So many of us feel this way, slogging off to work every day, dragging ourselves back home, living for the weekends. “Back on the old treadmill,” some of us say.
Well, today, Dick got back on the old treadmill—literally—and in seven minutes was pooped out. But that was the idea since the treadmill is a test administered by the heart folks at Kaiser in Sacramento. And though we don’t know the results of the test yet, or the EKG he had before the treadmill test, we do know that Dick’s blood pressure remained good before and after—and that he felt strong and confident as he walked, even if it seemed as if he was hiking uphill part of the time. Because that’s what the test aims to do.
He’s also gone to three sessions with dietitians at Kaiser, including two classes that were advocating plant-based diets. We’ve been practicing mostly fish- and plant-based diets these days—with occasional forays into beef… including Dick’s only burger indulgence: the lean, mean buffalo burger. This, for a guy who in his prime as a newspaper photographer was a two-cheeseburger-a-day guy, is a pretty big deal, we think.
And he’s been good about avoiding most refined sugar. It also helps that he’s eating less than he used to, which has him down to a little less than 180 pounds now.
Dick is taking walks every day for a good 45 minutes at a pretty good clip—many of them without me now, though I love to join him when I can because walking Woodside is like walking in a park. (Local Sacramento folks, you are welcome to come walk with Dick and check out the newly refurbished duck pond in his ‘hood!)
In other words, he’s doing great!
Dick also wants me to include this photo:
Dick is the cook in our group. He’s great at baking fish and steaming veggies. But all this heart-healthy stuff has inspired me to get back into wok mode of chicken stir-fry in olive oil, which is a good way for both of us to eat our vegetables over a little brown rice. I find that if I make up a batch, that’s good for dinner for us both, plus leftovers for Dick the next day. Dick likes this photo because it’s not my usual spot in the house. I’d still rather sit on the sofa and work on a poem than cook, but I have to say that once all the veggies and chicken are cut up, the stir fry sure goes quickly. And, if I do say so myself, it’s pretty tasty, too.
And, in some of the best news of all, Dick’s been off the big league painkillers for two months now. He’s had comparatively little pain throughout this whole ordeal, and when we found the perfect sign as we walked Woodside one day—well, it just called for a photo.
On tax day, April 15, it will be the three-month-a-versary of Dick’s cardiac arrest. If there are only two sure things in life—death and taxes—Dick has experienced both this year… and, come to think of it, he did get a bit of a refund on both, the lucky duck. We will take a moment on the 15th and be grateful, once again, for his miraculous resurrection.