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Column: My ticker troubles taught me it was time for a change
John Tinker.jpeg
John Tinker

Editor’s note: This column is the first in a two-part “he said, she said” series.

 

“You kill me,” I’ll often say to Ronda. Whether it’s her wit, her insight, her fashion or decorating style or the stories she tells, I am endlessly entertained. In the best way, of course. I don’t know anyone like my wife — and God blessed me with her companionship.

But every now and again, though quite rarely, she surprises me in the worst way. Recently, something almost quite literally caused me to say not just, “You kill me,” but, “You want to kill me.”

This is my side of the story.

Given the rather sedentary life I lead now and again (informed particularly by my job as a writer, which has me sitting for hours on end), I have given thought to my cardiac condition. I have neglected winding the old ticker, and in the past, have had a minor cardiac irregularity or two.

And recently, after one of my brothers had quite the cardiac scare of his own, I thought it wise to undergo some tests to see just how much damage, if any, I may have done due to neglect. So, I was off to see the cardiologist.

Included in the battery of tests was a routine exam, an echocardiogram and an EKG. In addition, my doctor thought it a good idea to undergo either a cardiac stress test or cardiac CT scan as well. That was an easy choice on my part since a stress test involves exercise. Instead, I lazily opted for the CT scan.

By now, you may have picked up on some anxiety I was realizing. I was whistling past the graveyard — for fear that I might, sooner than later, be the one whistling in the graveyard. Or rather, not whistling at all.

“Baby,” I said to Ronda, “I’m a little worried about my CT scan.” But if I was looking for sympathy, let alone a shoulder to cry on, I wasn’t going to find it in my wife — and her grin belied her words, “Don’t worry, Tink. If something’s wrong, I’m sure they’ll be able to fix it.”

And with that, Ronda went back to whatever it was she was doing that was more important.

I can’t say that I was incredulous or even hurt by her nonchalance. After all, she’d warned me for years that someday my lousy diet and lack of exercise would catch up with me. 

Now, don’t misunderstand — and any regular reader of this column knows — Ronda is not insensitive or uncaring. To the contrary, she is terrifically empathic and tender. But she is also a great believer that one reaps what they sow. They get what they deserve. That a hoist on one’s own petard is usually a comeuppance deserved. And while Ronda would always certainly be there for me, it just wasn't how I might expect.

“You WANT there to be something wrong,” I said accusingly.

“Oh, Tink, don’t be ridiculous.” And again, her slight grin spoke volumes as to how she was really feeling. Regardless, before heading off for my CT scan early the next morning, Ronda and I prayed about whatever might lie ahead. I prayed particularly hard.

A while later, I returned to my cardiologist so that he might deliver the results, good or bad. “Everything looks great,” he said, sitting down. “There’s not the slightest indication of any arterial blockage or other trouble.”

I was thrilled, of course — and immediately thanked God for his goodness and mercy, not only for my health but for sustaining me through my dietary and calisthenic shortcomings.

Immediately, I called Ronda. And while I was relieved and thankful for the news — vowing to regard it as a reprieve that might lead me to developing better habits — I can’t say I didn’t have some glee when I told Ronda my results.

“Dang,” she said.

And that’s where I’ll leave Ronda to tell her side of this story next week.

 

John Tinker is writing for Ronda Rich this week. She will be back next week to tell her side of this story.