‘SK: I need U to call an ambulance. I’m having bad chest pains.’

Sep 4, 2011 by

A week ago this morning I awoke to a beautiful sunny day in North Alabama.  Friday night and most of the day Saturday I’d had a great adventure with a close friend and her family.  Work was going great.  The stress level had dropped immeasurably.  I was in good spirits, though missing my girls back at home in Texas, and then, WHAM!  At age 45, any youthful innocence left in me disappeared in a flash as the pains of a mild heart attack began in my chest about 11:15 a.m. and it began to feel like my throat was closing in.

Monday, doctors put in a stent.  Tuesday I was freed from the hospital thinking if I’d survived that, I wasn’t going to be that tired, after all, they’d only sent a wire up through my leg.   Wednesday I was too tired to go anywhere.  Thursday the mental and emotional side of all this came crashing down on me.  The “Oh SHIT!” moment of my life hit me harder than the pains on Sunday morning.


From my accounts here on DaddyClaxton.com, you know I’ve tried in the past couple of years to make some important changes.  I’ve changed my diet and have dropped about 30 pounds in the past five months simply by changing my diet and consumption.  I’ve identified the 20 percent of people and relationships who were causing 80 percent of my duress and put up boundaries.  And through two bouts of Diverticulitis, I’ve tried to adopt an exercise program off and on.

But like Steve Jobs being worth $8.74 billion, no amount of money or anything else has been able to alleviate all that ails me.


God didn’t take me last Sunday because as my friend said, he was allowing me to receive the “Double Bitch Slap of Life.”  I’ve always held true to the conviction that I’m here for a reason and that is to help others. So many friends this week have called, texted, emailed, even sent smoke signals telling me to stop worrying about the welfare of others so much.  “THIS IS ABOUT YOU!” my friend has told me repeatedly.

That’s a hard mindset to adopt. And I don’t want to do it to the other extreme either.

For years, my first wife has projected her guilt onto me saying that I’m narcissistic.  Nearly a decade of counseling has confirmed that she is, I’m not and added to the testimony of so many friends this week who have known me for decades proves what I’ve known all along–like always, she’s full of –it.

Unfortunately, it appears I’m now going to have to close down the one last remaining channel for her to harass me.  Why can’t some see the hurt and damage they cause in the lives of everyone around them through their own selfishness?


I can begin walking Wednesday.  I’m supposed to build up to 30 minutes a day, five days per week.  I’m ready.


Carol Ireton-Jones, Donna Israel and Martha McHenry at Professional Nutrition Therapists in Dallas already have let me know when I get back to town, there are going to be more recommended meal changes. (If you live in Dallas, they are the ones to call!)


I’ve made some really cool friends in North Alabama the past few months.  My relationships with them are healthier than many in the past, and if things get out of hand, I’ve learned to step back and not expose myself.  If you’re a positive person, and you make me laugh, I’ll enjoy spending time with you.  If you’re going to bring drama the likes I’ve endured the past 16 years because of spouses, have a miserable life unto yourself. You’re not going to cuss me, to yell at me, or throw things at me.  That’s just not going to be tolerated.  I’ve learned that’s the only way you can be “happy,” and like I’m trying to say nicely, “I’m done with that.”


I was working with my client and friend SK Chauhan at his house last Sunday. When my pains hit, I stepped outside on the back porch to see if fresh air was going to change my situation.  It didn’t and at 11:24, I sent the text message of a lifetime that simply read:  “SK.  I need u to call an ambulance.  I’m having bad chest pains.”

My mom, an RN, said I couldn’t have worded that text message better.  When you call 911 and you need an ambulance to get you to the hospital ASAP, don’t speculate and say you need the paramedics, because in some places, they can’t transport and if they wait to arrive before they decide to send a bus for you, well, they might wind up calling for a different kind of wagon….

The other thought that has haunted me is what if I’d passed out on the porch–It would have been a few minutes before anyone came out and asked what I was doing.  And if this had been worse ….


