Don’t Emulate My Family

 

Hana and Ibrahim Farraj – Wedding Photo.

Hana Farraj (my beloved grandmother) died of a heart attack in 1993, she was 70 years old. She had the heart attack while she was in Seattle (visiting her son), but she didn’t want to be a bother. So instead of going to the hospital, she waited, for three days, she even got on a Greyhound bus and rode down to Portland. She died the day she got back. Don’t emulate my grandmother.

Issa Farraj (my beloved uncle) died of a heart attack in 2015. He was 70 years old. He had a heart attack but didn’t tell anyone or go to the doctor because his son we getting married that weekend and he thought the doctors would bar him from flying. By the time things got bad enough he went to the hospital, his heart was damaged beyond repair. He passed away two days after his son’s wedding. Don’t emulate my uncle.

Issa Farraj.

Nuha Farraj Rice (my beloved mother whose neck I want to wring) has not yet died of a heart attack, but she came close. She had been experiencing radiating chest pains while exercising for more than six months … but she didn’t tell anybody because eventually, the pain would go away. Fortunately, my parents went to a college reunion and had to walk a fair distance to their car. My mom had to stop four times to catch her breath (even though it was a relatively gentle hill) and my dad insisted she went to see her doctor. It was only when directly confronted by her doctor that she admitted to the chest pains. She is now the proud new owner of two stents and a ballooned-out artery or two. Don’t emulate my mother.

This is serious business, people. You only have one life and you are the only one that really knows what is going on in your body. Even if you are fit and eat well this kind of thing can still sneak up on you as a large component of arterial health is genetic (Former President George W. Bush possibly the fittest man to hold the office had to have a mostly occluded artery stented). I want all of you (be you FiCon, Conservatarain, RINO, Libertarian, token liberals [@viruscop], or religious conservative) to live long and healthy lives. So here is my plea to you:

  • Go to your yearly doctors appointments
  • Watch your levels (blood sugars, blood pressure, and cholesterol)
  • If you need meds, for crying out loud take them!
  • If you think there is something wrong (chest pain, shortness of breath, unexplained nausea, etc.) go to your doctor!

Don’t emulate my family! Don’t die of the Farraj family curse.

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  1. Viruscop Inactive
    Viruscop
    @Viruscop

    1967mustangman (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    1967mustangman (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    Who is in that picture? Was it taken in Lebanon?

    That is my grandmother and her husband on their wedding day along with my grandmother’s cousin (her maid of honor) and my grandfather’s best man (whose name I don’t know).

    Where was it taken?

    Jerusalem, Palestine (at the time).

    But they were from Lebanon, were they not?

    • #31
  2. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    Arahant (View Comment):
    (Thread derailed by a moderator, a progressive, and a libertine.)

    Don’t walk into any bars.

    • #32
  3. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Umbra Fractus (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    (Thread derailed by a moderator, a progressive, and a libertine.)

    Don’t walk into any bars.

    I always duck.

    • #33
  4. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Umbra Fractus (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):
    (Thread derailed by a moderator, a progressive, and a libertine.)

    Don’t walk into any bars.

    I always duck.

    No, the duck is on your head.

    • #34
  5. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    No, the duck is on your head.

    Great. Now the thread has turned into a bad Vaudeville act in the summer in the Andirondacks.

    • #35
  6. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    Yes, I’m a liberal, but I have some sympathy now towards conservatives.

    My Cod! It’s contagious! ?

    You worship a cod? Dagon?

    No. It’s an old joke that started elsewhere and is also contagious.

    Oh. I prefer Moloch.

    See? A liberal. heehee

    • #36
  7. RightAngles Member
    RightAngles
    @RightAngles

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    I was hoping that disappeared.

    Nothing ever disappears on the Internet.

    Wait, what? uh oh

    • #37
  8. Judithann Campbell Member
    Judithann Campbell
    @

    Thank you for this post; I totally agree with you. Over 20 years ago, my Dad collapsed and was only kept alive through CPR. He was in a coma for two weeks afterward. Then, he woke up and made a full recovery. In the decades since, he has seen both his kids get married, he has met and gotten to know his grandchildren, and in a few months he and my mother will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. He is 92, and I cannot imagine life without him.

    Life is worth it, and worth fighting for.

    • #38
  9. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    OK, I won’t emulate them. Would it be OK to imitate them, though?

