Monday, February 6, 2017

A Life Changing Event by Melinda Curtis

Authors are a different breed of people. We play what-if scenarios in our heads and really torture our characters emotionally. But we're also human and we tend to avoid playing negative what-if scenarios about our personal lives, because let's face it, that would be scary.

A few years ago, my husband and I went on a cruise with my older brother. Now, my brother is about
50 pounds overweight and has a bucket list, which he developed at age 50. The way he figured it, he was stressed out by a job he couldn't afford to quit, overweight because he commuted 3 hours a day, and out of shape because he had no time to work out. He didn't think he'd live to see 60. I have to admit, Mr. Curtis and I have often said he's a heart attack waiting to happen. So if he asks us to go on vacation somewhere, we generally say yes. And occasionally, I worry about my brother being a single dad. What would happen to him if he had a heart attack? Could his daughter take care of him? Could he take care of himself? Would I have to?

Now, I work from home and I eat a fairly healthy diet (coffee with creamer shouldn't count when you're a writer). I can be found at the gym 5 mornings a week and I drag my husband there, too. Granted, Mr. Curtis is something of a slacker - more upset to break a sweat than to think he's exercising without burning the optimal calories (the mindset of a college athlete - "I'll burn it off during the day."). And granted, Mr. Curtis achieved Gold Status at Starbucks because he swings by there every morning on his way to work (a 8 minute commute). And if McDonald's had a frequent buyer program, he'd probably have status there, too (did you know in the summer they offer any size soda for 99 cents? he does).

So imagine my surprise when my brother turned 58 last year, hadn't lost weight, kicked the bucket or had a heart attack, and is still adding to his bucket list. Further, imagine my surprise when Mr. Curtis and I are at the gym one morning before this last Christmas and my honey suffers a "heart event" (not as serious as a heart attack). Turns out, that event was life saving because it led to a cardiologist finding two arteries blocked 95%. Hhmmm. I never played the "what-if my unhealthy eating husband has a heart attack" game.

These past five weeks have been eye-opening. I've discovered I'm of an age where serious illness and health setbacks can bring the what-if game into the bed at night (why did I never notice that crack starting in the corner of the ceiling before?). I'm setting phone alarms for meds and cutting pills to the prescribed dosage (I used to do this for my father). I'm sitting on park benches during walks because someone needs a rest (again, something I did with Dad). I've cleaned out my fridge and pantry of offending products, and bought new cookbooks. Sodium and bad fats are now the devil's work. Whereas before I'd only raise an eyebrow if Mr. Curtis filled half his plate with the entree I'd made, now I'm the Plate Police - enforcing the 50% fruit/vege, 25% entree rule!

Frankly, I wasn't ready for this stage of life (who ever is?). I'd just gotten used to being an empty-nester. And I realize that Mr. Curtis will work his way back to the gym and still be a slacker. And I'll love him during every complaint he utters. (Well, maybe not every complaint.)

Have you ever had a life changing event you didn't expect in your life? A birth? A death? An illness? A setback? Would love to hear about it!

Melinda Curtis is an award-winning USA Today Bestseller. Her latest releases are Marrying the Single Dad from Harlequin Heartwarming and The Bridesmaid Wore White, novella #5 in her romantic comedy Bridesmaid series. Her next Heartwarming release arrives in April - Love, Special Delivery.

31 comments:

  1. Melinda, I am so sorry about your husband's heart event, but how fortunate that it led to the discovery of the blocked arteries. I trust that eating healthy and continued exercise will bring him back to full health...and will likely benefit you, too.

    I wish you all the best with your current and upcoming releases. Keep the wonderful books coming!

    And, of course, I wish you and Mr. Curtis full health and continued happiness!

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  2. I'm glad Mr. Curtis (and your brother) are doing so well. My husband is recovering from his second knee replacement this week. Although retirement from day jobs has been full of surprises--some of them life-changing--the health changes have been the biggest.

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    1. Mobility - another thing we all take for granted!

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  3. Hi Melinda, Yes, those life events happen more as we age. sigh. But how thankful you are that they found the blocked arteries. And what a wonderful wife you are to fix all the good healthy meals.

    I've so been there in a ten year bout with all the elders and some friends to care for. It is tough. Kudos to you to be able to continue to write. I kind of slacked off the writing and that has hurt my writing career, but hey, I've always been thankful that i had the time to help out and be there for them. smile Happy writing. Stay healthy yourself and get lots of rest.