I’m weighing my options this morning as I sit at a desk at my Mom’s house in Montgomery, AL.  And though written from a woman’s perspective, Fergie‘s Big Girls Don’t Cry has been on a loop in my head the past few days.  “Myself and I have, I have some figuring out to do,” for sure.

I won’t go into those thoughts right now.  They’re still rattling around in my head that for the past few days has been a little on the mushy, incomplete and WTH happened side.

Until then “I need to be by myself and center, clarity, peace, serenity. “ And on the other hand, I’m trying to see as many old friends as I may so I’m not thinking about …..

And rather than being at mom’s here in Montgomery, I wish nothing more than to be back in Dallas in my apartment, in my bed resting, and with the option to see my doting daughters, whom I’ve not seen in almost a month now.   That’s the hardest part here.  What if I’d left them and so many of you behind last weekend?

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Health Guide: Diverticulitis Is Nothing To Play With

Jul 8, 2011 by

I’m living in Day 11 of my second bout with the intestinal infection known as diverticulitis and I felt obligated to write a note for the ages that warns others with this ailment–This is nothing to play around with.

During the past 11 days, I’ve spent 5 of them in a hospital bed.  There were two before going into the hospital.  That leaves four that I’ve been out.

At this writing, I’m still very weak and tired.  I’ve basically quit eating as I’m not really hungry, but at the same time, I am hungry and nothing sounds good, and I’m afraid to eat anything that is going to get stuck inside me and make me start hurting insanely again.

In The Hospital

I spent my time in the Texas Regional Medical Center in Sunnyvale, Texas.  This is a brand new facility.  Everything is new.  It’s clean.  I sat in the ER waiting room maybe for five minutes and from then on, I was in a bed.

Before I went upstairs and was admitted, I had blood work done, had a CT-Scan, and time with a caring doctor who gave me options on how I was going to be treated.

Upstairs with my nurses, they change shifts every 12 hours at 7 am/pm, were professional, caring and pleasant to work with.  They were responsive to my needs and constantly were checking on me.

Clear Liquid Diet

The first thing I was told was that I was going on a clear liquid diet.  That translates to beef/chicken broth, some clear jello, and a Popsicle for lunch and supper. I also was allowed to drink my unsweetened iced tea. 

This went on for four days.  Just thinking about broth right now makes me want to think about hurling, but it really was what I needed.  A few nurses let me have chocolate pudding cups, but that got stopped by one of the nurses.

Going Home

When I awoke Saturday morning after having been admitted, I expected the doctor to send me home.  That wasn’t even on his radar.  He said, “We’ll continue the clear liquids a couple more days and then we’ll see how you do with soft foods.”

Remember, most hospitals are trying to kick you out as fast as possible.  That told me I was sicker than I thought.

My First Bout

When I had diverticulitis the first time, I was so intent on keeping up with my work, I even went on a trip from Dallas to Mobile.  My doctor at the time freaked out.   I was miserable and wound up coming home early, but that time, I didn’t realize the seriousness of my ailment, nor did I realize the impact it was having on my body.

The Second Time Around

This time I’ve been more respectful of the ailment.  It would have been madness to have come home from the hospital last Saturday to take care of myself at home.  Every four hours at the hospital, the nurses were pumping pain relief meds, plus antibiotics straight into me via an IV.  This would not have happened at home.

There is absolutely no way I would have conformed to the requirements of the clear liquid diet at home either.  I would have been nibbling on hard and high-fiber meats and such and just been clogging myself up again, causing more and more pain and discomfort.

Obstructed Intestine

My ER doctor soon told me I was not obstructed, that things were getting through my intestines, and if I was obstructed and had diverticulitis, the results would be “catastrophic.”

That translates into I would have died.

The other danger with diverticulitis was if one of the pockets that have formed in my intestine had burst, much like appendicitis, spilling my guts into my guts.  That would have been far worse, too.

A Couple Recommendations

1) Diverticulitis is no game.  It’s not a picnic, nor is it any fun to endure.  It’s highly painful and energy draining.  When your doctor tells you you’re going to be down for awhile, you’re going to be down.  Don’t try to speed up the process.  You cannot.