    • #39
  10. skipsul Inactive
    skipsul
    @skipsul

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    OK, I won’t emulate them. Would it be OK to imitate them, though?

    See Arahant’s note about vaudeville acts.

    • #40
  11. Qoumidan Coolidge
    Qoumidan
    @Qoumidan

    In March this year my mother started having chest pains.  She went to the ER then the Dr who scheduled her to get a stent.  Before putting it in they had a look and found her heart was perfectly fine.  The pains that had emulated a heart attack went away and they guessed it must have been stress?  She was embarrassed about the whole thing and I worry that next time she will try to wait it out but it won’t be nothing.

    • #41
  12. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa
    @VicrylContessa

    Qoumidan (View Comment):
    In March this year my mother started having chest pains. She went to the ER then the Dr who scheduled her to get a stent. Before putting it in they had a look and found her heart was perfectly fine. The pains that had emulated a heart attack went away and they guessed it must have been stress? She was embarrassed about the whole thing and I worry that next time she will try to wait it out but it won’t be nothing.

    My mother has done the same thing- thought she was having chest pain and it turned out to be heartburn. I always tell her, better to be embarrassed than dead. The signs in women are usually much more subtle- nausea, sweating, pressure or fullness in the neck or jaw, pain between the shoulder blades, unprovoked anxiety. Tell your mom not to worry- the doctors and nurses would much rather she come in and it be nothing than have to code her after she’s found down at home.

    • #42
  13. 1967mustangman Inactive
    1967mustangman
    @1967mustangman

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    1967mustangman (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    1967mustangman (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    Who is in that picture? Was it taken in Lebanon?

    That is my grandmother and her husband on their wedding day along with my grandmother’s cousin (her maid of honor) and my grandfather’s best man (whose name I don’t know).

    Where was it taken?

    Jerusalem, Palestine (at the time).

    But they were from Lebanon, were they not?

    They were originally from Palestine although the Palestinian people in that region moved around a lot so I’m sure some of their family came from Lebanon. My grandfather was killed in the bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946, when my mother was about four months old.  Two years later when things got really nasty for Palestinians  in what was to become Israel, my grandmother move the family to Beirut.

    • #43
  14. Quietpi Member
    Quietpi
    @Quietpi

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    Anyway, Mustangman, beautiful family… and if I feel peculiarly breathless sometimes, and have low blood pressure and low cholesterol might I still have heart disease? I thought perhaps a heart murmur or flaw of some kind?

    Um, just to make sure this gets answered, yes you can still have heart disease.  Not all breathlessness is the result of heart disease, but there may be something going on.  At minimum, going to the doctor now, and getting your breathlessness into the record, you will have established some sort of baseline.  And a murmer or some other flaw is nothing to take lightly.  You need to know what is going on.

    • #44
  15. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Vicryl Contessa (View Comment):
    The signs in women are usually much more subtle- nausea, sweating, pressure or fullness in the neck or jaw, pain between the shoulder blades, unprovoked anxiety.

    I lost my Aunt this way 14 years ago while I was deployed. She was a nurse and failed to recognize the symptoms.

     

    • #45
  16. Kate Braestrup Member
    Kate Braestrup
    @GrannyDude

    Vicryl Contessa (View Comment):

    Qoumidan (View Comment):
    In March this year my mother started having chest pains. She went to the ER then the Dr who scheduled her to get a stent. Before putting it in they had a look and found her heart was perfectly fine. The pains that had emulated a heart attack went away and they guessed it must have been stress? She was embarrassed about the whole thing and I worry that next time she will try to wait it out but it won’t be nothing.

    My mother has done the same thing- thought she was having chest pain and it turned out to be heartburn. I always tell her, better to be embarrassed than dead. The signs in women are usually much more subtle- nausea, sweating, pressure or fullness in the neck or jaw, pain between the shoulder blades, unprovoked anxiety. Tell your mom not to worry- the doctors and nurses would much rather she come in and it be nothing than have to code her after she’s found down at home.

    Good Cod, VC, I have those symptoms all the time! Well, not the pressure in the neck and jaw part, but all the rest, especially the anxiety. On the other hand, I’m not sure I can call it “unprovoked.”

