A Message from My Heart


I come from a long line of short-lived men. My father died of a heart attack at 45, and both of my grandfathers died of heart attacks, as well. In addition, my mother died of a heart condition at the same age as I am now. So you might say I’m pre-booked for an early departure. Still, on one hand, all of my progenitors were smokers, and I’m not. But on the other hand, I was just 18 when my doctor first told me I had high blood pressure.

On yet another hand (I know, that’s three hands), I pride myself in being younger than most men my age. I work out, keep my weight down, and eat healthy…ish. So my unofficial motto is, “I’ll beat the odds!”

Or maybe not.

Last year, my sorta high blood pressure turned less sorta and began sending me funny tweets. “Funny how? Funny like a clown?” No, funny like tight-ish in the chest. So my GP put me on low-dosage blood pressure pills. Then a few months ago the tightness turned still more ish. My GP said, “Let’s wait and see.” I’m normally pretty laissez-faire about stuff like which restaurant to eat at, but not so much about waiting to see if I die.

So I went to a cardiologist. And guess what? He “found something,” and then very un-laissez-faire-ishly sprang into action. He assembled a team to “go in.” It sounded like a sci-fi movie: Journey to the Center of Mitch’s Heart. I pictured a futuristic spaceship and crew shrunk down and injected into one of my arteries!

Actually it was a tiny tube through which they squeezed dayglo goo into my arteries so they could take pictures called an angiogram, a Western Union message from my heart. The message: “You have plaque” (despite the fact that I floss regularly).

“50 to 60% blockage in two arteries,” the doctor declared. Whoa! Activate the atomic molecule blaster, right! Well, not exactly. He said my blood flow was good, and explained that anything under 70% is “moderate.” Dramatic finale: I’m now on a different pill.

Yep, the sci-fi thriller starring my heart turned out to be a box office dud, just a 13 on Rotten Tomatoes (“a slow-paced drama with a boring conclusion”).

And I couldn’t be happier.

I love movies, but not ones where I die in the end. I’ve already seen the versions that starred my parents and grandparents. So, with my Producer’s (God’s) approval, I’d just as soon not shoot a remake. Maybe a nice little rom-com, instead. We’ll call it:

A Message from Mitch’s Heart.

P.S. Christmas this year feels like a reminder from my Producer (funny how brushes with mortality do that): Love harder. It’s the only thing that matters.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

66 Responses to A Message from My Heart

  1. I love your creativity and how you keep the reader engaged. I prayer your Producer much success, though we know He’s always successful and only has good things planned for us. Thank you for sharing! Blessings to you! Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. pkadams says:

    Glad to hear you’re okay. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mark Johnson says:

    Merry Christmas, Mitch! I’m glad you’re bonding with your cardiologist (I know what that’s like) and taking proactive steps to take care of your heart and beat the odds of your family history. Your humor and humanity make the blogosphere a better place.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. nikibarlow says:

    Thanking God your movie was a dud. Having a husband with similar issues, I will add you to my ongoing prayers. Merry Christmas.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Candice says:

    So glad the test resulted in good news!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rita Sommers-Flanagan says:

    Eerily similar family history. My dad died in heart surgery at 44. I, too, try to live healthier…but I’m also working on this larger vision of life and death and the meaning (and blessing) of mortality. It puzzles me why we who know the vast, perfect love of the creator would also fear and resist death so much. Dying graciously, acceptingly, lovingly, peacefully, with family knowing, and around, seems like such a good thing. I’ve been present at those kinds of deaths, and been involved in the kicking-and-screaming types as well–the “give me every medication and squeeze out every last minute” types. Given how many machines and medications we now have available to the first-worlders, there’s a lot to consider…. Anyway, Merry Christmas and may the coming year increase your wisdom, decrease your fears, and expand your lovingness. Thanks for your blogs. Rita

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What, just a pill? Disappointing that the molecule blaster didn’t get used. At least you should have gotten a t-shirt or badge or something. But likely there is that “note on your permanent record” thing.

    In any case, take care of your self and take the pill – we’d be lost without your blog.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Bette Cox says:

    Mitch, my family history is a lot like yours. Please research Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn’s work on reversing and preventing arterial and heart disease with a whole foods / plant based diet. Following his advice has made a tremendous positive difference in my own health. I am some years past my expected life expectancy, which I firmly believe is because I listened and didn’t just shrug off his advice. Have a wonderful Christmas and blessed New Year. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Heidi Viars says:

    Glad your “heart” is ok with your Producer, Mitch. You are right, in the end what He does in there matters most!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kathleen Ellerman says:

    Having the same procedure resulting in open heart surgery to repair my heart valve and replace one artery is a life changing experience. I look at life and death much differently now. This was in 2011 and one of the reasons my husband and I retired and got into the acting business (just extras). Meeting so many great people, like you, has enriched my life.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. smzang says:

    This is a post with a punch!
    and in the end, I say Amen!

