It’s the elephant in the room when we talk about health. What role does genetics play? Is he doomed to have heart attacks or is he able to reverse it? Truthfully, heart issues scare the crap out of me, with good reason. My father died suddenly and very unexpectedly from a heart attack.

One day my father was there, the next he wasn’t. Actually, it was almost like one hour he was there and the next he was gone. He had just gotten a clean bill of health from his doctor. He had been working hard to lower his cholesterol. My father was a steak and potato man through and through. For him to cut back on red meat and starches was a big deal.

I had called him the day he died. Sometimes we would have lunch together on both our work breaks. It was nice. Just the two of us. He was a man I could talk to about anything. I always left our lunches with warm, fuzzy feelings.

On that particular day, our lunch plans weren’t going to work out. He had plans and I couldn't take my break when he was going. When I went on my break I really missed not seeing him that day. I was just easing back into work after lunch when I got a phone call from my mother, “Your father had a heart attack, and an ambulance took him to the hospital. Meet me there.” This was surreal. I just talked to him two hours ago. I cried the whole way to my boss's office. It wasn't even out of my mouth before she said “Go!” I tried to be positive. People have heart attacks and live. It happens. The only thing is, not in our family. My father's entire side died before age 45 from heart attacks. The women mostly died from alcoholism. I knew in my heart of hearts he was gone.

My parents lived with this fear throughout their whole marriage. I couldn't imagine what that was like when I was young. How do you live your life like that? So, what did I do? I married a man whose families heart history was just as bad as ours was. My father-in-law has had several heart attacks now. He just had stents put in and open heart surgery.

My husband financially supports our family. It terrifies me to think what would happen if…

My husband is very aware of our health issues. He does think about it. He rides his bike to work, and tries to make it a workout when he can. But we don't always eat healthy, take multivitamins or visit our doctor regularly. I also have health issues that need to be addressed. When it comes to our budget, we aren’t always at the top of our list.

I know that we have to start caring about our health more. Our daughter is our whole world, just as we are hers. To loose my husband, the father of my child, would be devastating, and not just to me. Fathers have a unique relationship with their daughters. It is not replaceable, I know. I had my father to walk me down the aisle. I want that for my daughter.

In the end, taking care of ourselves, shows we care about others. Taking care of our heart, embodies the love we give.

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About the Author

Erin Fangboner

Life with Chronic illnesses while also being a parent and a wife and how all the little things turn into big things , so it all matters! One kid One husband , we live with my brother in law, three dogs, three cats…. Insanity. I worked in Early childhood education have also worked in Misdemeanor Probation. Working full time and keeping house and being a parent became too much about two years ago. I have been trying to find my way back to me since then. Some of that has been through writing on my blog, .

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