Friday, February 06, 2015

Wearing red -- and happy to have the past two years

Wear Red Day for heart health. 
A new study shows that many people would prefer to die sooner than take a daily pill. From the Atlantic Magazine Online:
In a study published earlier this week in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, a journal of the American Heart Association, researchers from the University of North Carolina and the University of California, San Francisco, surveyed 1,000 people on what they would be willing to give up to avoid taking a daily pill—one without any cost or side effects—to protect heart health. 
Here’s what people were willing to trade: 
  • More than 20 percent said they would pay $1,000 or more; around 3 percent said they’d pay up to $25,000.
  • Around 38 percent of respondents said they’d be willing to gamble some risk of immediate death; around 29 percent of the people surveyed said they’d accept a small (lower than 1 percent) risk, while 9 percent of them said they’d accept a one-in-10 chance of immediate death.
  • When the question changed from risk of death to certain death, around 30 percent said they would trade at least a week off their lives, and 8 percent were willing to give up a full two years.
Eight percent were willing to give up a full two years?
Yikes. I wonder how I would have answered had I been surveyed three years ago? Would I gamble some dough, risk immediate death or trade a couple of years?
Not sure. Maybe I’d accept a small risk of immediate death (less that 1 percent) or trade at least a week. That is a bit unreal when you haven’t faced death, especially cardiac death. Once you do, well, it becomes all too real.
I experienced a heart attack two years, one month and 18 days ago. I had a pain in my stomach. I saw the doctor but he didn’t know what it was. Two weeks later I was in the ER with congestive heart failure. My life was saved, through little effort on my own. I received a stent at the juncture of my Lateral Anterior Descending artery or LAD. Its nickname is “The Widowmaker.” A few months later, I returned to the hospital for an ICD, a combination defibrillator/pacemaker. In the two weeks that I didn’t get help for my heart, it sustained blood loss and permanent damage. I now take ten pills a day to forestall another heart attack. Is it a pain in the ass? Yes. Do I wish I didn’t have to take them? Yes. But do I want to live two more years? I already have….
Today is #WearRedDay for heart health. I am wearing red. I took my pills this morning. I went to work today and tonight, my wife and I are going to a party to see our friends, many of whom visited me in the hospital two years ago. I am glad I had those two years. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

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