You know... with all the posts I've placed on this blog, I never have brought up my heart attack from 19 years ago. I guess it's about time to do that, as the event changed me in several ways. Some good ways, and some not so good.
I was 37 years old at the time. One Saturday afternoon I was preparing for a nap, when my left shoulder began to increasingly bother me. My wife at the time was also in the bed, reading a book before taking a nap herself. I mentioned my shoulder being sore, and jokingly said something about sweating. Soon as I was finished with my statement, I broke out in a sweat.
Fortunately, after having attended first aid training 5 or 10 times, I immediately recognized what was going on, as a heart attack. My wife told me I had gone pale, which affirmed what was happening. We walked out to the car, and off we drove to the hospital. It was a pretty scary drive; running red lights and a lot of horn beeping, but we arrived at the hospital unharmed.
I walked into the emergency room unassisted, and sat down while my wife told the people at the desk that it seemed like I was having a heart attack. Some medical professional (can't recall if it was a doctor or a nurse) did a few quick tests, which ended with giving me a nitro glycerin tablet. Almost immediately the symptoms became less intense, but only for a few minutes. They determined that I was indeed, having a heart attack, and quickly got me into an operating room.
For the next 1/2 hour or so, I was in the greatest pain of my life! First they gave me an angio-gram to figure out what they needed to do to treat me. The whole time, I was in such pain that I was swearing like a sailor. They decided that what I needed was an angio-plaste. So I simply laid there in extreme pain while they did their thing. First thing I did when they were finished was to apologize for all the swearing I had been doing. I remember a male nurse telling me not to worry about it, that it happens all the time during this procedure.
I stayed in the hospital, stoned out on morphine for the next 3 days. Now I know why heroin is so addictive. That was some good shit! When I left the hospital I began viewing life differently than before I went in. For the next 10 years I was hyper sensitive to any kind of pain or discomfort I experienced. It was a total pain in the ass! I returned to the hospital 5 or 6 times out of fear that I was having another heart attack. Turns out, each time, it was merely a mild case of heartburn.
Then 9 years ago, those all too familiar pains returned. When I got to the hospital, they told me I needed a new coil because the old one was warn out. They replaced it, and I was good as new. At that point I made a decision to focus on living instead of dying. I became far less conscious of every little ache and pain that came my way. I still try to take care of myself, which is challenging because of chronic back problems, and I may not live forever, but at least I can enjoy myself now. THAT'S important!