I go to the supermarket, and see all the foods I can no longer eat, and feel the tremendous swell of guilt at all the foods I should be eating but am not, and I remember that I am a patient.
I go to the doctor, who is very concerned about how I’m doing, and he prescribes all sorts of new medicines to get my blood back to where it should be because my heart, my heart could go again, you don’t want that, do you? And I am a patient.
Patients aren’t people. They’re problems to be solved, and are expected to be compliant – let us poke you with needles, fill you with medicines, summon you to doctors’ offices at our convenience. You’re not human on some vital level until you’re well again.
I’ll never be well again. I’ll always have some heart issues. I’ll always be a fragile status until, well, my life ends.
I remember when heart disease was the one thing I truly had to worry about. I went to cardiac rehab and got stronger and things felt pretty normal, though I was aware that I remained forever in a high risk category for future cardiac events. It always reminded me of the sword of Damocles.
Then various types of chronic pain set in and I began to view heart disease as the thing that would rescue me, insuring that I didn't have to spend thirty or forty years suffering with severe pain. I guess it's all about perspective.