If there is one certainty about life, it is sure to bring us some uncertainty.
That reality was brought home to me in a very personal way about six weeks ago. Some of you may know, others may not, that I love to hike in the great beauty of New Mexico. I was averaging about 2 miles a day, hiking about five days out of seven this spring and summer. And then one day I noticed that I began to be short of breath. No chest pains, I was just tiring easily and short of breath.
I decided to be proactive and follow up about my health concern. I made an appointment to see a cardiologist, and he suggested I have an angiogram, which showed that I had significant blockage in my coronary arteries. I was subsequently and speedily admitted to Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque. Within 48 hours after checking into the hospital I had open heart surgery - four hours in the operating room that resulted in a successful quadruple bypass!
My recovery has gone very well, and I'm especially grateful to my two surgeons and their competent team.
I also want to take a moment to thank my friends in the community who've brought food to our adobe, sent gift certificates for takeout and even delivered the daily New York Times when I first arrived home. A special note of thanks to my number one caregiver, my wife, Eileen, for all her care and assistance during my recovery.
Every day I feel a little stronger, and I walk a little farther. Those first two weeks were especially difficult, but with time and good care the body, like the spirit, heals itself. Whatever the injury or however complex the wound, it pays to be patient with yourself and take it all one day at a time.
This life experience has made me receive every new day as a gift and also has given me a new appreciation for each and every friend and family member. If you're short of breath or feeling too much pain in your life then seek out a checkup or call on a good friend.
We all encounter a speed bump now and again, and they're usually put there for a reason. We ignore them at our own peril. Slow down when you need to and, when you can, live each day to the fullest. Blessings and blue skies!
Steve Wiard, retired pastor and former director of Shared Table, is a resident of Ranchos de Taos.