Have A Heart
By: Rebekah J. Streck
I see how you look at me with a mixture of pity and disgust, judging my gray tissue and plaque filled arteries. You handle me with less care than the healthy hearts and I don’t appreciate it. Do you know why I am this way? Let me tell you about the man who was supposed to take care of me.
Personally, I think the man hated me. He became overweight early in life, developed type-two diabetes, failed to lower his blood pressure, and on top of everything, smoked. If only my owner made a few lifestyle changes, I would not have become fed-up and quit after thirty-two miserable years.
Let me first address the thing I hated most, the smoking. Every puff of each cigarette resulted in me pumping harder and faster. The smoking caused the blood I pumped to become less oxygen rich and made my blood vessels clog. Quitting smoking would have put much less stress on me. Not only was I stressed, but so was my owner. His high stress level plus the smoking resulted in high blood pressure. Multiple changes along with quitting smoking should have been made to lower his stress. Better time management, taking fifteen to twenty minutes to relax and perform breathing exercises or taking yoga classes would have helped me out a lot (American Heart Association). Also, developing supportive relationships with family, friends, and coworkers is a simple way to reduce stress. At least he could have monitored his blood pressure at home which has been proven to help control blood pressure.
Fast food restaurants served as the man’s personal kitchen. Double patty, bacon adorned burgers or crispy, deep fried chicken sandwich value meals accompanied by greasy fries formed the staples in his diet. He needed to check the nutritional values of the meals on the restaurants’ websites to choose the healthiest meals, but he did not. Asking for single patty burgers with no bacon or grilled chicken sandwiches with whole wheat buns with no extra sides would have made my day. What would have tickled my graying tissue back to pink would have been if the man cooked at home instead of going out.
Buying rich-colored fruits and vegetables (spinach, carrots, berries) that supply essential vitamins and high fiber fruits and vegetables (peas, apples, oranges) would have persuaded me not to quit working. Whole wheat breads, more fish, lean cuts of meat, fat-free milk, egg whites, and proper proportions would have also kept me pumping longer. A heart healthy diet would not only have made me happy but also kept the man at a healthy weight and prevented him from developing type-two diabetes. At least the man could have taken vitamins and supplements to boost me (American Heart Association). Swallowing a couple pills is not difficult. Supplements of omega-3 fatty acids would have made me jump with joy.
Another change my former owner should have made to his lifestyle was his amount of physical exercise. Simple changes at home such as cleaning the house himself instead of hiring a maid and using a walking lawn mower instead of his riding one would have helped. Parking farther away from store entrances, and walking to his neighborhood mailbox instead of driving are two more ways to help manage his weight. Starting with these household tasks, he then should have worked up to exercising regularly for at least thirty minutes a day. At work, walking up the three flights of stairs to his office would have provided great exercise for the man. Walking down the hall to talk to coworkers instead of telephoning them, creating an exercise accountability plan with a coworker, and taking a walk during his lunch break are three more ways for him to be active during the work day. My former owner hated rush hour traffic, in fact it increased his blood pressure. The solution to both high blood pressure and exercising daily laid only two buildings away at the local YMCA. Walking to the YMCA and exercising during the busy traffic would have killed two birds with one stone.
Now you know all about the relationship between my previous owner and me. If only he quit smoking, reduced and monitored his blood pressure, drank less, ate better, and exercised I would not have quit on him. Humans see the heart as the organ of love. Well, I didn’t love my owner because he did not take care of me. Now, please quit staring at me, put me down, and go take care of your own.
"Lifestyle Changes for Heart Failure." American Heart Association: Learn and Live. American
Heart Association, 20 Aug. 2012. Web. 20 Dec. 2012. www.heart.org.