A Healthy Heart, a Happy Family
By: Hai Trieu
Imagine a young, frail woman, vending sweet pudding all morning on the street until her back crouches down in pain just to save up enough money to take her sick husband to the hospital. Imagine her, excitedly running back home just to find her love’s body hardened, curled up on their bed, lifeless. Imagine her family, a hapless widow raising two young children and struggling to survive every day. This was how I first knew about cardiovascular diseases; the poor family was a close friend of my own and the death of the father due anextreme case of open heart valve brought me a completely new perspective of the importance of heart health.A strong heart not only keeps a person alive but also keeps a family happily together.
Growing up as a child, I was living in a constant fear of heart failure. My mom was diagnosed with severe heart problems not long after the incident; my world seemed to crumble before me. The news devastated me as I watched her body slowly deteriorated. There were times in which my mom was transferred to the hospital for weeks in order to acquire close medical attention. Her body swelled up; the breath shortened and she couldn’t even perform any physical activities. Nevertheless, that period passed by and my mom’s conditions ceased to occur due to the intense care for her health and her heart. Even though she could no longer hold my hand and scream with me as I ride my favorite roller coasters or watch a suspenseful movie with me in the dark, my mom is now strong and happy; she can perform tasks like any other human beings. Her heart might be weak but it is safe and secure. My family can also now travel together and share memories without any hindrance.
The importance of heart health not only keeps my family intact but it also widens our opportunities for the pursuit of happiness. Our healthy hearts granted us the strength to leave Vietnam and travel to this foreign land called the United States. Despite the hardships and tumultuous circumstances of the down spiral economy that waited for us in America, our strong hearts were what kept us going. Because of the awareness and care for their cardiovascular activities, my parents became as capable as any other normal human to go out and seek for jobs that would sustain our family. Even though my dad finally got hired as a custodian and my mom a seamstress with a very low income, our family was happy, happy that we could enjoy these ups and downs together, happy that we are alive and well no matter how strenuous our lives can be.
As a biomedical science student, I can also recognize and construe how the importance of a healthy heart has impacted me. During the late night hours of studying for quizzes and exams, a cup of coffee or two would be absolutely essential; however, with the genetics make up inherited from my parents, the overdose of caffeine that I once took caused my heart to beat rapidly to the point that I almost had a heart attack. Thereafter, keeping my heart functionary is one of my highest priorities in order for me to achieve success and happiness.