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27 April 2014

I don’t really feel like picking on anybody this week, so I’m going to devote Samuelson Sez to a health message that applies to all of you, especially men. And maybe I should pick on myself because my wife, Gloria, says I’m especially guilty of thinking I’m invincible.

Let me share with you what has been going on for several months that I was convinced was just part of approaching 80 and it would eventually go away as aches and pains tend to do. For the past six months I’ve had what I call a toothache in my legs that made walking rather painful. Then in mid-March, I started getting lightheaded when I would stand up and a walk of a block or two made me short of breath. The week before Easter, the shortness of breath got much worse, but I shrugged off Gloria’s suggestion that I should go to the Doctor because I knew it would eventually go away.

On the Saturday before Easter she said firmly “Enough is enough, I’m taking you to the Emergency Room right now, so get in the car!” She used her Polish-tough tone of voice and I knew it was a waste of time to argue. My quick exam at the hospital revealed that my pulse was 38 beats a minute, not nearly enough needed to pump blood throughout my 6'3" body and I was approaching a heart catastrophe. After consultations with several doctors it was decided I needed a pacemaker and I needed it right now.

So, instead of church and dinner with my family on Easter Sunday, I found myself in a hospital operating room having a pacemaker inserted in my chest. After the one-hour procedure, I was wheeled back to my room and discovered that what the Doctor told me, that I’d feel 90% better immediately, was absolutely true. Lightheadedness, gone! Shortness of breath, gone! Leg pain, gone! That silver-dollar sized computer embedded in my chest is an absolute marvel of technology! Two days of tests and observation and I was released from the hospital. The next day I was in the TV studio producing our RFD-TV program.

Now, the lesson. Our body talks to us and we need to listen and act. Quit doing what I did and say it will go away. Our spouse sees things we don’t see or want to admit in our selves. Gloria said I would sit down to watch TV or read and I would fall asleep in minutes, my walking and balance were uncertain and hesitant, and I wasn’t as conversant as normal. All of that, I denied. But once again, she was right, and for the second time in our 13-year marriage, she saved my life. So to all of you, but especially you stubborn men, listen to your body and listen to your wife! It could very well save your life!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.