This past Christmas was looking to be better than the last for many reasons. I got some nice presents for my wife, which is often the crux of Christmas for me. I usually don’t get any suggestions. Things were looking good and I was looking forward to going over the in-laws house for Christmas Dinner. As usual, went to bed way too late. I think it was 1 am. Between 4 and 5am I woke up with bad heart burn, got up took some gaviscon, got an extra pillow and went back to bed. This is really bad heartburn I’m thinking to myself. My wife comes in and takes a shower, I am awake sorta. After she leaves I take some more gaviscon, I start doing things like seeing how deep I can breath etc… the pain is pretty bad and extends over to the nipple on both sides of my chest. Given that both my father and brother have had heart attacks, I was concerned. Got up and walking into the kitchen to talk with my wife, my chest is hurting more…. no discussion needed, tell the wife, call 911 I am having a heart attack. I head back into my bedroom to put on some fleese pants and shirt and sox so I won’t freeze on the way there.
I go out to the living area and sit on the couch. My wife is asking me questions. I sorta think she can’t believe that the 911 person just doesn’t take the address and move on. She is still on the phone with them when the 1st responders arrive (San Carlos FD). I get more questions many of which I know they are going to ask, so things go fast. (what is my name, where am I?, what city do I live in, what day is it? bla, bla bla.) I chew 4 childrens asprin. I ask for water…. NO WAY! (I hate that even though I know why you can’t have any, I’m thirsty!). They take blood pressure and other vitals.
Amublence is here. They move in, everyone knows everyone, it’s almost jovial. They quickly get me strapped into a chair that can fold into multiple positions as they have to move me down 4 stairs. Getting loaded into the ambulence then comes the IV line…. really hate that. They are very busy getting ready. I am hoping that the nice looking blonde with blues eyes will stay back with me. No such luck, she drives. They do a very good job and fortunately I live about 5 minutes from a good hospital. We had our kids there so I know it’s good.
I don’t know why everyone complains about the wait in the ER, I got right in! .
They took me to the cath lab which is where they will do the angiograme. Lots of questions, trying to stay calm and tell them as much as I can about family history (both dad and brother have had heart attacks and by-passes). They explain what they are going to do and get me ready by shaving my right groin area. The novacain shot is the worst. I ask for something to take the edge off and they put it in the IV. I can feel the warmth of the dye going in, it almost feels good as I am cold. I sorta drift off but can hear the doctor telling the teck what he wants. “Give me the front, now the side, back to the front” . There are 4 large monitors the doctor can see in real time what is going on with my heart.
They seem to be done and take the cath line out. Doctor says well all that mountaineering and hiking and stuff has helped you, your heart is very strong. The bad news is that you have over 90% blockage in 3 of the main artieries feeding the heart. Stints don’ t make sense in a sitiuation like this. I know I will be having bypass surgury.
With all of the meds and everything else they put in me, my chest does not hurt anymore, Blood Pressure is ok, and so is heart rate. They take me up to the cardio ward. They keep telling me not to move! WTF!? Turns out the artery they use for the scan is a major one in the leg. They don’t stich them up anymore as it reqires the person to lie still for 8 hours! They put in some kind of ‘plug’ made of wax and who know what else. A person explains all of this and tells me I will have to lay in bed for 2 hours at least. Man I really have to pee!….they hand me a bottle.
For the next two hours all I can think of is peeing. I try many times…. just not happening. Finally I get a little relief. Later I can go into a real bathroom. This is heaven. My wife was there most of the time. She had to leave and finish up getting ready the things we were supposed to bring to the in-laws. Nothing she can do here anyway and has been with me since I came into the ER.
At 6:30 am on December 26th, I get a tripple by-pass with multiple blockages in each! WOW, I am lucky to be alive! Yesterday the Surgen showed me one of the blockages. It looks like a swallowed a lego! There is a square chunk in the artery. The surgen even says that he can’t believe anything is getting through but there must be. He thinks the colesteral ruptured.
The next day or two are lost in a haze. I came home Dec. 31, just in time for New Years (I went to bed at 11). The doctor says I can ski after 6 weeeks! I am stoked!