Family history

Today, my cousin told me that my uncle, my dad’s younger brother, has to go in for an angiogram next Monday because a stress test he took this past week showed that his heart was flexing abnormally. I had just seen him last month when I was home, and he had told me that his blood pressure was much higher in the last few months than usual, and that he was taking medication for acid reflux. I didn’t realize it was anything more than that, though. I immediately called my uncle to learn more about what this meant and what the doctor had said before telling him he needed to come in for this heart procedure.

Sadly, we have a family history of heart problems — heart disease, heart attack, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke. My great grandfather and grandpa died from heart attacks in their sleep; my grandpa didn’t even live to see his 65th birthday. My uncle, my dad’s older brother, died in 2000 suddenly from a heart attack, as well, and he didn’t make it to 65. Sixty-five is the scary number in my family for men. Knowing this, I was obviously concerned when I heard this news of my uncle’s health. He seemed not to be too worried about it, but I couldn’t help but think the worst.

My cousin e-mailed his two brothers, and I called my parents to let them know. I got angry at the thought of any of them knowing, though. What would they do as a result of finding this all out? Would they actually call or do anything to show that they cared at all? I’m sure my second oldest cousin would do nothing, and my third oldest cousin would probably send a pathetic text. My dad is completely estranged from his younger brother except when I come back home to visit. Would he even bother calling his own brother?

I couldn’t help but think the worst of all my family members: none of them would probably do anything other than my oldest cousin until they found out that God forbid, my uncle were dead. Isn’t that what happened with Ed — everyone just ignored him until they found out he had killed himself. It’s always when it’s too late that people in my family feign feelings of sadness or concern.

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