His Heart Attacked Him!

000funny farmI remember a hilarious scene in the 1988 movie Funny Farm with Chevy Chase, one of many scenes when I couldn’t start laughing.  My jaws and stomach hurt when that movie was over and I have seen it again several times since. The funny scene I’m talking about is the one when an elderly woman explained to Elizabeth (Madolyn Smith) that she was sitting in the very chair that her late husband was sitting in when his heart attacked him. 🙂

Well, it’s not so funny when it really happens – to you.

Ray had a mild heart attack several months ago.  Subsequent tests revealed he need immediate cardiac bypass surgery.

This is the guy that, during the previous week, had split a cord of wood.  We had no idea that this major hurdle was in our future.

Thanks to great doctors, nurses and facilities, I am happy to report that Ray is now better than ever!  His chest is healing, his strength is returning and our future, once again, looks wonderful!

But let me be honest and say that we didn’t know if all our dreams of building a homestead from scratch were gone.  And while we are being honest here, I have to admit I was a bit annoyed with my husband and the new pickle we were in.

You see, after I knew he was going to survive, I started thinking about our future and all the dreams that we had… that I had… that were probably going to have to be abandoned.  We knew years ago that Ray had high cholesterol, a family history of cardiac disease, etc., and Ray has been on cholesterol lowering drugs for years.  But, he also had a sedentary job (computer programmer), an addiction to sugar, and refused to exercise more than doing what he called a “power walk” two or three times a week.  I had nagged, begged, bribed, bitched and tried to shame him into exercising and watching what he ate so that he would lose some weight.  He was never obese, but carried his weight around his belly, which is not good for a man with cardiac problems.  I wanted to grow old with him, so I became the food police and reminded him that soda was empty calories full of artery destroying sugar, I “washed” the hamburger, served fresh fruits and vegetables with almost every meal, and gave away my deep fat fryer.

Firewood warms you five times!

Here is the stack we had when we were a little more than half done with our wood cutting, splitting and stacking. Ray was doing all this with clogged arteries!  Go figure…

When we moved up to our fledgling homestead last year after Ray’s retirement, he had no choice but to exercise more.  Cutting down trees, raking rocks, shoveling dirt, building sheds – he started to lose weight and gain muscle.  We began eating a more plant based, healthy diet.  We didn’t have a choice because the nearest restaurant is more than one-half hour away, and we only had enough freezer space for whole foods rather than pre-packaged foods with all that bulk.  I refused to buy soda and we drank more water, lightly honeyed (from our own organic beehive) iced tea and coffee.  I thought that all the years of nagging and shaming were behind me (I honestly didn’t like who I had become) and we were looking forward to starting to build our new home.

And then he had a heart attack.heart attack2

All those years of his health neglect added up, and even the new, healthier lifestyle wasn’t going to reverse the damage that was already done.

I know this sounds terrible, but I said to him “I told you so” and I meant it.  Sorry.  I know that sounds pretty harsh, but I am being honest when I say that I was blaming him for upsetting our dreams.

While Ray was healing, we couldn’t live on the homestead.  It was in the middle of winter – cold and wet – and the dirt and gravel road had become mud and deep potholes.  Just getting to and from our homestead was iffy during a rainstorm.  What if he had a complication and needed to go to the hospital which was more than one-half hour away?  He was restricted to lifting 5 pounds or less, and there was no way I could expect him to use an outhouse when his chest had been cracked apart, leaving a 12 inch scar!

how to build an outhouse

As cute and functional our outhouse is, I couldn’t imagine Ray having to use it by trudging up the hill in a possible rainstorm, just after having had major surgery!

So, we rented a cute little house in the city where the hospital and his cardiac surgeon were.  Besides, once Ray’s surgical scars started to heal, he had another 12 weeks, three days a week, of cardiac rehabilitation to go through, and it was certainly easier to live near all the facilities he was going to need.

