Thursday, April 4, 2013

Cardiac Champs: Book Review

What does a retired  psychologist who has dealt with two heart attacks, do?

He writes a book of course.

Now, I'm the first to admit that I've never dealt with a heart attack personally, (though I've been at it closely with loved ones), but reading  Cardiac Champs, I quickly became aware that the fears, questions, and anxiety that the author experienced, travels the human being gamut when it comes to having an operation and moving forward after it.

The author had his first heart attack at 38 and his second at age 40. Pretty young if you ask me. But the author takes his heart attacks in stride, weaving a tale of honesty and hope that travels from the heart attack, through recovery and beyond.

"This book...is not a book on how to live your life," the author admits in the preface, "rather the book is designed to help you ensure that the condition of your arteries and heart do not completely dictate the kind of life you live."
Dr. Larry McConnell, is a champ in his own right. The book is exceptional in almost every aspect. Through McConnell's striking conversational style, quick humor, and positive outlook, any reader will feel as if he/she has stepped into an after heart attack spa.

"...Be positive, just think, you have the makings for a terrific story. If you are an extrovert who wants to dazzle people, you can tell everyone the pain was out of this world."
As a psychologist, McConnell knows all about "manufactur(ing) hope," in his own life and in the lives of those who have suffered.

He believes that a patient must first accept his/or her condition before any real movement forward can be made. Attached to acceptance comes assurance and reaching out to others.
"It is unrealistic to expect the physician to be your fountain of optimism," he says, "they are trained to deal with illnesses of the body, not the psyche."

And he admits: "My confidence wasn't helped when the nurse insisted I be taken to the front door (at the time of his hospital release) in a wheelchair. She claimed that was just a precaution for insurance purposes. I guess the hospital would have been liable if I had had a heart attack dancing with my wife in the elevator."

And what of the whiners you ask? Though McConnell frankly admits he was once a "helpless gorf," he makes sure that the reader knows that "one good way to avoid being sick is to avoid acting sick."
"...Get it straight," he offers. "You don't have heart disease, you are arterially challenged."

And so it goes.
Expect insightful information, (book is rated PG-13 for language) direction and a smattering of humor in this heart to heart book, but be prepared to step beyond the boundaries.

Whether you're the patient or the loved one, it's your only real choice.

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