The Heart Attack

Between 10 and 15 years ago my Dr. gave me a prescription for Lipitor and for whatever reason I never had the prescription  filled . My Dr. said it was to prevent me from having a heart attack at 55. Well he was wrong, I did not have a heart attack when I was 55, I had it when I was 53.

June 14 2010 was a day like any other day I went to work, came home, took a shower and started to cook Mac and cheese.

My life up to this point was pretty ordinary. We have two kids, one of which had just graduated from college about a month earlier. Our other child had been on her own for a several years and was doing well. We were still dealing with the effects of September 11Th. Central Florida is still a tourist based economy.   All in all life was normal and challenging.

I had begun to cook when the pain began. It started in the center of my chest and quickly spread the width of my upper torso. I got dizzy and started to have cold sweats. I immediately knew this was not good. I sat down on the couch irrationally hoping it would subside which, of course, it did not. My wife just happened to come down and notice I was sitting on the couch and she knew there was something wrong, I never sit on the couch. I’m usually doing something at night especially early evening I never just sit. So it was obvious to her that something was amiss. I don’t recall what I told her but she went to change her cloths. When she return I was laying on the couch. She was seriously concerned at that point, that is something I have never done. I lay down in bed, nowhere else. I told her of my pain and she asked me if it was time to call an ambulance I said yes, she did. That’s when I began to pray.

They arrived, we must have had 6 people come with the ambulance, I thought it was overkill but I guess that’s how they justify the ridiculous bill.  They were efficient and professional and had me in the ambulance in short order. That is the last thing I can be 100% sure of. Immediately they gave me baby aspirin and morphine. Morphine gave me an immediate displeasing taste in my mouth. The morphine relieved the pain but that was the only useful side effect of the drug, for me it was horrible. The morphine made me feel like I had two heads. One was attached to my body aware of what was going on the other was outside my body watching what was going on, and the disgusting taste in my mouth. The effect of the morphine was immediate, I felt right it after I tasted it and that was simultaneous with the injection.

They immediately took me to the emergency room, there was no waiting. If they don’t make you wait in an emergency room guess what, you’re in serious condition. Before I knew it they had me  hooked up to a bunch of machines running all types of preliminary tests. They asked me the same questions the EMT’s just asked me and more. They informed me that I had a heart attack and that they would do all they could to help me. Of course, by now, I knew what had happened it did not take a genius to figure out the obvious.  What I was concerned with was whats next. As it turned out my condition was deemed to be beyond this hospitals ability to handle.  They decided to send me to Florida Hospital South. They prepped me for flight and sent me by helicopter to Florida Hospital South. I always wanted to fly in a helicopter but by this time they had given me so much morphine I don’t remember much of it. I know that from the position I was in, flat on my back, I did not get a good view of Orlando.

I arrived at Florida Hospital South and they proceeded to assess my situation. They found I had three blocked arteries. After doing consultations among themselves they decided they would try a stent. Well by now it was around midnight I was fully loaded with morphine and was awake but in la-la land. They prepped me for the procedure which meant they shaved my leg where the large artery is because they go in through that artery to get to the heart. They stripped me, of course, but by that time I did not care. There are only a few things I remember about this first night.

The first thing I remember is being rolled down the corridor into the room where the procedure was going to be performed.   The room was very cold but Florida hospital has blanket warmers and they gave me this nice toasty warm blanket.The room was unusually large with laminate oak cabinets. They were your standard low-cost cabinets. They took me off the gurney and slid me onto a table that was so narrow I thought I was going to fall off. I remember asking them why it was so narrow but I don’t remember their response. Next to the narrow table were a couple of monitors the technician explained that they where for assisting  the cardiologist while he was doing the stent. They also had an area behind glass that look oddly like a control room.  They told me they where going to give me additional medication to allow the procedure. They told me I would be awake but would not feel anything.  They were right I was awake wishing I could see the monitor when the cardiologist started the procedure. But I did feel the cardiologist as he began the procedure not painful but uncomfortable.  I drifted off to sleep and don’t remember leaving.

Though the situation was serious I did not have the opportunity to be afraid. From the very onset I did not have time to think about what had happened it was a continuous motion of activity.

The end of day one.


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