No, this is not a skyline of NYC nor exactly my EKG, but it might be similar. Last Wednesday when it was my turn to post a blog, Diana kindly stepped in. Jackie was in Nebraska visiting her two sisters yet keeping a close eye. Sunday morning prior, I woke to a pressing burning pain across my entire chest area. My husband had gotten up and went to the other end of our house turning coffee on and making himself tea. I, on the other hand, paced back and forth from the studio, bedroom, and bathroom, sat, stood, got a cold rag, paced, sat, and stood. Finally, I wore out and sat on the side of our bed when my husband came in. He talked to me, touched my shoulder, bent to see my dull face and my upper lip sweating. Sentences became shorter until only one word at a time, then only a nod. Allen called 911.
He did the right thing, and I did the right thing by humbly submitting myself to all four good-looking firemen to do whatever they all do with gadgets, lights in the pupils, can you smile, sticky plastic circles, and plugs on my chest, back, arms and what have you and off I went into the ambulance with a nitrate pill dissolving under my tongue.
The last time I was in the hospital was April 1971 giving birth to my only child. That was quite enough for me. Today looking back, I cannot count how many times I have sat with others in open-spaced waiting rooms, walked through cold interior halls crowded with carts, sidestepped beds and wheelchairs, ask questions, and taken numerous endless notes for family and friends, hearing the irritating beeping machines going erratic, prayed and held their hands and wrung mine. I was in total fear it would be me one day.
Back to Sunday, once the hubbub was concluded in the ER, indications concurred I had had a heart attack. The EKGs did not reveal immediate surgery of any kind would be necessary, but those readings along with the elevated troponin levels from my bloodwork, read my heart was pleading for assistance. I simply turned myself inside out like a sock. I would not, could not, think of any other possibilities other than to be calm, listen, make good decisions, and all would be well. My mind froze on those collected pragmatic notions.
Throughout that Sunday and onto Monday, each time my husband stood by the bed, he repeated, “I’m not supposed to be on this side of the rail.” I can’t count the times he has had heart caths, vascular stint inserts in his veins in his legs, or false fires from a defibrillator device (and not false fires) that had to be replaced. We still held hands no matter who stood or laying down.
Monday afternoon rolled around and my request for a good heart doctor from the team of Pima Heart which my husband has had for years arrived, hung out in my room and gave me total reassurance, plus added, “Just like in the deli line, we are up next, ” waiting on the Cath Lab.
Moments later prepped in the Cath Lab, I felt a slight prick in the wrist, and a tiny sensation up the arm and knew they were peering around my heart, locating one artery 99% blocked, a balloon to allow a stint, and done. Nothing else. No heart damage. “You are going to be good for a very, very long time,” my brilliant cardiologist said. He even squeezed my toes as he spoke. The following late morning on Tuesday my husband drove me home.
It is one week since yesterday I came home. I feel as if I had been on a whirlwind of a trip in someone else’s suitcase. As mentioned in a prior blog, I love autumn, and I just want to share I am going to love it, even more, this season.