Jan. 13, 2020
This is the day I had my heart attack.
I was driving when my chest started to hurt. I first thought it was a rib out of place, which I have had in the past. But then my upper back started to hurt. Now both front chest and upper back were hurting. I went about a mile and I had to pull over because I was feeling sick. I pulled over and got out of my car to walk around and get some fresh air. Once my stomach settled down some, I knew I need to get some help.
I got back into my car and looked for ‘Emergency Room’ on my GPS and found 15 vet hospitals. I didn’t think to call 911, but across the street, I saw a CVS. I drove over to the parking lot and calmly parked and locked my car and went in. My chest and upper back were still very painful. About a level 9.
I walked to the back and told the Pharmacist that I thought I was having a heart attack. I didn’t wait for her to respond, I turned around and went over to the chairs and laid on the floor and put my feet up on a chair. Pain is still a level 10 or more.
There was a man sitting next to my feet that helped relax me. The Pharmacist came over to offer some aspirin, but I refused because I wasn’t thinking straight. Yes, it would have helped to thin the blood!
Another employee came over to offer help also. Her action and words help me to refocus on her and less on my deep pain.
A great THANKS to both ladies. (Yes, I have gone back to thank them! They were glad to see me alive.)
When the paramedics arrived, three guys worked on me and the Captain called my wife. He was VERY GOOD with her. He was soft and firm in the words and attitude he used. He gave her directions on what to do and what not to do.
They loaded me into the ambulance and took me to a hospital that specializes in heart attacks. In the ER, I was told I was having a massive heart attack. One thing I noticed, and it really helped me, was that everyone, from the paramedics to the staff at the hospital, was were clam. I think if they panicked, I would have panicked also, but they were clam which made me feel like they knew what they were doing.
They took me in and did the operation in a few minutes. The operation room was very cold. They went in through my wrist and place two stents, it was a long blockage, in an artery on the right side of my heart. It was 100% blocked. I felt the blood flow in my body, it was warm.
After the operation, two different nurses, after looking at my chart, were surprised I was alive or at lease with such little damage to my heart.
I had three weeks of recovery at home and my wife was watching me like a hawk! She made sure that I didn’t overdo it. Which made me feel good, but I am not telling her.
Here are a few things I am doing to heal my heart:
Because of the coronavirus, I am in a cardio rehab program at my home. The program is based on Dr. Ornish's book and I have the book. I will use the book until UCLA opens the program again.
Diet - The program at UCLA promotes a plant-based diet. I have started that diet, (think Vegan).
Group discussion - The healing part of the discussion is to be OK with what happened. Not to embrace the trauma of the heart attack but to realize that has really happened. It stills feel surreal to me. This web page is part of my path to healing, telling my story. Yes, there have been a few times I had to step away from telling it.
Stress Management – Staying home and out of traffic has helped. I am reading Dr. Ornish’s book about it and another book called ‘To Hell with the Hustle’
Some things that I have added to my life:
Dr. Dean Ornish, M.D., book - UnDo it
Jefferson Bethke's Christian book to help with my stress - To hell with the hustle
A magazine called Forks over knives which helps with a plant-based diet.
An Instant Pot, with an extra lid that Air Fryer Lid with Roast, Bake, Broil, Reheat & Dehydrate
Letsfit Smart Watch with Oxygen Saturation Monitor and Heart Rate Monitor, Step Counter, Sleep & Swim Tracking, 5ATM Waterproof GPS Smartwatch Compatible with iPhone and Android