Archive for December 23rd, 2008

Dr. Atkins and Me…

December 23rd, 2008

Some of you know my history . . . for a decade I was a totally dedicated follower of the Dr. Dean Ornish coronary artery disease reversal program.

For example, for the past ten years, the only thing that would typically pass between my lips at a holiday party would be party garnishes. No kidding; decorations, twigs, sticks… and the occasional veggie. No dips, no chocolates, no meats or shell fish, no cookies, no pie, no fat.

One interesting factor that evolved from embracing that philosophy is that, in spite of all of my efforts to enlongate my life, my personal challenges never really decreased. It hit me one day when I was looking in the mirror that I was actually peering at the enemy, and it was me. It has been pointed out to me that, for all intents and purposes, I am a crisis magnet.

During those years of complete passion for the Ornish program, there were many days where my adrenaline flowed freely. It usually happened when Dr. Ornish and Dr. Atkins had debates on television about their very different diets. Truthfully, the diet was such a small part of the Ornish program that it angered me when so much emphasis was placed on the complete disparity between these two very different programs.

Well, tonight I felt closer to Dr. Atkins than I had ever felt. In 1976, my buddy Jim and I went on the Atkins diet and lost about 30 pounds. That diet ended because the pork rinds, hard boiled eggs, and thousands of chicken wings, rashers of bacon, sides of beef, and pounds of cheese just became too much for me, and they probably resulted in my needing the Ornish diet.

What made me feel close to Dr. Atkins this time? Ice. He had slipped and fallen on the ice, hit his head, and eventually died from the injury. Well, tonight provided me with a bonding opportunity with Dr. A. It was the beginning of the holiday season. The kids had gathered for dinner with the four and a half grandkids, the soon to be deployed son-in-law, Moosie the dog, and Kiki the cat. It was a nice gathering and, as I walked off the porch and onto the walk, my feet went out from under me, my body went air borne, and I fell directly on my back with the force of a meteor hitting a dry lake. The wind left my body. Stars were flying around my head like a Road Runner cartoon, and pain began sweeping through my limbs in waves.

The difference between Dr. Atkins and me was that my head did not hit the ground. Was it a conscious decision to hold it up, or was it just pure luck? Don’t know, but, at least for now, it seems like I might live. The last time this happened to me was on a cold winter afternoon in 1978. After teaching for eight hours, I was leaving school with a baritone saxophone case in one hand and a euphonium case in the other, both destined to go to the repair shop. It was then that my feet left the ground. Once again, the air completely evacuated my lungs. It was that very day that I vowed to always wear rubber-soled shoes in the winter. Didn’t help tonight. Oh, well, at least my fall didn’t include a head injury. Dr. Atkins and I both needed more salt in our diets.

No fear. I’m still here.