Alan's Story: Coping With Change After a Heart Attack - Alan's story
"When you have a heart attack, you know you have to change your
lifestyle," Cloris says. "There’s depression. But with all the new medicines
and surgeries and procedures, you have to remember that there is so much to
Keep a positive attitude
Even though Alan stopped
working, he has never stopped learning-or helping others learn-about how to
cope with heart disease. What has kept him going all these years? A positive
"You've got to have a sense of humor. Don't take life
so seriously," he says.
Staying positive and finding the humor in
any situation is a message Alan shares with everyone he talks with about heart
disease. He is well known around the local hospital, where he often visits with
people scheduled for heart surgery.
At one such visit, a man
asked him about the pain after bypass surgery. How bad would it be? How long
would it last? "I told him, ‘It only hurts when you breathe.’ He just looked at
me for a minute. And then we both started laughing, and we couldn't stop," Alan
says. "Sometimes it just takes someone who can say, ‘been there, done that.’ A
nurse or doctor can tell you what to expect, but they haven't been there."
Alan's story reflects his experiences as told in an interview. The photograph is not of Alan, to protect his privacy.
For more information, see the topic
Coronary Artery Disease.