What may (or may not) kill me

I have a fairly clear lineage.  My dad likes to tell people that we are Heinz 57, a reference to any and every kind, but I am fairly certain that his side is about 98% German.  That leaves my mom's side which is, for the most part, Irish.  I often laugh at the separate sides of my heritage that come out.  I have a crazy work ethic, and I am terribly lazy.  Both sides are drinkers and fighters, and just to highlight the fighter, my mom's great grandmother was French Canadian.  Both sides suffer with a bit of the black humour, and they both self medicate.

It's interesting to look at what is coming down the pipe at you.  Fun to see which attributes you can dodge and which you are doomed to receive.

Up until recently, I thought all four of my grandparents died of heart disease.  My mom's parents were heart attack and stroke victims, although my Gramma (no, that's not a typo, that's what we called her and how she spelled her title) held on for ten years after her stroke and I think it was a the nurses that finally got to her (they may or may not have poisoned her - I kid! -This is that black humour I talked of).  My dad's parents were both heart disease.  My Grampa (I can't be bothered to say Grand when everyone says gramp) had something like 4 heart attacks before his ticker stopped ticking, almost 30 years after the first heart attack.  Honestly, that man cheated death countless times and remained tight lipped about it.  I would have loved to read that memoir.

My Grandma had a death that I have been envious of.  Come on, as if you haven't thought of how you want to go?  They were in the midst of a heatwave, and she had just finished her favourite pastime, swimming.  The sky was clear and blue, the sun was hot, and the lake was quiet.  She hopped up on the dock and bam, done. I like to think that it was a blessing from God for the way that she lived her life.  She was a caring woman, on the inside, her German outside didn't show that softness very often.  She was stern, and strict, but you knew she loved you.  She volunteered everywhere in her community, and I remember when I was about 9 she showed me a plastic fetus that she carried in her purse that was no bigger than my pinky.  She said, "this is a baby at about 12 weeks old, it is fully formed inside a woman, and all it needs is time to grow."  I asked her if I could have it, she said no, she's German, what were you expecting?

She died about ten years ago, and I often told my students that all four of my grandparents died of heart disease, so what should I be most careful of?  They would, like all good elementary students, answer in unison, "heart disease!"  People thought it was a morbid way to teach, but let's face it, you look at your parents to see what's next for you, and if you think you're invisible, you aren't.

Then, I found out that Grandma may not have died of heart disease.  She had had a hip replacement a few weeks previous and word on the street is that a nasty blog clot plugged her.  This is probably awful to say, but that made me a little bit happy that there is a chance that heart disease may not kill me.

That's all.


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