    Wishing you and yours good health, love’s wealth,
    and a peace that lives inside beyond the craziness of this
    world. May God bless you abundantly. Merry Christmas
    to the Teemley’s and their loved ones. (aw, what the heck…
    to all the world and the planets that move in the Son’s orbit!)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Goodness! Glad you’re oik! Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. francisashis says:

    Dear Mitch,God has a different plan for you.So cheer up and always be jolly like a child that is how I am living.I have had a brain stroke 10 years back so I understand your problem better.My younger brother died of cardiac arrest at 38,my father also died early .I am happy and humourous with everything. This Christmas God will shower you with a long life for his glory.Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.💞💕💞

    Liked by 1 person

  14. gregoryjoel says:

    I am so glad to see your posts each day. I’ve often headed to the farm thinking of something you’ve shared lately. I get to do that since it’s just me and God most days. Have a wonderful Christmas and a fantastic New Year. Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I was 46 in “Army water survival training” when I had my window maker, I had Jesus shoulder to shoulder next to me the moment my heart stopped! If it hadn’t been for the quick actions of the Army, most likely I wouldn’t be here to share this post. I’m almost 61 now, and I went from a very healthy condition, to an overnight poor one! I am overweight now, as I continued to eat the same number of calories as when I was active. Then last fall I noticed an infection below my skin and discovered my Medtronic leads were filled with vegetation into my heart after they rushed me to the hospital. They were scared to crack my chest open, (and to help make a long story shorter) the man who invented laser surgery at John Hopkins (Dr. Love) saved my life again, by removing infected hardware (two wire which had calcified) that the military installed 13 years prior.
    I had no spiritual experiences last time around; (only a song piped in called knocking on heaven’s door) – I was not amused, and then develop an allergic reaction to the antibiotic! I was miserable, and only my wife who stayed with me, and simple faith sustained me. Yet the Lord’s faithfulness shown through again, and I’m back in the race, a bit wiser for the wear.
    I know how it feels looking upon one’s own mortality, even daily – yet it is appointed to all men / women once to die. Perhaps the quality of life is up to us, but the appointed time and place in which we die, I think is not but the Lord;s decision.
    After the Army, I later became an accredited Chaplain, to try and be a testimonial to my Lord; but I soon discovered: like in Luke:16:31 “And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”
    The best I can do is to not just run my mouth about my faith, but rather just live a day at a time, and be thankful for the time I am given.
    Merry Christmas, and I hope we all have a wonderful new year!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. mitchteemley says:

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, Roland. Being a thankful witness to God’s grace one day at a time is a first class plan for the rest of your life. Merry Christmas to you, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Here’s praying there’s no remake of that scene.
    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.
    Loving harder,

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Jane Sturgeon says:

    May you keep ticking merrily along, Mitch. Sending you healing energy. Happy holidays for you both and your loved ones. Hugs for 2020. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Deb Farris says:

    Mitch, And I couldn’t be happier with this episode’s conclusion! Always bringing good cheer are you. 🙂 Thank you for your witty wonder-filled words. Merry Christmas, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Paula says:

    Thanks for the update. We all will die, but most of us don’t want it to be *today,* for crying out loud.

    When I was a teenager, our family doctor discovered that I have a slight heart murmur. These days, doctors rarely even hear it. It’s still there, but for the most part, the only murmurs heard in my heart are the voice of the Holy Spirit.

    Be a blessing to someone today.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Sherry says:

    Glad your heart movie was a dud! No remake, no Netflix! Wishing you and your lovely family a wonderful Christmas and I agree……Love harder!!! Blessings to you Cuz!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Ah, my friend. You just can’t get enough “Mitchisms”. You capture the thought, mix it together with some neat facts, then give us the message. I love it. I too lost my father in his early years. In the ’50s, the Heart was always the taker. So much was not know then and they needed to have an answer and The Heart was it. Today they look at the heart, see the fix and fix it. A vast difference from the early years. I was totally into this article as I too have a “sort of” series of problems. There but not a factor. You put into words that I am not able to relay to the World. Thank you for the great information. If you can believe it, “I pray for you”. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Here’s to your good health, Mitch! We need you to stick around for a long time to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. My father died at 47. My grandparents lived much longer. Have others who died much younger. I am past Dad’s death age by a few years, but I am not one to take a wait and see attitude when a doctor isn’t concerned about something that can be life-threatening. Decades ago they found something on a CAT scan. They scheduled an MRI on a Friday with the results being given to me the next Monday. It didn’t show up on the MRI, but they wouldn’t tell me that on Friday.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Yep, sometimes “boring” is OK. Merry Christmas, Mitch. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  26. So glad U went to a cardiologist despite the GP’s inclination to wait.  Hope whatever medical insurance U have is the kind does NOT require a referral from your PCP before covering a visit to a specialist.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Merry Christmas to you! Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us. May God continue to watch over you ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Jennie says:

    What a great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. tsouvenir says:

    hello dear you are really good

    Liked by 1 person

  30. This is not funny but you sure had a way.. Thankful you are aware and prepared. Blessings💙

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Pingback: A Necessary Resolution: Better Health | Mitch Teemley

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