All I Want for Christmas Is…A Working Heart!
|Ornament currently on our tree.
(See Note below.)
Comment – This is an abbreviated version of a longer piece that I intend to have published.
December 21, 2018 – The pain literally pulled me up from the bed. My chest was starting to burn – no other way to truly describe it. This feels weird! I thought. I made it downstairs and drank some ice water from the fridge. I felt a little nauseous and a bit disoriented. It was, after all, just past midnight, and I had only been asleep for three hours. The burning sensation continued, so I took some Tums thinking that I had the mother of all heartburn. The Tums didn’t help.
I sat in the big brown chair in our den. I was alone downstairs. Zoe, our new border collie, decided it was more important to sleep than to come down and check on me. So much for saving Timmy in the well!
Still thirsty, I stood up to get some more water. That’s when my chest pain went nuclear. Now, instead of a burning sensation, my chest pain felt like a combination of being pressed with a giant vise along with a full-grown male elephant balancing on it with one leg.
(Later at the hospital, I told the doctor my chest felt like a curb-stop with a Chevy Suburban perched on top.)
Painful…to say the least. I was doubled over the leather ottoman asking God, What is going on? He didn’t immediately respond. Instead, he pointed me to the true authority on all health matters: Google. So, as the pain eased, I sat in the big brown chair and used my phone to search the Internet for “chest pain.” 761 million entries later I still wasn’t sure what was wrong.
I finally fell asleep and woke up three hours later. I ate a small breakfast and took Zoe for our morning walk. It was already drizzling, so I bundled up.
We never made it off our block. The chest pain was excruciating! Back inside the house, I called Vicki – whose office is less than 5 minutes away – and told her we needed to go to the emergency room.
The attending physician came into the exam room to tell me that my troponin levels were elevated, but not too high. Congratulations…I had a mild heart attack! (There was nothing mild about that pain.)
Wonderful. With everything else we’ve dealt with over the past three years, we end 2018 with a real bang.
A cardiologist arrived about an hour later to explain the cardiac catheterization procedure. I had the procedure that afternoon and the cardiologist found 100% blockage of my right coronary artery. He cleaned out the blockage and inserted a stent.
I spent the rest of Friday and Saturday (Dec. 22) morning recovering in a private hospital room. The good news: there was no significant damage to my heart. The bad news: I will be on a multitude of meds for the foreseeable future.
We were happy to be back home in-time for the arrival of our son, Zach, for the Christmas holiday. Being home for Christmas and not laid up in a hospital bed was a true Christmas present.
So, Merry Christmas! Ours was another one to remember. Just thankful I was around to celebrate it.
Note: The heart ornament shown above was a gift from my sister-in-law, Alisa. I thought it was an appropriate symbol for this post – not simply because it’s a heart and not because it’s a Christmas ornament, but because the year (2011) was when I had my major melanoma surgery.
I survived that period to continue my journey. I’ll survive this as well.
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