My 2008 Heart Attack
On September 21, 2008, I suffered a massive heart attack. My wife Jan and I had just finished washing our boat when I stood up and felt pressure in my chest. Never having had a heart attack before and only being in my mid 40’s, I assumed I just had indigestion. My left elbow was cramping up but I attributed that to the work we were doing. Jan asked if I thought I might need to go to the hospital. After a few minutes I reluctantly agreed. A couple of blocks from our home the pain subsided and I assumed I must have indigestion or an anxiety attack or something; surely it wasn’t a heart attack. We went back home and after about five minutes the pain was back, only stronger. So off we go to Midlands Hospital again.
This time the pain did not subside but continued to get worse. By the time we got to Midlands I was in severe pain. It felt like someone was squeezing my chest with a vice. When we pulled up to the emergency room my wife ran in to get some help. When she came out I tried to get out of the car. I can remember saying to her that I didn’t feel right and I was dizzy. That is the last thing I remember.
This next part is what I was told happened next. My eyes rolled back in my head, I lay back in the seat and was basically gone. One nurse jumped into the car, climbed up on top of me and performed CPR. Then they pulled me out of the car placed me on a gurney and had to shock my heart to get it going again. Within minutes the staff had rushed me into the cath lab and Dr. Carstens and Dr. Ramachandran placed a stint in me. During this extremely hectic time, the hospital Chaplain never left Jan’s side.
When I awoke I was in the ICU. The staff was not only professional, but was far more kind and comforting than I would have ever imagined. Even the cleaning lady was amazing. Remarkably, I was only there for two days, but really felt like I knew everyone I came in contact with. They were so nice! It did not end there. Cardiac Rehab was awesome. From beginning to end I was made to feel like I was the most important patient they had. When I completed rehab they even gave me a graduation t-shirt and a diploma. It was a truly amazing experience.