Thankful at Thanksgiving

Giving thanks on Thanksgiving, Photo: B. Keer
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With  gratitude to our Splash Magazine Worldwide readers and the journalists who provide the reading material – HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

Here is a personal story by journalist Ron Irwin telling us that even in an upside down world, it is good to be alive.


There are so many things in life that can leave you breathless. Some are innocent and even pleasant like watching Jessica Alba on the big screen while others can literally be fatal. Here is my personal story of recently becoming breathless.

It began slowly but surely when one day as I was doing some rather light exercise I did a few toe touches and found that with each one I began to get increasingly winded. As things progressed I also found that merely walking up a few stairs I would need to stop every few steps to catch my breath. This was clearly not normal, so when my eldest daughter offered to give me a ride to the nearby Urgent Care I agreed and off we went.

Soon I was being x-rayed and given an EKG. In my mind I would be given a prescription for something and we would go away. Well it didn’t quite happen like that. Upon reviewing my medical tests I was told that I needed to go to the Emergency Room – NOW. No specific reason was given but the intensity of the recommendation propelled us off to the ER at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center.

Heart, Photo courtesy of Ron Irwin

Next I endured about a 5 hour wait due in large part to two things. One was the current Covid-19 situation that kept everyone very very busy. However, the other one was much more personal because as it turned out preliminary test results indicated that I had a health situation that wasvery significant and required special examination tools and that took time.

Eventually I went into a special little room where I was hooked up to some rather sophisticated monitors. I was also given a drug that made me happy to be there so for about three hours I had no complaints. Finally, I was formally admitted and taken to my room. I recall thinking how this all began at what we figured would be a short visit to Urgent Care. but were we ever wrong. At this point I ask that you please stay with me because I believe there is a very important message here for pretty much everyone. Remember this all began with a little shortness of breath and what we thought would be a quick trip to Urgent Care.

I was then transferred to a room on the fourth floor of the north wing of the hospital. To my utter surprise I was now a genuine hospital in-patient and I still did not know exactly why. I wasn’t bleeding heavily, I was not pregnant and I was Covid 19 free. Yes, I was huffing and puffing somewhat – okay a lot – but how could that possibly justify a three day in-hospital stay?

Hospital room, Photo: Courtesy of Ron Irwin

Little by little it all came out. One of the issues that contributed to my huffing and puffing was a build up of water in and around my lungs. Clearly not a good thing. I was put on a treatment to get rid of that water and it rather quickly produced positive results and that in turn began to reduce the huffing and puffing. But what caused that water build up in the first place? That turned out to be something far more sinister.

Just prior to my discharge I had a pleasant yet somewhat frightening meeting with my Cardiologist. All those many tests and exams I had been taking revealed that I had several very very undesirable heart issues. The all encompassing term that covered a wide range of issues was and is Significant Arrhythmia, It seems per my medical consultation that I am at high risk for heart attack, stroke and heart failure – none of which is a good thing. Now stop and think about this for a moment. Being a wee bit short of breath can signal the presence of one or more very serious health issues involving the heart of which we only have one, I mean our lungs are important too but we have two so if one fails it can be removed and we can still live with the remaining lung. But we don’t have a spare heart.

person holding rectangular black wooden photo frame with Give. Thanks. print
Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

So, as we enjoy this time of year with an abundance of joy and good cheer I think that we should all also take our basic health seriously so as to protect and preserve our lives This message is my gift to you. I hope you enjoy it and live a long and happy life and continue to enjoy many more happy holidays to come.


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