Heart to heart talk

Bunny Pages, my father who literally (at 6-foot-tall) and figuratively (as head of our family and business) stands tall, had a serious affliction the past few weeks. He had recently been complaining of fatigue and shortness of breath. After a battery of examinations that included 2D Echo and blood tests, an ECG, a stress test, and eventually, an angiogram — he was scheduled for open heart surgery.

My dad was the epitome of strength and stamina. He had exercised all his life. From winning 3rd place in a body-building contest (there were only three contestants; sorry to reveal that, dad) to his almost daily basketball games with BAPRO in Bacolod, to his 6 a.m. singles tennis matches with Dodong Hermosisima and Henry See — my dad was fit, robust, possessed an endless reservoir of energy (he could negotiate deals or give speeches all day long) and was a positive force whose outlook in life, never mind the darkness or storms outside, was eternally sunny.

The news to the family was “heart-breaking.” After more deliberation and thanks to the advise of my best friend, Dr. Ronald Eullaran, we consulted top cardiologist Dr. Francisco “Jun” Chio, who recommended an angioplasty. Exactly one week today and after a complicated two-hour-long procedure with three stents inserted in his arteries, my dad Bunny is fine. He doesn’t need a bypass and he’s feeling, in his own words, “like a 20-year-old.”

Praise God!!!

Today, when the romantic heart is coddled and pampered, let’s ponder also on this muscular organ the size of our fist that’s lumped between our lungs which pumps blood through our veins.

We have to take good care of our heart. How? For one, our food intake is most important. A balanced diet with plenty of high-fiber vegetables and fruits and low in fats and sugar is universally suggested. Eat more fish. Regular check-ups is a must. An annual Executive Panel, preferably with a stress test and especially for those involved in triathlon and 90K bike rides is needed. Don’t run a marathon unless you’ve been checked. Reduce stress. Relax. Take deep breaths often. Monitor your BP and, when prescribed with medication, take them without miss. Finally.. Exercise. At least 45 minutes of daily sweating is recommended. Dr. Jun Chio told my dad that had he not been a regular exerciser, he could have succumbed to a heart attack.

This Valentine’s Day, let’s heed the words of Jose Mari Chan: Please be careful with your heart…

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