My heart attack, second chapter
My apologies for being so long, but I think that the moral (at the end of the last chapter) will be something to remember.
While I was pondering the news, they were busy calling an ambulance service and telling Emily that she could not (and they would not let her) bring me to the hospital (Tempe St. Luke’s, where I am staff and my friends are), so we waited a few minutes for the crew to arrive. Meanwhile, they gave me nitroglycerine (times 2), aspirin (times 2), and morphine to bring the pain down. Meanwhile, Emily called one of my friends who is a cardiologist and left a message with his answering service with the news.
The ambulance came and the guys (Josh, Dan, and Eric) peeled off the EKG lead contacts from my chest, placed their own so they could monitor me, carted me in the back of the truck and there we went with the siren wailing and all (ridiculous, in my opinion). Upon arrival to the ER at TSL’s hospital I saw the friendly face of Dr. Jack David (with whom Emily and I share lunch hour at the doctor’s lounge) who ordered another EKG, more morphine, more nitroglycerine, etc. Of course, again the sticky EKG pads had to be replaced (great treatment for sensitive skin!) while at the ER and again when they put me back in the ambulance… but I am getting ahead of the order.
Dr. Valdes, my cardiologist friend (who doesn’t do interventional cardiology), called one of his associates (Dr. Hines) and asked him to “get ready” for a patient of Dr. Cabezudo that was at the ER of TSL’s hospital (Dr. Valdes didn’t get the right message from his answering service that I was the patient, and he couldn’t get in touch with Emily because she was on her cell phone talking to our children to keep them abreast of my condition). Dr. Hines called the ER and told them to put me in the chopper and airvac me to St. Joseph’s Hospital (downtown Phoenix) and directly to the Cardiac Cath Lab. I refused to go in the chopper preferring to ride the ambulance again (it would have taken several minutes to get the chopper to the helipad at the hospital, anyway) so Dr. David made sure that I was stable and they got me ready for the following leg of the trip (here is where the sticky EKG pads were removed and new ones stuck on, grrrr).
Back in the ambulance, Broadway west to I-10 west towards Phoenix, more morphine into the right wrist line, off at 3rd Street, another shot of morphine (hell, I was getting sick and tired of having to have the stuff, which did not control the pain that much anyway), north up to Thomas, west on Thomas Road and screeching halt at the ER entrance of St. Joe’s. Off of the wagon and rushing through the hallways up to the Cardiac Cath Lab where a team was already assembled and waiting.
There were some conversations between that team and my ambulance EMT’s, removal of EKG pads with a new set put in, and them Bob saying “how are you feeling? How much pain do you have? Where is the pain?”, another voice saying “please, help me remove your pants” and another one “sorry, I have to shave you” (noise of an electric razor working down there), and then Josh wishing me well with a “doc, you’ll be fine”.
The next thing I remember is waking up in the Coronary Care Unit with a nurse hovering over checking the monitor and Emily and Terry sitting by the bed. I guess it was about 6:00 pm and I was hungry and had a 4 out of 10 pain still in my right upper chest. We talked for a while and then Emily went to the cafeteria to get me something to eat as hospital food hours were over and I was hungry (had not eaten anything since the previous night). She came back with a turkey, white cheese, lettuce, and tomato sandwich that tasted very good and water to drink. Pete and Anne came in (my son and his wife) and we agreed that he would drive Emily home and Anne would drive their car as Emily was really exhausted from everything that happened and didn’t need to drive 24 miles to get back home. So they all went home and I was left thinking “why did I have a heart attack”? I eat very reasonably, mostly Mediterranean diet (although don’t exercise much), consider myself fairly healthy (in spite of my prostate cancer in 2000), and could find no reason whatsoever for this event.
Sometime later I got another 4mg of morphine for the pain (6/10) and tried to sleep. By anywhere between 10:30 and 11:00 pm the pain grew to 10/10 still in the same location. I called the nurse, told her what was going on and not to call home to tell Emily. Instead, she called Dr. Hines (who called the team back) and got some help to get me back to the Cardiac Cath Lab. Bob: “doc, back so soon”?, Me: “yeah, I missed you guys”, Bob: “I’m getting you some versed”, Me: “OK”.
I think I can make it to the end in one more post. Bear with me.
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Imagine, 2001 K1200 LT Pacific
It's not happier he who has the most but he who needs the least.