I Never Thought It Would Happen To Me...but it did. September 12, 2012 began like any normal day. Got to work, had a workout and shower, and headed to my desk. Had a good breakfast and greeted my folks as they began to arrive for the day. 9:00 - all was well. 10:00 - started to feel a little warm but did not think anything of it. 11:00 - all hell broke loose.
I was sweating so profusely that water was dripping from my hair and my clothing was stuck to me. Putting my head on my desk, I asked my boss to take me to the hospital because I was feeling sick and felt I needed medical attention. Besides the sweating, the only other problem that I was experiencing was extensive heartburn which I put down to having been sick and throwing up my breakfast. Thank heavens that he had the presence of mind to realize that I needed serious help immediately. He called 911 and the EMT's were the first to show up on the scene.
They got me from my chair to the floor and started a drip because I was showing signs of extensive dehydration. During this time, they were checking my blood sugar (it topped out at 615) and my blood pressure which was steadily rising. Donned in an oxygen mask, the next thing I remember was being in the back of an ambulance and a bumpy (but short) ride. I work within minutes of Tampa General Hospital which has one of the best cardiac units in the nation.
When they wheeled me into the ER, I remember floating in and out, seeing a lot of people around me and someone who kept asking me questions. I answered what I could and tried to remember what had happened and how.
After an EKG, EEG and echocardiogram, my cardio team came to tell me that I had a heart attack and the tests had shown that I had a blockage. My sugar was still high but was being brought down slowly with the help of an insulin drip.
A heart catherization was performed and it showed that one vein and one artery were 55% blocked and one vein was 100% blocked. The team worked to clear them, inserted two stents and a temporary pacemaker. I got really sick during the procedure but the surgeon and her assistants helped me through it by softly speaking to me and reminding me to breathe. Once completed, I moved to ICU for the next three days.
Since the wires were still in my body, I needed to be very careful during this time not to bend my right leg (where the equipment was inserted) and to not lay on either side. When the pain in my back got really bad from laying on it, I was given morphine - all the while the heart monitors beeped and the three drips kept my body going.
Day Three - the wires and temporary pacemaker came out and after a couple of hours (to avoid breaking open the surgical site and bleeding), I was able to lay on my side thus helping to alleviate the pain in my back and hips. Day Four - I was moved from the ICU to the regular ward to a semi-private room and allowed to get up and start walking.
The first time I stood up, I truly thought I was going to go down with a splat. Shaky as a new puppy, I moved down the hall slowly with my walker. One complete circle later, I returned to my room, sat in a recliner and dozed for a couple of hours. My team came to see me and explained everything that had happened and what I needed to do going forward.
All things considered, I truly count my blessings that I have been given a chance to "do it right".