Friday, June 12, 2009

Health musings and missing Grandma

From August of '07 - the visit of Grandma Sandy (Great-Grandma to the itty-bitty little Kittyboy there). Living seven hours away as she does, it was a momentous occasion - lots of picture taking!
Grandma Sandy never looked her age - she never acted it, either. That visit, she brought me green beans from her garden, a shopping bag worth. I think I put up half a dozen pints of her fresh garden green beans with bacon. She also taught me how to make egg noodles from scratch. She loved roses, and had many rose bushes. Any time I had a gardening question, I e-mailed her. The morning of the day of her stroke, I had written on my Facebook page that I was tired, and she wrote back, "Take a nap when the baby does!"
So every time I plant more in my garden, I want to e-mail her. Every time I fret about whether my big rosebush is going to survive having been forcibly transplanted without any pruning (a huge no-no), I want to e-mail her. Every time I open Facebook, there she is. Except she isn't.
My father's family has a bad, one could say horrific, history of heart-related problems. His father died in his early fifties, and when Daddy celebrates his 55th birthday, it will be the blow-out birthday bash of the century, because he'll have outlived a significant number of his male relatives. He'll have successfully passed the early cut-off point, so to speak. Cholesterol - blood pressure - heart disease - heart attacks - strokes. And Grandma Sandy wasn't part of that history, or so I thought (her mother died in her late nineties) until now. Stroke due to hypertension at 71.
Kittyboy has an affinity for salt - he has a limited sweet tooth, but will eat chips or pretzels FOREVER. I've read that's been documented in babies born with low sodium levels, common in preemies - the body keeps on wanting salt. He will eat salt from the shaker, which is why our salt shakers are up high, and at the table, we have only pepper shakers. He can spice until the cows come home, but he doesn't get control over salt. He would render his food inedible. I like salt, and I like fried foods. Five years ago, my cholesterol was high - not "medication time" high, but it was indeed "cut down on fried foods" high.
So Daddy has been breaking the family cycle by losing some weight, eating better, excercising - the trifecta of health maintenance, so to speak. And faced with this family history and a son who loves salt (both of those facts kept running through my brain like a horror movie for the last couple weeks), we are doing the same. I, who go to a doctor only when something is wrong, went for a check-up last week and had thorough bloodwork done. Cholesterol is good. Blood pressure, EXCELLENT (I'm still doing an internal happy dance about that one).
I have nineteen tomato plants in my garden and plans for adding more - canning everything. I have decided to even make some ketchup this year, possibly. I am swearing off canned soups, except the creamed ones as occasional shortcuts, and cooked a bunch of red beans to put up in the freezer, in the hopes of breaking my canned-bean habit. We as a family are going to think more about what we eat - we don't eat THAT unhealthily now, but neither did Grandma Sandy. She was active and gardened and worked as a farmer's wife does. And we are going to create good, healthy habits now, so that Kittyboy grows up with good habits from the start.

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