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    1. Sandra, I had a 4-5 year sabbatical where I didn't publish (other than to indie pub). Took writing courses and took care of my dad. If it's a passion, you'll find your way back when people don't need you as much

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  4. Mel, it would probably be rare for anyone to get through life without one or more life-changing events. They hit when least expected. Like everyone has said, so glad your dh's event led to learning what needed to happen to keep him healthy. I hope your brother takes heed, too.

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    1. Big hug, Roz - I know you've been through some events yourself

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  5. So glad Mr. Curtis is on the mend. Ah, those life-changing events. I nearly lost my younger son a few years ago and I still tend to be easily concerned about him. However. Thank goodness he and your husband came through and are with us now. I know what a challenge cooking differently can be. My dh is gluten-sensitive, which has changed my meal planning for sure. Stay strong!

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  6. I try not to play "what-if" scenarios in my head, either. But you're right--everything can change in a moment! My dad had a few heart events, too, and now he's the guy who needs the rest on the bench. It's tough. Your husband is lucky to have a Plate Police in you. :)

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    1. Patricia, I suppose someone has to do it

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  7. Mel' I am so glad Mr. Curtis found out about his problems before major things happened. We certainly never know what we may be faced with. Our lives were running smoothly until last year when my mother fell and required hip surgery. The long anesthesia through her in a dementia state and our lives have not been the same since. She has never been able to come home but now lives in a memory care facility. We never know!

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    1. Oh, Melanie! I'm so sorry to hear about this. Hugs to you!

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  8. Hi, Mel! So sorry you have to deal with this already, but taking early charge of it will keep your husband - and you - healthier longer. I think your attitude and approach are the way to go - stay calm and positive and do all you can to take good care of him. And I swear you can have as much fun within five miles of home as you can on the open road. I'm happy your brother is still with you. You see people like that all the time - somehow beating the odds and you just pray that good fortune stays with them.

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  9. Ohhh, yes, I have been through this. I took care of my sister for many years until she passed away last April and although I was grieving and depressed for a long time, I think I did my best for her. In yours and Mr. Curtis's situation, there is much to be thankful for. You and other people were around when the heart incident happened so help was immediately available. Modern medicine is a wonderful thing. His health can be improved by medication, diet, and exercise. Best of all, he's got you!

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    1. Patti, you were a wonderful caretaker for your sister. May some of your patience rub off on me

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  10. Mel, like a few people commented above, hopefully this is the wake up call your husband needed. Maybe your brother will take note, too? I'm always amazed at the curve balls life throws. You're going along just fine making plans and working toward goals and then - BOOM - everything you thought or planned or hoped for all goes by the wayside. Thankfully, that one door closing and a window opening thing often seems to hold to true. Praying for you guys.

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  11. I'm so glad your DH is doing better. Nothing worse than those wake-up calls. :( Hope things continue to go well and if you need more recipes, you know where to find me. :)

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  12. Thank goodness that event led to catching the blockages, and for what my dad called Rotorooter surgery to remove them. Your husband is lucky to have you in his corner.

    My husband had a temporary life-changing event when I broke my leg last year and he had to take over everything. He did great, although I'm sure he'd prefer never to repeat it and I got a little tired of his favorite meal, split-pea soup.

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    1. LOL, Beth! I bet you were an understanding patient!

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  13. glad to hear your husband is recovering.

    being diagnosed with three different chronic, incurable autoimmune diseases during the past 20 years had brought several setbacks, but I'm still here

    denise

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  14. Melinda,
    I've gone back and reread your earlier post about your father's caretaker as dh and I help his dad. And, I'm your brother and it affects my family as there are sometimes as many as six days in a row where I don't cook because I'm swinging from one commitment to another. I want to slow down. Great post.

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  15. I'm happy to hear your husband is doing okay, Melinda. Often those warnings are lifesavers. Over twenty years ago, I'd just turned thirty, I went to bed feeling completely normal and woke to found myself paralyzed from a ruptured disc. I learned to never take my health and simply being able to get out of bed, for granted.

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  16. So glad your husband is doing okay. I remember seeing the picture you posted on FB about his heart event.
    About 15 yrs. ago my husband had a routine physical and got called back in. Long story short the doctor thought he might have leukaemia. A bone marrow test and trip to a cancer hospital in NY finally ruled it out. He's still watched, but seems to be fine. That was SO HARD ON ME. I have to deal with several health issues that slow me down, but I take one day at a time and do the best I can.

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  17. So glad your husband is better and you found the blockages. I know I'm looking at knee replacement surgery in the future and I dread it.

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  18. So glad your husband is okay! Glad they were able to take care of the problem before it became a BIG problem! Love love love your new cover. Congrats!

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  19. Hugs, Mel, on the family health scares! We have heart disease in my family history so it's always on my mind. Your post is a great reminder to take care of ourselves!

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