The Beating of the Heart

The Beating of the Heart
By: Carli McKenny

Sitting in the doctor’s office, the room is silent and you’re waiting to hear that faint knock from the doctor letting you know they are entering the room. With the stethoscope placed around their neck like an accessory to dress up their scrubs they get to listen to your heart beat while doing your annual checkup. As a child I always wanted to have one of those so I could listen to the magical sound that brings everyone and everything together. The beating of the heart. Heart health has impacted my family and me tremendously. I remember waking up in the middle of the night at home a few years back hearing my mom and dad talking loudly. I didn’t know what was going on and then my mom explained to me that my best friend’s dad has just suffered from a cardiac arrest. They found him unconscious in the grass. They started CPR and rushed to find cell service at their cabin to call 911. There was no pulse at all. When the ambulance arrived they quickly got him into the vehicle and started rushing him to the nearest hospital. While he was in the ambulance they shocked him with a defibrillator a few times and then boom boom… his heart began again. They kept him hospitalized for a few days to run test on him. I remember saying prayers for him every night before I would go to bed. I grew up around him and the thought of him gone is beyond what words could describe. He is like my second dad. He had surgery a few days later and got an implantable cardioverter defibrillator put in. So now it monitors his heart tempo so if it ever stops again it will automatically send a shock to the heart to restart. I asked him what it feels like when his defibrillator goes off and he said, “It’s like somebody’s kicking you in the chest. Or like a horse kicking you. You can definitely feel it. It gives you a good jolt.” He also mentioned that his defibrillator has gone off around 5 times since his cardiac arrest a few years back.

Having something so traumatic happen in life really does make a difference. It makes you aware of how quickly life can be taken. My Uncle recently just had open heart surgery. He was riding his bike one day getting ready for a huge back packing trip with his family and could barely ride his bike for 5 minutes without almost passing out and having abysmal chest pain. He called his doctor and they took him in right away. After many test and scans they figured out he had two arteries that were 99% blocked. They couldn’t do a stent because they were worried about how close the congested artery was to his heart that they went in and cut out a piece of his mammary artery and attached the pieces to the arteries that had a blockage and made a detour around the blocked artery so the blood could continue flowing. He is now in great health and took the postponed back packing trip in early October of 2012.

Another close friend of my dad’s also has suffered from bad heart heath. He was at home watching TV after work and was having terrible chest pain. It got so bad his wife took him to the hospital where she worked. They rushed him into the Emergency Room and when they got him into a room they hooked him up to the EKG heart monitor. He said that the doctor went out one door and back in the other with the cardiologist and he knew something was wrong. They explained to him that he was having a mild to moderate heart attack and started running test. One artery was completely blocked and another one was also blocked. They scheduled him for surgery right away and put two stents in his heart to unblock the arteries to continue the blood flow. His heart attack occurred four years ago and has been in great shape ever since. He works out every day and eats foods that are better for your health.

A lot of close friends and family have suffered from heart health. After all these incidents arising really close to one another it made my family realize that we should start being cautious of our health as well. My father is 56 years old and his friends who I have written about are around the same age. His brother is younger which has opened his eyes to the precaution’s he needs to be taking to start living a more healthful life style as he gets older. My dad has had high cholesterol for a while and so his doctor put him on medicine to lower his high cholesterol level, which is supposed to help prevent cardiovascular disease. He is also exercising regularly now and goes on bike rides and bike marathons for fun and for the workout. My family has started being aware of the foods we eat and have made the change to start eating more foods that are better for your health.

I feel with my uncle suffering from much more than just his open heart surgery and a lot of the people I have grown up around with different heart health issueshave made me very aware of the things I eat. I make sure to exercise daily to maintain a more healthful lifestyle and I think that many others that experience family or friends having bad heart health will also start making the change so they don’t have to experience what they have. Living a healthy life style isn’t a sacrifice it’s a choice that I think everyone should make for the sake of the one thing that keeps them alive… the beating of the heart.


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