when it comes to heart problems, i'm an idiot

7.26.2012 |

i am sitting at barnes & noble going through the motions: contemplating returning to my car because i left my wallet which means i am not partaking in steamy java goodness, discreetly people watching which entails a man dressed in dark tones who is nervously twitching at his computer and gets up to walk around the cafe every ten to fifteen minutes, pretending not to be interested in the WWII discussion two grandsons are having with what appears to be their grandmother, reading a paragraph of andy stanley's enemies of the heart and then setting the book aside to process the breaking of my heart one word at a time, and being emotionally moved by the song "wake up" by all sons & daughters which is set on repeat.

no lack of mental stimulation while i sit here at my two foot, circular orange table.

andy stanley, enemies of the heart, pages 85-87
"brian has been having trouble getting to sleep at night.  he suffers from acid reflux, and lately he has noticed that walking up the single flight of stairs to his bedroom leaves him breathing harder than normal.  os brian makes an appointment to see a cardiologist.  dr. plythem runs brian through an extensive battery of tests, including a grueling three minutes on the treadmill.  a week later brian finds himself in the good doctor's exam room, waiting for the results.  the concerned look on dr. plythem's face confirms brian's suspicions: something isn't right. 
dr. plythem glanes gravely at his chart and says, "on a scale of one to ten, ten being the worst-case scenario, you're a seven.  you don't need surgery at this time, but you will if you don't make some immediate lifestyle changes."
"like what?" brian asks, a bit worried about what's coming next.
the doctor pulls a single page from his clipboard and hands it to brian.  "this is a three-day-a-week exercise regimen," he explains. "once your body becomes accustomed to this level of activity, we'll bump it up a notch."
"but i don't think you understand," brian complains.  "i can't do all this.  i have a bad heart! you said so yourself.  once my heart gets stronger, then yeah, i don't mind exercising.  but you can't expect me to do all this stuff in my present condition." 
dr. plythem looks confused, so brian continues. "look, this says you want me to walk for thirty minutes, three times a week. do you realize how winded i'll be? i'll be sweating like a pig! and if i do these stretches i'll be unbearably sore for days. doc, i have a bad heart. i can't do all this stuff.  look, first fix my heart, and then i'll seriously consider the routine. 
"brian, i am trying to fix your heart.  this is how to fix it: by exercising it. the discomfort is part of the cure.  you strengthen a muscle by exhausting it and then letting it rest.  to fix your heart we've got to exhaust it periodically and then let it rest.  and yes, you'll sweat. and you'll be sore. and you won't always feel too good during the process but this is the road to recovery." 
brian just shakes his head.  "look, doc, let me level with you. my wife has been trying to get me to exercise for years. so about a year ago i finally gave in and tried out her treadmill.  i wasn't on that thing five minutes before i thought i was going to die.  i'm telling you, it won't work.  i've already tried exercise.  it just made me tired. and there's another thing: do you know how silly i look in spandex shorts? like i'm wearing hippo pantyhose. now, once i lose a little weight, i may go for the whole fitness look. but not until then. so if you'll please do something to strengthen my heart, then i'll be happy to follow your advice.  after all, you're the expert, not me." 
at this point dr. plythem opens the door and says, "brian, you're an idiot."

when it comes to spiritual heart condition, what are you doing about the sickness lodged inside?





i am certainly an idiot.

3 comments

  1. I was Brian 2 months ago, except with alcohol. I still struggle with it, and I haven't been sober since declaring I was going to stop getting wasted. It's a horrible fight, and one that I sometimes lose. But my drinking has tapered sharply.

    But I liked this post, reminded me of me.

    -Zach

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  2. aren't we all, but telling yourself that certainly won't provide any benefit. I hope you get to feeling better soon, and nice posts by the way :)

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  3. im a dummy too renee. lord knows the road to recovery is painful at times. im soo stinking stubborn though that im scared to go through this pain sometimes even though the result will be everything i ever pray for. i liked this post too

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