I woke up at 2am on April 23rd with my chest kind of feeling weird and having an achy feeling in my shoulders and back. Mostly, I was just uncomfortable when I first woke up. On the pain scale of 1-10, I would have put it around a 2 or 3? It felt like a body ache but in my shoulders and back mostly. The first episode lasted about 3-4 minutes. I woke up, used the bathroom, took some ibuprofen and was just taking some deep breaths when it passed. I went back to sleep and didn’t have anymore issues during the night.
In the morning, I woke up, went to work, stopped by BK for my normal breakfast (2 bacon egg and cheese croissants and a medium Dr Pepper) that I had almost every morning for the past couple months. As I was walking into work, I had another episode that was very similar to the first. I walked in and rode the escalator up with the heart attack in progress. By the time I got to the top of the escalator, it had passed. I worked all day without incident and got home a bit after 5pm. At this time, more serious episodes started to come on and I knew I was in trouble. I certainly couldn’t just ignore it as I was at home alone and I didn’t want to wake up at 1am with a serious episode happening and nobody there to help me. With that in mind, I decided to get dressed and call 911. By the time I was dressed, the episode had passed so I drove myself up to the ER. I’d say the episodes were spiking into the 5 range on the pain scale now.
At the ER triage room, they had me hooked up to machines and were listening to me but they said the machine tests were inconclusive. They took me to a trauma room and that’s when I got more worried as the trauma room is where people with gun shot wounds go. More doctors were coming and listening to my chest and getting me hooked up to more machines and still, the tests were inconclusive. They said they wanted to go take a look because even though the tests were inconclusive, the symptoms I was describing sounded like a heart attacked. I was nervous about this but I agreed.
In the cath lab, they gave me some medicine to help me relax and then made an incision in my wrist and tried to go in that way. Because of my anatomy, they couldn’t get the cath to my heart so they had to go in through my groin area – after a nice shave! This part of the experience was pretty mild. I was just laying on a table and there were monitors and I could see what they were doing. After about 20 minutes of feeling very chill and relaxed, they were done and said yeah, you had a 100% blockage in the LAD; the widow maker. We put a stent in and you’re good as new. I remember feeling very…. 😑
My dad had his first heart attack at 56 then died at 61 with another so I beat him by 12 years; awesome. It’s weird to think about that too because he lived life hard. I remember he was a heavy smoker and drank a lot. I’ve not lived the best life – obviously – but I’ve been cycling pretty regular for 4-5 years now. I wonder how much that offset the severity of my heart attack? Other than my bicycle riding, I’m pretty sedentary as I work in IT as a SharePoint Engineer at Bridgestone. I spend 8 hours a day sitting at my desk, doing awesome shit with SharePoint.
Anyhoo, I was in ICU for one day then on the regular floor for two days. I was put on more medication than I care to admit (7 pills a day). Some of them will be forever; aspirin and blood thinner for the stent. The others though, I can possibly come off of if I can get my health in order.
During my stay, I had many people come to visit and that made me feel pretty good. I had work friends coming to visit – Antwon, Phillepa and even my manager, Randy! That was awesome. My old manager, Scott and another guy, Rob from CCA came by to visit too! Jessie came to visit all the way from Crossville and she brought a surprise, my best friend David came to visit! That was really cool!
Special shout out to Jen who came up as I was in the ER and the cath lab. Even though we’re separated, she still came up and visited several times during my stay.
Really special shout out to Amanda who really helped me a lot. She made sure I had everything I needed and spent a lot of time with me and took me home and made sure I was setup at home.
My doctors have cleared me to resume all my normal activities and I feel better than ever. The damage to my heart was minimal and they believe that my heart can get back to normal. I’ve been back on the bike for a few weeks now and I’ve really felt great. I guess it’s amazing that your cardio vascular system works better when you don’t have a clogged artery! I wonder how much this affected my bike trip out west last year as I was really struggling. I thought it was just because I was out of shape – and I was – but I imagine this had to contribute as well. I’m just so glad this didn’t happen while I was out there!