Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Conversation With My Dad I Almost Never Had

It was late and the kids were in bed. My wife had already retired after a long day at work so she went to get ready for bed. I stayed up a little later, working on some stuff at the computer when the phone rang. I checked the caller ID and noticed that it was my brother. While it isn't unusual that my brother was calling later at night, I thought the timing was off. The kids were already in bed and he had missed his chance to talk with them.

"Hello?" I said. Hey, it's me. Do you have a minute? I could tell by the tone of his voice that this wasn't a good call. "Sure. What's up?" and I stood there holding my breath. Something was wrong.

"Dad is in the hospital, he just had a stroke." The words hung right there in front of me like an obnoxiously glaring neon sign. I didn't know what to say or do. I asked how it happened where he was, what his status was. My brother told me that my dad couldn't move his arms or legs. He couldn't even answer a simple questions. When they asked him what his last name was, he told them his address.

From 759 miles away I felt helpless. My hero was in a hospital bed and there was nothing I could do. My brothers and family kept me updated with his status. Thanks to the quick thinking by my mom who called an ambulance and the first responders who administered a drug that eliminates blood clots, my dad is alive today. Within three days my dad was able to go back home. I can't thank the doctors and nurses and everyone involved enough.

"Your mom saved my life, again." he told me on the phone. He called me as soon as he could talk letting me know he was okay. He asked me "How are you doing?" to which I responded "Don't worry about me, how are YOU doing?" "I'm fine" he said, "now tell me all about meeting Michael Strahan." That's my dad.

The night I got the call was February 22nd at 8:51pm. I was one day removed from attending the Dad 2.0 Summit in Washington D.C. and I was riding high. I had been sharing earlier that day how awesome it was to have met and talked to Michael Strahan courtesy of Meta Wellness. Meta Wellness is encouraging men across the country to have important health conversations with their loved ones. Here I was getting to have this conversation with my dad about his health when just three days prior he couldn't read simple sentences off of a piece of paper.

I can't say talking to my dad about his health was easy but when this happened to him I wanted to know if it was something I could prevent from happening to me. We had a #Heart2Heart about our health and he shared what he knew. If you care about someone enough, that conversation needs to happen. That's why Michael Strahan sat down with his father and had a Heart2Heart with him about his health. Don't let a scare be the catalyst for change, do something about it now.

The stroke was caused by a blood clot that they believe formed in the carotid artery and traveled directly to his brain. What worried me the most was that a few years ago a suffered from a blood clot in my leg that caused such great pain in my legs that I couldn't walk on it. I still have residual pain from time to time when I am not active. With everything that happened to me and now him, it has scared me into thinking that it will happen to me too some day.

For this reason I researched blood clots to see if they could be can be prevented. Meta stresses right on their box "Make a change" and I'm poised to do that. It's all about changing one's lifestyle for the better. That may mean losing weight, lowering your blood pressure, and exercising regularly.

Having a #Heart2Heart conversation is about changing something in your life to make you healthier. That may mean exercising more, eating less, or introducing more fiber to your diet with the help of Meta. Metamucil and Meta Health Bars help lower cholesterol to promote heart health † Use these coupons today to help you on your way. Combining a healthy diet and regular exercise will help you maintain a healthier lifestyle and reduce your risk of having a health scare yourself. Since this has happened, I've promised myself to be more active. I don't want to be in a situation with my own children where they have to have this talk with me.

Don't delay, there might not be a tomorrow. Don't miss out on your opportunity to have that conversation with your loved one. If you have someone in your life you care about who needs help with their health, have a #Heart2Heart with them about it. It may be hard but using the tips below will show them that you care. In the end, you caring about their health will always win them over.

7 Tips from Michael Strahan on How to Have a Heart 2 Heart Conversation with Your Dad.
1.     Go into the conversation with a purpose. Make a few notes beforehand to keep the conversation on track. It’s really easy to venture down a road that both you and your dad may not be completely comfortable discussing.
2.     Think about what you want to accomplish. If there’s an actionable goal that you want your dad to set, help him develop a plan to get it done.
3.     Watch your tone. People can become really sensitive when you sit them down and tell them about themselves. Make sure that you are approaching the conversation as objectively as possible.
4.     Set an example. Leading by example is always compelling, especially with parents. Holding yourself accountable will help you hold your dad accountable.
5.     Acknowledge that you hear him. Making small changes can be a big task and what your dad really needs is your support.
6.     Help him add more fiber to his diet. It’s scientifically proven that diets high in fiber can lower cholesterol and promote heart health†. Pick up some Meta and add it to smoothies or protein shakes for that extra boost to help ensure your fiber intake is met every day.
7.     Watch and share the #Heart2Heart video. I recently had to have a tough heart health conversation with my dad that could inspire your talk.
†Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 7 grams of soluble fiber per day from psyllium husk, as in Metamucil and Meta Health Bars, may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering cholesterol. One adult serving of Metamucil Powder has 2.4 grams of this soluble fiber. One Meta Health Bar and one serving of Metamucil Fiber capsules have at least 1.8 grams of this soluble fiber.

Disclosure: I have partnered with Life of Dad and Meta Wellness for this promotion.

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