Handling Your Heart Attack? Well…You Don’t.

As you have all no doubt noticed, I haven’t been on old WordPress for a while. I have been AWOL for a specific reason though and not through some nefarious whim that took me toshores foreign and far. I have been on a journey of discovery though. Very personal, extremely painful and life changing. You are probably fed up now with my ‘gassing-on’ so, I’ll get to the point.

On 30 August 2012 I had a major heart attack. A real beaut, it was one that required not one but two stents, little balloons on sticks that go into your artery  and some bypassing went on as well.

I had gotten up early to answer some email and to be available for the Siemens Company. Theywere booked in the marvellously wide time of 08:00 – 18:00 aka all day. Working on the principle that if I did not drag myself out of bed early enough (yes, I have had workmen show up first thing in the morning) I’d miss them and I would: a. Probably be charged, or  b. Have to re-book.

*It might interest you to know that they did not show up that morning or even that day (as far as I know). I still have to track them down.*

So around 0900 I had my first “episode.” This consisted of both of my hands getting really hot. I mean, flaming hot, so hot that everything should be combusting or melting at my touch. They then felt like they were going to blow up from the inside out. I’ve never had a sensation like that  before and as soon as it had ended I went outside for a cigarette. I ran several ideas through my head and none of them  seemed likely.

“It cannot be heart related.” I told myself this with complete confidence. Two years before, I’d gotten the radioactive injections, rode the bicycle, and had pictures take inside and out. They also checked my lungs.  ** Note to self, still no super powers. I must find out who to complain to.**

At 10:00 I had my second episode. This took a little longer to ease and as soon as I could, I crawled up the stairs to ask my daughter to ring for the ambulance.  While she was talking to 999 (the UK version of 911) I had my third and most intense sensation of the already long morning. “What’s wrong with you?” She asked this out of the side of her mouth while holding the phone up to her ear.

“I think…I am…having…a heart attack.” As she gave them our address I slumped and ‘ass-crawled’ back down the stairs. It took quite a while for the ambulance men to arrive. They got there just as I went into my fourth episode, each episode had increased in intensity, severity and duration.

The two ambulance men did not fill us with confidence. They were nice and friendly enough, but between the two of them they could not find a vein if it jumped right up in front of them. Finally, after enough failed attempts had left a blood trail that would have given Freddy Kruger an orgasm, they located one and it was off into the ambulance.

On the way to the Ipswich A&E the symptoms kept repeating and growing so that by the time we reached A&E they took me into the emergency treatment area and  started pumping me full of pain killers and ‘prepping me for surgery at Basildon. This ‘prep’  consisted of them calling Basildon Cardiological Hospital while trying to remove every hair on my body.

I was given some gas by the ambulance guys and I immediately fell in love with it (for two full days after-ward I kept asking for this magical stuff.  But as great as that gas was?  The really  magical  event was just about to happen.

These two ordinary ambulance guys suddenly turned into race driver Lewis Hamilton and made the entire almost two hour journey in 41 minutes.

We all arrived at Basildon A & E in a flurry of activity, people and pain. I had a team of five surgeons and doctors who were going to working on me. They finally hit the medication point necessary for me to be able to talk to anyone. They revealed that my aorta was completely blocked. It would require clearing and it would have two ‘stents’ put in to keep it open.

A stent, for the uninitiated, is basically a balloon on a stick. This stick is pushed into the ‘blocked’ artery and then the balloon is blown up to allow room for a brace to hold your artery open. It was while they were doing this part of the operation that they discovered another problem or two and a bypass was also performed.

I was supposed to be blissfully sleeping while all this was happening, but, I was not. I remember opening my eyes and seeing a round magnifying glass type thing. I was focusing on this while I could feel things happening in my neck. I then heard, “What is this, I mean, seriously what is this?

I then heard mumbling going on between a couple of the people bent over my chest. I couldn’t make that out. But one had a questioning tone and the other slightly pissed off one. I then said, “Is there anything I can help with?” Everything got quiet and just a quickly I was off with the fairies again.

Later when I was in the Intensive care unit, the doctors told my daughter about me waking up in the middle of open heart surgery. They were amazed since they had to, at one point, stop my heart completely. It could have been nasty, although I’m not sure for who. But they were stunned that I’d attempted conversation  so calmly.

I was healing rapidly. I  had gotten so many glowing words about my complexion and my rate of recovery that I was starting to feel like a celebrity. I was getting up and walking around and ‘hawking’ lots of yucky stuff from my lungs. This last bit was a bit painful but necessary as I had to increase my lung capacity.

I found out a lot of things during my five my visit to that tremendous place.

Firstly, I discovered the magical gas the would make any pain go away just by inhaling it.

Secondly, I discovered that no one working in the entire hospital had heard anyone from the ‘real’ American south talk in person before. I had folks come from all over the hospital just to hear me talk.

Thirdly, with all the praise going around about my ‘incredibly fast’ healing rate, I was starting to feel a bit like Wolverine.

Fourth, I was definitely in love with almost all the nursing staff and not a few of the doctors. They were all beautiful, caring, and helpful.

Fifth and last, with all the drugs I had imbibed during my brief stay, I was convinced that all the staff, nursing and Doctoral, were in love with me.

I was released from the hospital after five days and they would be perfectly happy for me to stay longer if I wanted.

So, you want to know how to handle your heart attack? You don’t. You just grab onto whatever is handy and hold on. The heart attack is in charge and it will constantly remind you of that fact.

I can say that this has been the single most painful thing to ever happen to me. (in my head I hear Nick Frost from Hot Fuzzasking, “And what was the second?”)

Cover of "Hot Fuzz (Ultimate Edition) [Bl...
Cover of Hot Fuzz (Ultimate Edition) [Blu-ray]