2) The TRMC in Sunnyvale is a very good hospital to go to when you’re in need. I highly recommend it.  It’s still something of a secret so it’s not crowded, the rooms are clean, and my room was a single-bed, so I didn’t have to listen to the drama of someone else ailing in my room with me.

3) Forget about taking trips with diverticulitis.  That was one of the dumbest things I’ve ever done.

4) Follow up with your doctor after getting out of the hospital.  This is a very serious ailment and one you don’t want to come back…



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A Stay In The Hospital–Daddy/Daughter Time

Jul 3, 2011 by

Not every hospital admission has to be a bad thing.  In what now is Day 3 of this adventure, which was caused by a flare up of diverticulitis, I remain hospitalized and my precious, eldest daughter, Chandler, remains at my side here in the Texas Regional Medical Center in Sunnyvale, Texas.

Who would have thought a bout with an affliction, that if had ruptured could have killed me, could have brought about one of the things she and I have been needing together–MORE TIME WITH EACH OTHER.

The typical modern-day dad often is fighting for opportunities to spend time with his kids.  After a series of acts of drama  my time with my kids over the past two years has been severely curtailed. I’ve had to completely change my way of living in order to get to the point where I am now.

I was admitted to this hospital Friday afternoon.  It’s now Sunday at 7 p.m. and the doctor was just in here at 4 p.m.  saying, “Maybe tomorrow you can begin to have a little more to eat.”  It’s been IVs and beef broth, jello and a pop-sickle for lunch and supper.  (The nurses also have been getting me chocolate pudding to snack on.)


And from the get go, Chandler, 14, soon to be 15, has been here by my side giving up some time with her friends, etc. on a historic weekend, and spend time here in the hospital with me.  Yes, she’s 14.  Did I mention she soon will be 15?

So many times she’s helped me by turning this on, and that off.  Through Facebook friends she was driven back to my place to pick up the Mac and a couple other items I’d not packed up in haste because when we left home Friday near mid-day, I sure didn’t anticipate being here three days later. Nor tomorrow’s fourth day.

But the true joy in all of this has been the opportunity to talk.

Friday night going into sun-up on Saturday morning, we just talked.

Time With Your Kids

From having seen Courageous last week in Dallas, (It opens in theaters Sept. 30,) it’s been reaffirmed to me of how little time we actually have with our children.  I didn’t ask Chandler to stay here at the hospital.  But I’m thankful to no end that she has. (Obviously I wish my twin daughters, 12, could have stayed, too, but that wouldn’t have worked here in the hospital.)

This afternoon Chandler’s “BF” has been here and they’ve been  visiting in the lobby.  About 6:30 she came up to check on me and tell me they’re about to walk down to the local Subway for dinner.  As they were injecting me with my latest dose of “pain management,” she was trying to decide if I was “high enough” to bring the boy in here to meet me.

What I have to talk to her about tonight is that I don’t want her to be thinking I needed to be on planet Pluto to introduce me to her friend.  Though what she also didn’t think about is that I might be souped up enough I might do the Martin Lawrence and Will Smith first date routine in Bad Boys II.  (He He!)

Okay, gotta stop.  You wouldn’t believe how hard this has been to write.  More later.

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DNA and Weight Loss

Jun 8, 2011 by

DISCLOSURE: Back in February, my client, Professional Nutrition Therapists of Dallas, under the careful attention of Carol Ireton-Jones and Donna Israel, conducted a DNA test on me to determine, based on my genetic makeup, what I have to do in order to lose weight.  This piece is going to reveal some very personal information about me, but I’m doing it so that those of you like me who have, as my friend Stacey E. R. Stakely of Montgomery  used to predict, have wound up with a tire around my waist can find some solid answers. (Ouch, that hurts.)  This post is designed to help you see, if you’re struggling with your weight, there are scientific answers and formulas that can be added to your lifestyle to hopefully turn things around.

My Weight Adventure Part Umpteen

On the 28th of February, Carol did a short DNA swab test of me.  She said it was going to check out my DNA, the fabric of life, and determine how my genetics and interactions with foods determined my weight. I took a stick with  some cotton on the end of it and wiped it around in my mouth for about 10 seconds.  We did two of them and then they were allowed to dry and put into a sterile bag for shipping.

