Do I inform him or do I ignore it and mind my own business?
I’ll begin by stating that three generations of males have all died of heart attacks in their early 40s, in my family. That meant that three generations of children were left fatherless and although I’m not sure how old my grandmother was, nor how much younger or older my great-grandmother was when she was widowed, I do know that my mother was only in her 30s when my father died.
My mother was therefore quite strict in ensuring my siblings and I ate proper meals and that we indulged in cakes or sweets only on rare occasions and even then, we were limited to a single, solitary slice. Any request for a second piece was met with a stern stare and the words, ‘you can go and play outside.’ I marvel that my mother never used the word, ‘no,’ but her look alone conveyed the response to our requests.
I now thank my mother for her vigilance in ensuring we never developed a taste for sugary treats. Don’t get me wrong, I love Tiramisu, a baked cheesecake or a sticky-date pudding, but I find I can only tolerate a small piece when I do indulge.
I can’t however abide chocolate. You’ve read that correctly! I can walk past a chocolate shop and not drool and I only discovered recently that my siblings don’t like chocolate either. Imagine that, all of us don’t like chocolate and that was an amazing discovery as I thought I was the only one in my family who didn’t.
When we approached our late 30s, we each informed our respective doctors of the generational family health issue. I also read up on the signs and symptoms to watch out for in terms of heart problems.
Knowing the physical symptoms and or signs associated with potential heart issues, I was dismayed when I noticed one of the signs on a young physiotherapist. He had a single, diagonal crease on both his ear lobes. I initially dismissed it by telling myself that he probably squashed his ears while sleeping, but the following times I saw him, the lines were still there.
Hence my quandary on whether I should broach the subject or simply ignore it! The mental arguments volleyed between, my non-qualification in all medical facts and whether I myself would appreciate someone bringing the fact to my attention should I have had the symptom when I was the same age. The arguments raged in my head for some months after I had finished my physiotherapy treatment. It was easier to forget when I did not need treatment.
Just recently however, I needed to see the physiotherapist and was once again, reminded of my dilemma. I pondered on some scenarios as he is an avid surfer and also a keen cyclist. How would I feel if he should have an attack while cycling on a highway or even worse, surfing way out in the ocean far from any medical assistance? Would it sit well on my conscience if he did have an attack and I had kept the knowledge to myself?
I then researched the medical facts and discovered that the potential likelihood of heart problems increases by 70% in younger people if a crease or diagonal line is seen on the earlobes. Printing the facts out, I then made a decision to tell my physiotherapist.
When the time came however, I was so nervous that I just about pushed the papers into his hands while trying to quickly explain everything and then came away wondering if I had made any sense at all. I can still see his bemused but surprised face looking kindly at me but he didn’t say much while I fled out the door.
Agonising over my action, I had to confess to my family and they simply shook their heads in mock dismay. What were they going to do about their wayward family member and her questionable actions!
Relating the facts to a friend, I felt better when she pointed out that I had done the deed out of concern and compassion and that she agreed with my decision as her family also has a history of heart problems. She lost her father at four years of age, while I was seven when I lost mine.
You’re reading this now and are either shaking your head with disbelief or endorsing my action. Which is it? Put yourself in my place and let me know your opinion. I am honestly interested and would welcome your comments.
© Wendy Robinson 2014
Sympathy sees and says, ‘I’m sorry.’ Compassion sees and says, ‘I’ll help.’ When we learn the difference, we will make a difference. ~ Unknown