If Only

So it’s been almost a week since the passing of Kidd Kraddick (see previous post) and I still can’t seem to let it go.

Primarily because it was preventable!

As it turns out, Kidd did die of heart disease rather than an aneurism that was initially reported.  According to the deputy coroner, a preliminary autopsy showed Kraddick had an enlarged heart and three coronary arteries were blocked to varying degrees, somewhere between 40 and 80 percent.  Equally critical is that it’s now being reported that he’d had warning signs in the days before he died.

Kidd’s premature death was preventable!

I can say that with confidence even though I’m not a doctor or a coroner.  The reason is that for 14 years I’ve had the privilege of working at the CooperAerobicsCenter and there is not a week, or more often a day, that goes by that the doctors at Cooper Clinic don’t identify heart disease in patients of varying conditions; young and old, obese and skinny, fit or unfit.  Heart disease doesn’t care who you are or what you look like.  It doesn’t care about your parents or if your cholesterol level is below 200.  It also doesn’t care if you’ve run a marathon or completed an Ironman.  No matter who you are please stop thinking that you’re Superman or Superwoman-you’re not!

Dr. Cooper has been practicing medicine for over 50 years and he’s said many times that the hardest thing he ever hears are the two words, “If only.”  As in, “Doc, if only I had listened to you years ago I wouldn’t be in the condition I am now.”  And those are the lucky ones.  Even though their quality of life is compromised at least they are still alive!

The thing that bugs me so much about the passing of Kidd is that he had such an amazing gift that touched literally millions of lives and now he’s gone. At 53. 53!

I’m 56 and I keep thinking about all the things I would have missed out on if I had died three years ago…heck, even three months ago!

Lo and TW-Walk

In May my son Andrew graduated from college and one week later I walked my daughter, Lauren, down the aisle as she married a wonderful man named Scott.  In June, Andrew and I climbed Mt.Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.  These were all huge life events that I would have never had a chance to experience had I prematurely succumbed to a PREVENTABLE event!

TW-Drew-Killi Summit-6-27-13We are all here for a very short period of time.  It’s a cliché but every day truly is a gift.  Please don’t take your health for granted….and yes, men, I’m mostly talking to you.

I get it. Our healthcare system in the U.S. is complicated, expensive and frustrating.  However, our health care is the best in the world!  I guarantee that with the combination of blood work, a maximal stress test, and coronary calcification assessment Kidd would still be here.

The odds are huge that there are many people who love and depend on you.  Please don’t be selfish and ignore your health.  Don’t put yourself in a position where you’ll have to tell your doctor or loved one, “If only.”