Social support is so important after a heart attack. I wanted to take a moment to recognize a few friends and family in my social support network and how they’ve helped me. And I want to thank everyone who has been there for me, supported me, listened to me, and prayed for me.
They spent every single night in the hospital with me…sleeping on a cot or in an uncomfortable chair. My mom fed and let my dogs out twice a day every single day. When I was released from the hospital, my parents insisted that I stay with them for a while before returning home. I stayed with them for about a week and a half, and during this time, my mom cooked whatever I wanted every single day. It was quite the experiment because I was trying to be “vegan pescetarian” at that time, so we did a lot of research on recipes. When I finally returned home, my parents brought me lunch and dinner every single day for almost 2 weeks! Once again, my mom cooked whatever I wanted. I am very lucky that they live so close and were able to help me through all of this. My dad is also a survivor – he had quadruple bypass surgery about 7 years ago – so he can relate to what I’m going through, which has really been helpful.
MY BROTHER AND SISTER:
They live close by, as well, and they’ve been great from making me laugh in the hospital to making me laugh in recovery. We occasionally go out to eat together or they get me out of the house for a movie. They’re so much fun!
Two of my best friends, Kim and Chrissey, have been there for me from the beginning…literally. They actually drove me to the hospital and spent the first couple of nights in the waiting room with my family while I was in ICU, brought me TONS of flowers and balloons to brighten up my hospital room, played games with me, provided comic relief for my parents, and have all around been such a great support system for me and my family. I don’t know what I would do without them!! Seriously.
One of my best friends from college, Shay, has also been AUsome (lol)! From entertaining me for a few days on my first “vacation” post-heart attack, taking me kayaking for the first time since I was like 10, to always being a phone call away when I need someone to talk to. She always lifts my spirits and makes me smile.
Two of my best friends, Jennifer (from high school) and Kim (from college), also made the multi-state drive from Texas and Alabama, respectively, to visit me in the hospital. That meant the world to me! It was so special to spend time with great friends during the scariest time in my life. I so appreciate ALL of my friends.
These two! Kenobi (the German Shepherd mix) and Mace Windu (the Terrier mix) are my life. I credit them with much of my recovery in the beginning. When I was at my parents’ house, I was in bed or on the couch most of the time and was excited to walk across the street to the mailbox for exercise each day. As soon as I came home to my house, there was no more sitting around for me, no matter how fatigued I was. Kenobi and Mace were so excited to see me that they always wanted to play or love on me, they constantly had to go outside to go to the bathroom, and always needed their food or water dish refilled. This kept me busy getting up and sitting back down, getting up and sitting back down, getting up and sitting back down; and I think this helped build my strength quicker than if I had stayed at my parents’ for longer.
My social support network has been incredible and has stretched around the world with friends and family. I didn’t list everyone here. Now that I am meeting other heart attack survivors like me, I feel that my social support network is growing! Surrounding myself with all of these people has truly been a blessing and has helped me in more ways than they will ever know.