A New Normal by Megan
By: Megan Michelle Woodley
On most days, Clyde Wayman Woodley can be found either in his big red chair sitting next to his bride of over fifty years or in his shop woodworking. If he is not in either place, it is guaranteed he is in town running errands for his wife, Joyce. He was once the Vice President of First National Bank, but since his retirement, his only priority is taking care of Joyce. In Ardmore, Oklahoma, most everyone knows the "Woodley" name because of this man. One woman in town tells a story about a time she was stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire in the rain. Wayman, dressed in a suit, stopped and changed this stranger's tire without worrying about getting dirty in his suit. The woman told this story years later, and Wayman did not even remember the circumstance. Stories like this show the legacy Wayman has established. The legacy he has created for himself and his family was not made overnight. He has lived his life of eighty years by being a humble, hard-working, God-fearing man. A little known fact is that doctors told him he would die years ago. On November 3-4, 1994, Wayman had a heart transplant. They told him after the surgery he would have ten years to live. It has now been eighteen.
Wayman Woodley, Papaw, is a walking miracle. I was three years old when he had his heart transplant, and I was thirteen when the doctors predicted he should have died. I am now twenty-one years old and so grateful for the opportunity to have had so much time to know my grandpa. Heart disease has affected my life and my family’s lives in such a way that I will never take good health for granted. Papaw going for regular appointments to the family cardiologist has just been normalcy in my lifetime.
It is normal for me to see Papaw and Mamaw leave Sunday church service a few minutes early so Papaw can get home to take some medicine on time. It is normal for me to see Papaw’s medicine cabinet filled with multiple prescriptions that are mandatory for him to take daily. It is normal for me to see Papaw walk down his long driveway everyday to retrieve the mail from the mailbox in order to exercise his heart. It is also normal for me to cherish every single moment I spend with him. I will never take for granted my weekly lunches at Papaw and Mamaw’s house.
Papaw is my paternal grandfather, so my dad, Mark, gets his heart checked regularly. Dad has had issues with his blood pressure in the past, so he takes medication in order to regulate it. He also takes a few preventative measures including visits to the family cardiologist annually to get a stress test and make sure his heart is functioning properly, taking medication to keep good cholesterol up, watching for indicators of heart disease, and controlling his stress level.
Because of all the heart issues Papaw has had and the preventative measures my dad takes, I realize that I must be conscientious about my own heart health. I have also realized that heart health will always be a main priority in my life and my family’s lives. My family has not had the easiest road when it comes to health, but I firmly believe God has had His hand on my family the entire time.