Then, while Ray was recovering from his major surgery, I became quite depressed.

Living in a tiny cottage

A cozy corner of our “tiny cottage”!

You see, we had owned our future homestead for 12 years, and during that time had put in a septic tank and well for the future house, along with a sturdy tool shed that we turned into our “tiny cottage”.  We had planted a beautiful fruit and nut orchard that was just starting to mature.  We had sold our home of 25 years and moved up to the future homestead with thoughts of a wonderful new life in our peaceful and beautiful new home.  We were going to have chickens that I already had names for: Beulah, Phyllis, Melba and Pearl. This was to be the home we would live out the rest of our lives, and it is the home I have been designing and dreaming about for 12 years.  Living in someone else’s house in a strange city actually made me feel lost and lonely, especially now that the realization of my dream, our dream, was in question. 🙁

It didn’t help that we had already spent over $23,000 for the insulated concrete forms for our new home and would have to forfeit %10 of that money if we pulled out – about $2,300.  Plus, we had already spent well over $5,000 for our house plans, which are almost finished, and we would not get ANY of that back.  Not to mention that real estate has recently taken another downturn in our area of California, and we would never get the money out of our land that we have put into it.

I know I sound like I am whining, and I apologize, but I’m just laying it all out and baring my soul.

I was pretty miserable until a nurse told me that Ray will actually be stronger and healthier once he is healed, than he had been for the last 10 years!  A week later Ray’s doctor affirmed that.  You see, for a few years now, Ray had been slowing down and was not able to do as much physical labor as he had just a few years ago.  We just attributed this to the fact that he was getting older, as we all are!

But, you can now understand, age wasn’t the problem!  It was just that his heart vessels were clogging up and he wasn’t able to get enough oxygen to his muscles!  Now that his heart has all new, clean and clear pipes, Ray is, indeed, getting stronger every day!

And he is kicking his sugar addiction!  Hallelujah!

So, our plans and dreams are back on track!

Ray has finished his cardiac rehabilitation with flying colors and we have moved back to our fledgling homestead – full steam ahead!

I want to thank all of you, my dear blogging friends, for your inquiries and concern during my absence.  I apologize for not answering some of your questions and comments (which I will start doing today), and plan to get back into blogging about our adventures very soon.

Life is good. Live it while you can.


These are some of the places I party:

Thank Goodness It’s MondayClever Chicks Blog HopGrand SocialMix It Up MondayCreate, Link, Inspire;  Amaze Me MondayMotivation Monday;  Homemaking Mondays; Show & Share TuesdayThe Gathering SpotTuesday Garden PartyBrag About ItTuesdays with a Twist;The ScoopTwo Cup TuesdayTweak It TuesdayInspire Me TuesdaysTuesdays at Our Home;   Lou Lou GirlsParty In Your PJ’sYou’re Gonna Love It  Make, Bake and Create;  Wicked Awesome Wednesday;  Wined Down Wednesday;  Wake Up WednesdayFluster’s Creative Muster;  Homestead Blog HopWow Us Wednesday;  Wonderful WednesdayOur Simple Homestead; Share Your Cup Thursday;  Home and Garden Thursday;  The Handmade HangoutCreate it Thursday;  Think Tank Thursday;  Homemaking PartyTreasure Hunt ThursdayThis Is How We Roll; Inspire or be Inspired;  Inspiration Gallery;  No Rules Weekend Party  Freedom FridaysFriendship FridayFrom The Farm Blog HopFriday Flash Blog PartyWeekend re-Treat;Family Fun FridayFriday’s Five FeaturesReal Food FridaysShow Off FridayCraft Frenzy Friday;  Awesome Life FridaySimply Natural Saturdays;  Saturday Sparks;  My Favorite Things;  Dare to ShareScraptastic Saturday;Share It One More Time  That DIY Party;  DIY Sunday ShowcaseSnickerdoodle Sunday;   Best of the BlogosphereSmall Victories Sunday

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