    My dad died of a heart attack at what now seems a laughably young 68. I miss him all the time—I want him to see how his grandkids have turned out, and I badly want to ask him what he thinks of…well, everything that’s happened in the past 21 years.

    It was a reasonably good death as deaths go, however. After all, he’d be…89 (tomorrow!) and have been forced to endure 9/11, the involvement of his beloved USMC in two wars, the death of his great grandson…

    But he liked life, and I think he would feel that it was worth sticking around for…

    See, there’s not an either-or in these things, I find, nor a tidy resolution. It’s more like “on the one hand…” and “on the other hand…” Life according to the teeter-totter principle.

    • #46
  17. Umbra Fractus Inactive
    Umbra Fractus
    @UmbraFractus

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    Yes, I’m a liberal, but I have some sympathy now towards conservatives.

    My Cod! It’s contagious! ?

    You worship a cod? Dagon?

    No. It’s an old joke that started elsewhere and is also contagious.

    Oh. I prefer Moloch.

    See? A liberal. heehee

    Moloch, from the Semitic root m-l-k, meaning, “King.”

    It always comes back to government with them, doesn’t it? ;)

    • #47
  18. Israel P. Inactive
    Israel P.
    @IsraelP

    I have sleep apnea and the dr said I have to sleep with a mask. I said I don’t want to and she said I have to.

    Me: Why do I have to?

    Dr: Otherwise you will die in your sleep.

    Me: Promise?

    (I have outlived my father by a dozen years and his father by nine. I am playing with house money.)

    • #48
  19. Casey Inactive
    Casey
    @Casey

    I like your family’s plan better.  I’m sticking with that.

    • #49
  20. Viruscop Inactive
    Viruscop
    @Viruscop

    Umbra Fractus (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    Yes, I’m a liberal, but I have some sympathy now towards conservatives.

    My Cod! It’s contagious! ?

    You worship a cod? Dagon?

    No. It’s an old joke that started elsewhere and is also contagious.

    Oh. I prefer Moloch.

    See? A liberal. heehee

    Moloch, from the Semitic root m-l-k, meaning, “King.”

    It always comes back to government with them, doesn’t it? ?

    Moloch!

    • #50
  21. Miffed White Male Member
    Miffed White Male
    @MiffedWhiteMale

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    You can’t guarantee ahead of time, though, when a heart attack will deprive you of several healthy years and when it will save you from the protracted, expensive, harrowing thing that could kill you otherwise. I’d agree with Scott that a heart attack sounds like a nice way to go.

    The main problem with going from a heart attack is it’s likely to be sudden and with no opportunity to wrap up loose ends and say goodbyes.

    The problem with Cancer, Dementia, etc, is that they  suck and are slow ways to die.

    No good options.

     

     

    • #51
  22. 1967mustangman Inactive
    1967mustangman
    @1967mustangman

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    You can’t guarantee ahead of time, though, when a heart attack will deprive you of several healthy years and when it will save you from the protracted, expensive, harrowing thing that could kill you otherwise. I’d agree with Scott that a heart attack sounds like a nice way to go.

    The main problem with going from a heart attack is it’s likely to be sudden and with no opportunity to wrap up loose ends and say goodbyes.

    The problem with Cancer, Dementia, etc, is that they suck and are slow ways to die.

    No good options.

    No, but my point is dying from preventable means when you are 70 is sad.  My uncle Issa missed the birth of both of his grandsons I think he would have traded a few years of decline for the opportunity to be grandpa.

    • #52
  23. Mike H Coolidge
    Mike H
    @MikeH

    Great advice, and do please watch your numbers.

    Here are the real numbers we should shoot for (yes, they are practically impossible for many people on the western diet/exercise levels without high dose drugs/supplements, which is why so many people are dropping dead from heart disease):

    Fasting glucose: 70 – 85 (not anything below 100), mine ranges from 90-92 and that still bothers me.

    Blood pressure: around 115/75 (not anything below 130/90)

    Cholesterol: Total: 160 -180 (least important number, this recommended range is hard to meet given the other (low) recommendations, only worry about it if you lack energy which might indicate your total cholesterol is too low)

    HDL (“good cholesterol”): At least 50, the higher, the better.

    LDL (“bad cholesterol”): Lower is usually better, shoot for less than 100 (normal risk), less than 80 (any high risk factors), or less than 70 (pre-existing heart disease).

