health

John and I were going over the year last night, as one begins to do come Thanksgiving. Our assessment: nothing horrible happened. The roof is still over our heads. John got a small raise. My surgery went very well. Jo's college experience is tough but good--and boy has she grown as a person. And Lou is coming out of the turbulent years into something mellower. We'll call it good.

I hope your year has gone at least as well. I'm thankful for everyone who visits here. :)

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I'm recovering well from my heart surgery of the 19th. They ended up replacing the whole shooting match, so I'm all brand new in there--ICD unit, wires and everything. I stayed in hospital one night longer than anticipated and came home Sunday to wonderful friends and family who've cared for me since. Many brought dinner, and one friend essentially stayed with us most of last week while John returned to work.

Today is my first day alone with the girls. So far, so good. I took my first walk yesterday down the street, and I've got my pain medication down to Tylenol. I see the surgeon this afternoon and I don't expect to hear anything other than good things. Thanks for all the good wishes!

I'm going in for heart surgery this Friday the 19th, a procedure I've been dreading the better part of a year. It's minor as heart surgery goes. They're not opening my chest, for instance. But they are mucking about with it, and given my history I'm rather more than nervous.

I meant to make a note here yesterday but got distracted. ("ooohh, shiny...")

I have now lived ten years past my first heart attack.

First heart attacks usually kill women. My theory is because the "first" heart attack is not really their first. The earlier ones are misdiagnosed, usually as anxiety. Mine was, initially. I probably had two minor ones before the one that finally landed me in the CICU.

But I lived, because the doctor I butted heads with the most in the practice I saw then was also the most conservative. While the other doctors in the practice blew me off, he sent me to the ER and probably saved my life. Thanks, Dr Hudson. All is forgiven. ;)

My heart condition is unusual--just this side of rare. It's called Prinzmetal's, or variant, angina. It happens at rest, not during activity. My heart isn't clogged. It's cleaner than a lot of 30-year-olds' hearts. It just decides now and again to spasm so hard I have a heart attack.

Nevertheless, a heart attack is a heart attack. My symptoms were the same as a lot of women's. If you don't know them, learn the symptoms of heart attack in women. They are different for women than they are for men. Learn them if not for yourself then for the women in your life that you love--your grandma, your mom, your sister. And if you experience the symptoms, GO TO THE ER. When I went ten years ago, I was sheepish and sure they'd send me home shaking their heads at the stupid panicky woman.

They didn't.

So here's to ten years I wasn't sure I'd get. I'll keep celebrating a year at a time, the rest of my life.

3 Fun Activities to Stay Healthy This Winter

Keeping active during the season you'd ideally spend hibernating under the bedcovers is a challenge for parents and kids alike. But if the very idea of cold weather makes you shiver, take heart: You don't have to brave bone-chilling temperatures to stay healthy in winter. Many indoor activities can keep your brood fit during those long, chilly months. "The trick is to make activities about having fun, not about health or fitness," says Laura Williams, founder of the website GirlsGoneSporty.com. "Kids don't worry about reducing their risk of high blood pressure or diabetes. They identify with playing games and having a great time."

To keep your kids fit and healthy this winter, here are three ideas from our experts to keep things moving all season long.

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So remember how just last week I said we were focusing on "Sound Mind in Sound Body" for the New Year? Right after, JJ came down with pneumonia! He's doing well now, but it was kinda scary for a bit.

He stayed home one day, didn't feel right and decided to go into the doctor. I went with him and while I was sitting in the waiting room he texted me that he had pneumonia. (This modern age...) Into bed he went and stayed there for a couple of days.

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For years, our family motto has been "Emergency Rooms Suck." Not surprising, considering how often we were in them the years I was so sick. But we haven't been in an emergency room for any of our immediate family in years. (There was the unpleasantness in 2009 when I almost bled to death from a period that wouldn't end, but that was fairly minor.)

This year, JJ has decided we need a new motto: Mens Sana in Corpore Sano, Latin for "A Sound Mind in a Sound Body." This year we're going to change the focus from not being sick to being healthy.

Rain and wind so hard it rattled the windows woke me up early this morning. I heard John leaving for work, and wondered if he should be biking in weather like that.

Poor lamb! He forgot his keys, stopped to call me to bring them to him at work, and then discovered that the rain had flooded big chunks of Ladd's Addition. He was soaked nearly to the skin already and had barely gone a quarter of the way to work. He just came home and I drove him in, and as we were driving we realized that it wasn't raining, it was "slushing!" Big globs of barely-frozen snow. It is cold and miserable today, and I just want to curl up with my tea and knit the rest of these slippers. (Boy, I wish I had mine made already. I could use them today.)

But instead I ventured out to the new doctor.

Reader, she is everything I hoped she'd be. She listened, she proposed appropriate remedies, she not only believed me when I said my digestive problems seemed to bring on PVCs, she was actually able to explain *why* and suggest solutions. In the past all I've gotten were shrugs. "Well, you'll have to learn to live with it."

yay!

I hate change. Hate it, hate it. "May you live in interesting times" is the ultimate curse for me. I WANT BORING. The Middle East is driving me nuts right now. (And that last is facetious; I want those people to be free, and the current movement is just about the best news we could get because Mideast freedom--without US interference--robs Al Qaeda of recruits. I just wish things would slow down so I could catch up.)

Consequently, my decision to change doctors after nearly 25 years with the same practice is earth-shattering. But one misdiagnosis too many finally pushed me to leave. Our old doctor is more or less retired, the new ones don't know who we are and we never see the same one twice in a row.

John's been to the new doctor and has pronounced her good; she practices integrative medicine--natural as well as allopathic--and comes well-recommended. I'm seeing her on Monday for my way-overdue annual girly parts visit.

I don't wanna go. Because I really hate change.

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Drinking Water Everyday

Do you get your recommended 8 glasses of water in a day? I'm starting to try--- I've gotten 5 so far. I just dont like the taste of it. I add in Crystal Light lemonade to make it taste better, plus it is sugar-free and only has 5 calories. Does anyone else drink Crystal Light? What are your favorite flavors?

Also, do you have tips to drink enough water each day?

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