Monday, October 5, 2009

Yes, I Guess It Was!

As it turns out, I had some more pains and had to call to schedule the heart cath instead of the stress test. I had that done on September 30th. The news wasn't the best news that I could have received but at the same time it could have been a lot worse. When I called to schedule it they didn't have any available appointments until the 30th so I had about three weeks to think about it. It would have been a lot easier if they could have done it the next day so I didn't have that thinking time.

People, for the most part, mean well. There were several that tried to calm my nerves by telling stories of their experiences with the procedure. One said he had had it done 5 times and it was a walk in the park. Several had had it done once and said there was nothing to it. The best advise I got was from a friend, Dr. Marvin Woodson, who said he had been through the procedure 3 times. His take on the situation made the most sense to me. He says when it's someone else that's having it done, it's routine, but when it's you, it's serious. No matter how many times you've had it done.

I was told to report to the Heart Center at SRHS at 10 am. I was sent directly to the second floor and taken straight back to be prep'ed for the procedure. I was given a gown that opens in the back and told to strip everything off and put it on but not to tie it and to also not lay on it. Basically it was cover with armholes. Now, let me interject here that if you have the least bit of modesty in you, you will lose it at this point in the process. In comes 2 or 3 cute, young nurses messing with and shaving parts of me that no one else except my wife, and my Mama when I was a baby, had ever messed with. I instructed them to be careful and to pay attention to where they were shaving. Then they attached wires all over my body, inserted 2 IV's, one in each hand, wrapped a blood pressure cuff on my arm, and put a thing on my finger that measures blood oxygen levels.

Once all of that was done they let the family come back and wait with me until it was my turn. More thinking time was all I needed. The nurse that was assigned to me came in and said that there was one person ahead of me but I was next and it shouldn't be more than 30 to 45 minutes. One and a half hours later they came to get me. A nurse pushed me through a maze of hallways till we went through a set of double doors into what looked like an operating room. They called it a Cath Lab. I don't know the difference. In this room there was a whole different set of nurses, one of which proceeded to take my gown. Now, here I lay, nekkid as a jaybird, in front of God and a room full of women nurses and I'm thinking, just go ahead and knock me out already. Eventually they did, well, not all the way but enough that I didn't care if I was nekkid in front of a bunch of women nurses.

When I awoke enough to realize where I was, I looked up and there was a young blond mashing on my leg real close to where she ought not to be mashing. It was hurting real bad and when I raised my head to see what she was doing she raised her voice and told me to lay flat. I told her she was hurting and she said she had to do that for 15 minutes to keep me from bleeding to death. I told her to keep it up as long as she wanted to. After she finished they layed my gown back on me and pushed me back through the maze to the room I had left earlier. I guess while they were doing all of that, the doctor was out in the waiting room talking to the family because when they let them come back they told me what he had said.

I have had a heart attack sometime in the past. Could have been two months ago or it could have been two years ago. There's really no way to tell. But it was definitely an attack because there is tissue damage on the bottom right side of my heart. That's the sort of news you expect to hear about someone else, not yourself. Believe me, it's sobering to hear that news and know they're talking about you. The arteries leading to my heart are loaded with plaque. The one on the right side has several plaque deposits totaling a 95% blockage. However, no corrective action was required because it had already rerouted itself. In other words, God did a heart bypass on that one. The artery on the left also has several plaque deposits totaling a 50% blockage. He has decided to treat it with medication. The bottom line, as he put it to me, is that if I want to live I will have to start an exercise regimen, lose weight, stop smoking and take the meds. So, even though my bags are packed should God call me home, I'm hoping that He'll let me hang around a little longer to watch the grandkids grow up.


Amanda said...

You are in my thoughts and prayers!!

Sheila said...

Great post! I can hear you when I read this. I'm so glad it went well. Listen to that doctor. I saw my dad go through 5 by-pass surgery and it's not pretty. You take care of yourself and I'll keep on praying for you all.