Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Day I Learned To Live

Warning! This is not the normal farcical blog you get from me.

It started like most days do. I was heading out to do a job about an hour away, just cruising along in my van, when everything changed. At first it was a pain in my jaw, then discomfort in my shoulder, then dizziness and I knew something was very wrong. The little article I read on Yahoo the night before said if you were feeling these symptoms, you very likely were in the early stages of a heart attack. In the midst of panic, I pulled to the side of the freeway and dialed 911. Trying to calm myself and not pass out, I waited for the ambulance to arrive, hoping and praying that they would be there in time, begging God not to let my son grow up without his Dad. Then I had to be call enough to call my wife and wake her with the news of something that has always been in the back of her head: her “unhealthy” husband riding in an ambulance to the hospital. I can only imagine the thoughts that crossed her mind.

They took me into the ambulance and hooked me up to the EKG machine, took my blood pressure and my pulse. Good news…no active heart attack…but my BP was really high and my heart rate was above normal. Paramedic said “your call, but what would your wife tell you if she were here.” Off to the hospital we went. Blood draws, urine tests, doctors and nurses asking me questions, until finally the result: “Mr. Pacheco, have you ever been diagnosed with high blood sugar? Your blood sugar was over 500 upon arriving at the ER, and it appears you have Type 2 Diabetes.” I was admitted for observation, a stress test and diabetic treatment.

I would be lying if I said I was surprised. In the back of my mind there’s been this feeling that I was headed for this, but as stupidity seems to have invaded my life, I failed to change before I hit the wall. They say for addicts and abusers you have to hit rock bottom before you can change. Truth be told, I am and have been for a great deal of my life, a food abuser, and this is the rock bottom for food abusers like myself. I ignored doctors, family, and friends, continuing on a destructive path of obesity, food abuse, and overall poor health. Now for my sake, and the sake of the people that rely on me, I must change. I must become a healthier, happier me and in turn provide a solid example for my son and his future sibling(s) to look up to and learn from.

It’s been three weeks since the scare of my life and I am happy to report that I am on the path to wellness. I know that this will be a long journey with potholes and hazards but, gladly, less likely dead ends. One thing that has become clear to me is how poorly I was treating my temple, the one tangible visible gift that we are given. I’ve shed just over ten pounds, and eat things that actually sustain me as they should. I don’t feel starved or deprived and I miss very little of the foods that put me on the path to destruction. When I do feel like eating those destructive things the choice becomes an easy one: life or death.

I’m learning to control my sugar through diet and medication, but I hope that one day in the not too distant future I will be able to control it through diet and exercise (a work in progress). Every day is a learning experience in my life as a diabetic, but every new day brings a sense of hope that I can live a long and full life because I know I have the power to make a difference in my own health. Please don’t pity my condition for I brought this on myself, and I can bring myself back. Today I continue on this path to recovery so that tomorrow I can see what the world has in store. This begins the journey of a diabetic!