So What’s Your Plan Now (a true story about my dad)


(My dad and I at a  10 course meal this summer at our house.  Rouge Chef Chris-Rachel Oseland stayed with us and raided our pantry to create this feast.)

So What’s Your Plan Now ? (a true story about my dad)

This is a question I asked my dad as he was laying in an E.R. hospital bed yesterday complaining of chest pains.  He has had an on going cold for over a month, and feels he just started another one today.

He was feeling much better after some nitroglycerin and 4 baby aspirins.  They ran a myriad of tests on him, and then left him in his room unattended (mom was there thank goodness) for 2 hours waiting for tests results, and for the doctor to give the go-ahead to go home.

He tells me, ‘This is going to probably cost over $20,000 for E.R. time, and all the tests.’  I’m sure he is right, because it will be billed to Medicare (insert disdain for the insurance world).  I had just got done teaching my Wednesday night Yoga Class, was in the middle of eating my dinner – (the uze, bananas, peanut-butter, almonds, protein powder and nutmilk) while talking to my dad at 7:30pm, way past all our normal dinner times.

Then I asked him – ‘So what’s your plan for now?’  meaning, how do you plan on taking care of yourself after a scare like this?  I don’t think some people realize that when they take their health for granted, it not only affects them, but it seriously trickles down to EVERYONE!  We are all connected!!!

Let’s break it down.  My mom, stressing out, sitting next to him hooked up to all kinds of monitors etc… Her mind is racing, ‘What if…..???????’ She might think of her other widowed friends, her home, I’m sure us kids, but mostly…’What will I do if my mate dies?’  Her Cortisol levels must be peaking out.

Dad has a perfect job for himself, I actually dreamed he would get this job before he moved here 8 years ago.  He is the bus driver for the Senior Center.  He picks up little old ladies for hair appointments, and takes them inside the beauty salons, and picks them up when they are done.  They go to doctor appointments, and even picks up a little boy after school sometimes.  Relationships have grown here, and he’s a little celeb in town.  He’s a happy guy (most of the time) and hangs his fist on his hip and throws his head back for a hearty laugh often.

He’s the head haunch driver and tells all the other drivers their schedules and goes to big meetings trying to get funding for garages, wheel chair lifts for the vans and helps with the grant work.  He sees that the vans are running properly, and has a butt load of paperwork to manage along with the people he delegates and cooperates with in the senior center.  His job affects many on many different levels, and alllll the other people interconnected to the other bus drivers, the passengers, the hair stylists, the doctors, the receptionists at the clinics, the guy at the gas station, the ladies in the kitchen.  SO MANY PEOPLE.

Back to my question…’So what’s your plan for now?’  What I am meaning when I ask this question, and maybe I should have just said it….. – What’s your plan for your health after a scare like this?  The way my dad answers is straight from the gut…’I’m waiting for the doctor to come by to release me, then we are going to go out for Chinese.’  Yup that’s my dad.  I explained what I meant in my question and suggested swimming.  They live 2 blocks from the pool!  He is even a board member at the pool after they swam pretty constant for about a month or two, then came up with excuses to not go.  Again more people affected by his health choices.  He agreed he gets up real early because he can’t sleep, and the pool does open early.  Maybe there is hope?

I talked to mom later about the test results.  She said the doctor came in and said, ‘you need to lose weight and exercise.’  Are these such buzz words by doctors that no one really listens?  I wasn’t even there, but if I had a scare like that, just wasted $20,000 in the insurance scam world, and had OPTIONS – It would be a NO BRAINER.  4 years ago he gave us a similar scare with a  life flight to Billings with blood clots that were in his legs, and breaking loose into his chest.  Same advice, lose weight, exercise.  It happened again, another E.R. scare with blood clots.  I’m sure the same advice.

I know eating healthier seems expensive at first (especially where we live), and it’s an excuse I know my parents use.  One time my mom teased my dad about being a big spender and bringing home organic bananas.  I think his response was something it was all they had, or all the others were too ripe.  But as I ate my banana uze while dad told me he figured his medicare bill would be $20,000 – I figured, it just pays me to eat this way.

So I just want to get across to my readers, realize the way you take of your body isn’t just for your rewards of feeling better every time you get out of a chair, or out of bed, or putting on your clothes, or walking up a flight of stairs.  You are saving your seat at the Thanksgiving Dinner Table for many more years.  You are keeping the lives of others who depend on you for love, support, guidance, and friendship more stable, more relaxed, and abundant on many levels.

Take care of yourself for you, and those who love you…please dad.

Love, Me

By Suzi Shelhamer

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