In mid-March we received the information and sat down to talk about what I need to do.

The test was conducted through a system developed by Inherent Health, a CLIA-certified lab in Waltham, MA.

The Results 

Results present themselves in six categories based on genotype results and consumption and exercise required in order to burn fat in your body: 

  1. Carb Reducer-Moderate MET
  2. Fat Trimmer-High MET
  3. Fat Trimmer-Moderate MET
  4. Better Balancer-Moderate MET
  5. Better Balancer-High MET.

That’s only five.  Mine is a sixth–Carb Reducer-High MET.  Essentially, I have to cut my carbohydrates.  And, and this is a big and, I must have high-intensity workouts to make a difference.

This in part explains why I did so well with EA SPORTS Active the past two years.  It worked my butt off.

What I Need To Be Doing

In some ways it seems like common, clicheish sense.  Cut carbs. Whew.  Like I can turn on Dr. Phil, Oprah, and next year Catie Couric to figure that out.  Right?

Not so quick.

On page 5 of the report, there is a pie chart that shows if I want to lose weight, what the actual balance is for me when it comes to Carbs, Fat and Protein.  This formula isn’t the same for you necessarily unless you’re also a Carb Reducer-High MET.

According to my DNA test, my daily diet should be balanced this way:  45 percent carbs, 35 percent fat and 20 percent protein.

The report says that Carb Reducer-High METs are “prone to obesity and have difficulty with blood sugar regulation if their daily carbohydrate intake exceeds 49 percent of total calories.”   It goes on to say that carb reduction has been shown to optimize blood sugar regulation and reduce the risk of further weight gain.  If I keep high saturated and low monosaturated fats in my diet, my risk for weight gain and elevated blood sugar increases.  Essentially, I need to restrict my carb intake each day and shift the fat composition of my diet to monosaturated fats.

Top Tips For Me

  1. There is a listing of Glycemic Indexed carbs that show me which ones are bad and can cause high blood sugar and insulin levels.  High GI foods keep me from feeling full and worse, make me crave more.
  2. Read food labels and ensure in the list of ingredients that “whole grain” is one of the first few, not “enriched.”
  3. Include some protein with every meal and snack.
  4. Limit alcohol, fruit juice, caffeine consumption as these cause low blood sugar and leave me hungry and tired.
  5. Limit sweets following a nutritious meal high in protein and fiber to ensure I don’t overindulge or crave more sweets.
  6. Keep protein snacks handy so I don’t go craving a carb-loaded somepin somepin.
  7. Drink tons of water.
  8. Reduce my total daily consumption of calories.

You can learn more about this at InherentHealth.com, or by contacting PNT in Dallas.  They have a network of nutritionists throughout the world so your chances of finding one near you is pretty good.

I highly recommend this. It’s made me much more aware of what’s going on in my diet and after a day like yesterday where I weighed in with a four-lb increase, it’s good to be able to point my nose at the source of why that happened.

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1,800 Calorie Goal for June 8, 2011

Jun 8, 2011 by

EDITOR’S NOTE: I’m on a mission to cut my calorie intake from “out of control” to 1,800 per day.  Not going to be easy.  Just to show you how easy it is to get to 1,800, I’m going to show you the next couple of days.

Breakfast: Two cups of Cheerios, 1 cup of skim milk (okay, maybe two). Two pieces of whole wheat toast, a small dollop of lite margarine and a dollop of grape jelly–Almost 450 calories.

Going for 1,800 calories today with three “larger” meals and three snacks.  That’s going to be hard when with just that little bit I’m already a third of the way there.

Snack 1: 10:15 a.m. 1/4 cup of honey roasted peanuts.  High in Sodium, but only 170 calories.  That puts me at 620 so far today.

Lunch: 12:30 p.m. Low fat low calorie roast beef sandwich on whole wheat, a dollop of mayo, salt and pepper.  One serving of kettle BBQ chips.  Add 550 calories and 1170 for the day.  Two more snacks and dinner to go.  Ugh.

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