by Lindy Taggart Kleivo
‘Tis the new year and we invite you to put your health at the top of your list! I know that this almost seems impossible to do with all that you are focusing on in your life around you, but it truly is so very important to take care of Number One.
I have not yet publicly written about the recent loss of my dad because it’s been too hard to do. It happened just one week before I had my third child and life truly was turned upside down. I talked with him the night before that fateful morning, and he was so excited to have just read my Publisher’s Note in the recent issue. My dad was my biggest fan and it is still so unbelievably hard to imagine life without him, yet I’m living it every day. With health being the focus of this issue, I sincerely hope that his story will help save someone’s life.
On February 13, 2014 at the age of 65 my dad, my confidant, my best friend went into cardiac arrest from a heart attack while snow-blowing. They were able to revive him but he suffered severe brain damage from the lack of oxygen during the attack. He remained on life support for a few days following that horrible morning before my brother, sister, and I were faced with the agonizing reality that it was time to let him go. He simply was not responding the way his medical team had hoped and we knew based on our many discussions with our dad that he would never want to live in a vegetative state.
Tom Taggart passed away on February 19, 2014. My dad was vibrant at 65; he was a doer. He loved to work on projects and was always on the go. For a little over a year he was complaining that his leg was hurting. Then his shoulder started hurting. I’m not sure if he was having any other symptoms because he never complained of anything specifically and since he lived out east, I was not around him every day to pick up on it. But these two major signs of blockage were missed, yet were definite indicators that a life-changing heart attack was looming in the distance.
My plea to you is that if you are feeling pain in your leg or your shoulder, do not let your doctor downplay these factors in heart disease. They are key indicators. You must be your own advocate and recruit your family members to advocate with you. Do your research. You can save your own life by simply listening to your body and utilizing today’s advances in detection.
A website that can help you get started is www.lifelinescreening.com. Residents can get screening for a variety of health issues including peripheral arterial disease, which is what we believe my dad died of. Once you are on the site, look at the drop-down menu listing all of the health issues you can be screened for, then simply complete the basic form and it will provide you with a list of screening locations. Pricing varies. You can pay per screening or opt for a package price. Specials are also available.
There’s no better time than now to start listening to your body. I can’t bring my dad back but I can certainly use his story to advocate for others who are out there reading this. May the new year be healthy, happy, and worry-free for you and yours. Live. Laugh. Love.