    Triglycerides (possibly most important though often ignored, determines the size/density of your HDL and LDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides -> large/fluffy/healthy cholesterol, higher triglycerides -> small/dense/dangerous cholesterol) – lower is almost always better <100 (normal risk), <80 (any high risk factors), <60 (pre-existing heart disease). I read somewhere that <45 eliminates all bad cholesterol, but that’s almost impossible for most people unless you are strict vegan/paleo/athlete or are genetically gifted (like my wife).

    PM me (or just reply) if you want any recommendations of diet/exercise/supplements/drugs to get your numbers down.

    • #53
  24. Nanda Panjandrum Member
    Nanda Panjandrum
    @

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    No, the duck is on your head.

    Great. Now the thread has turned into a bad Vaudeville act in the summer in the Andirondacks.

    All of you will be here indefinitely…Have some borscht, try the veal…And tip your wait-staff. [Rimshot]

    • #54
  25. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Nanda Panjandrum (View Comment):
    All of you will be here indefinitely…Have some borscht, try the veal…And tip your wait-staff. [Rimshot]

    Exactly.

    • #55
  26. Isaac Smith Member
    Isaac Smith
    @

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    Yes, I’m a liberal, but I have some sympathy now towards conservatives.

    My Cod! It’s contagious! ?

    You worship a cod? Dagon?

    No. It’s an old joke that started elsewhere and is also contagious.

    Oh. I prefer Moloch.

    :-(  Isn’t that the one that demanded child sacrifice?

    • #56
  27. Isaac Smith Member
    Isaac Smith
    @

    1967mustangman: Don’t emulate my family! Don’t die of the Farraj family curse.

    I don’t even want to emulate my family.  Three of my four grandparents died in their early 70s from heart disease.  My dad’s father died of a heart attack in the airport in Rome, doing what he loved most, traveling.  My remaining grandparent dies in her mid 80s of emphysema, but suffered from serious dementia, compounded with what seemed a native paranoia, her last half decade.  So I’ve always figured that I would, to borrow @israelp ‘s phrase, “be playing with house money” after 70.  My parent’s are both in their mid-80s and doing pretty well – both still playing golf, and my dad still gets around under 100 on some pretty tough courses.

    So looking good.

    On the other hand, two of my younger brothers have now had two heart attacks apiece, both resulting in stents, and the younger of the two has been told he may need bypass surgery.  They are both in their 50s.  The younger brother is fairly fit – he had both of his heart attacks while playing soccer.  I’ve suggested that he may want to take up knitting.

    So who the heck knows.  I’ve asked my brothers to please stop having heart attacks as every time I tell my doctor about their latest heart attack he wants to muck around with my meds – I’m not the one who had a heart attack!!

     

    • #57
  28. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Isaac Smith (View Comment):
    I don’t even want to emulate my family. Three of my four grandparents died in their early 70s from heart disease.

    First, interestingly, the age of grandparents at death is often a better predictor than the age of the parents.

    And, wow, your grandparents got to be really old. I would have to look up dates to be sure, but mine were 53 (or 54), 59 (or 60), 60, and 79 (days short of 80). I would take 70s and mid-eighties and be grateful. ;)

    • #58
  29. Viruscop Inactive
    Viruscop
    @Viruscop

    Isaac Smith (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Viruscop (View Comment):
    Yes, I’m a liberal, but I have some sympathy now towards conservatives.

    My Cod! It’s contagious! ?

    You worship a cod? Dagon?

    No. It’s an old joke that started elsewhere and is also contagious.

    Oh. I prefer Moloch.

    ? Isn’t that the one that demanded child sacrifice?

    If you have some spare children lying around, he’ll happily take them off your hands.

    • #59
  30. Isaac Smith Member
    Isaac Smith
    @

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Isaac Smith (View Comment):
    I don’t even want to emulate my family. Three of my four grandparents died in their early 70s from heart disease.

    First, interestingly, the age of grandparents at death is often a better predictor than the age of the parents.

    And, wow, your grandparents got to be really old. I would have to look up dates to be sure, but mine were 53 (or 54), 59 (or 60), 60, and 79 (days short of 80). I would take 70s and mid-eighties and be grateful. ?

    It didn’t seem like it then.  Most of my friends still had their grandparents around.  Early 70s would be disappointing.

    • #60
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