Valley Stream, New York
"When I was put on a low-salt diet, I immediately stopped eating out so much ... Chinese, Italian, you name it. Now my wife and I only eat out every couple of weeks, and I try to choose something healthier, like fish or lean meat. We also started using food labels to check the salt content of every item we buy. I'm only allowed 2,000 milligrams of salt per day, so I have to avoid anything that has more than 35 milligrams of salt per serving.
In addition to eating out less, I've learned to cut down on portions. I was a very heavy eater before. I could eat three or four steaks, a couple of hamburgers or a few hot dogs in one meal. Now I've gone from weighing 260 pounds to 150."
Physical Activity & Fitness
"I've found it necessary to limit my activity, especially since I had surgery recently to implant a defibrillator. I used to be my own carpenter, electrician and gardener around the house — but now I call in a professional carpenter, electrician and gardener! I also used to be able to walk three to four miles, but I haven't done that in quite a while.
I have kept exercising, though, because whenever I would see my nurse for my monthly visit, she would always ask me if I was being physically active. For the winter months, when I couldn't really go out, I got an exercise bike and put it in my basement to use three to four times a week. But now that the weather's getting warmer, I plan to go back to walking."
"I take all of my medications in the morning before breakfast so I don't forget any. However, there was one medication, an ACE inhibitor, that I was having trouble remembering at first because I had to take it every eight hours, three times a day — at 8 a.m., 4 p.m. and 11 p.m. I could remember the morning and night pills because they coincided with getting up and going to bed, but the late afternoon one was tough. So I set my watch alarm to 4 p.m. every day so I'm sure to remember it."
Working With Your Doctor
"The computer has been a big help. My wife and I used it to make up a chart that we use to record my weight every day and all of the medications I take. I also keep my complete medical history on the computer, adding to it as I go along. Every time I go to the doctor, I take these records with me to save myself some paperwork. One doctor actually called me a professional patient because I was so organized! But it's a real timesaver. We've been doing this for the past two years."