The Heart Attack


I just read a post from a FB friend Wayne Jones who recently went thru a heart attack, the angioplasty and is back home and it got me to thinking about my time in the hospital.


My tale of woe happened just 3 days before my 49th birthday way back in 1998, when I walked into my wife’s home salon clutching my chest. One look at me and we were off to Peterson AFB (2 minutes away), thru the gate and over to the USAF hospital.


As we parked and began to get out of the car we spotted this huge sign over the ER entry way, “NO EMERGENCY ROOM” (they had been recently downgraded to a clinic).


I was helped inside by a gentleman on crutches and my wife.


As we went thru the doorway he hollered “This man’s having a heart attack”! (That’s what I managed to tell him on the way in.)


From out of nowhere (or everywhere) there were doctors, nurses and corpsmen all over me, getting me on a gurney, checking my pulse, asking lots of questions and then one of them got on the phone and CALLED 911. Like What?


Why would a hospital call 911? Aren’t they the subject matter experts in this kind of thing?


My wife’s primary doctor was there, asking me if I had high blood pressure. I told him no, my wife has high blood pressure, somebody keep an eye on her!


The doctor began giving me some little tablets (Nitro) which didn’t do a thing.


Soon an ambulance arrived (hence the 911 call) and I was whisked away at given more of those little tablets, nothing.


We made it to a local hospital where a cardiac doctor was scrubbed and waiting for me.


We went up the elevator and into the operating room. I was awake as they ran the angioplasty thingy thru the artery and up to the blockage and inserted a stint. Offhand I don’t remember the numbers but they were something like 99% on one side, I’m not sure about the other side, although I could go into my records to see the actual numbers.


Well once that stint was in place, the pain stopped. (Good now I can go home), not so fast said the doctor. She wanted to keep me in for a night or two to insure I was safe to leave.


It’s probably a good thing too because I went into the ICU and early that evening I wanted something to eat, but all the nurse could come up with was an apple. It tasted real good, but probably an hour or so I exploded with apple sauce, apple parts and apple bits all over my ICU suite. I’m sure the nurses on duty weren’t pleased with their new patient.


I finally settled down to sleep and awoke with a sort of wet, sticky feeling somewhere near my nether regions. So I pressed that red button and a sort of irritated nurse popped in and asked if I needed something? Well yes that’s why I pressed the button (I said to myself).

I asked if I was supposed to be wet and sticky, and as she pulled away the sheet she sort of almost panicked. She climbed on the bed and shouted that she needed help over here. I could see she was applying pressure to the femoral artery (where the angioplasty had been inserted). It seems that the tourniquet had come loose and I had begun to bleed out, so I was glad that I was still in the hospital.


They moved me into a recovery room the next day and night, plenty of time for my family to come visit. One of my two grandkids at the time was about 4 years old, asked me if the doctor took out my heart. I told him YES, papa has no heart. Then told him no everything was ok.


Surprise, surprise my mom and dad drove up from Boise, Idaho. I was surprised because they couldn’t handle the altitude at 6000 feet, and their visits were really infrequent.


At that time I worked at a teleconference company and I had my mom drive me over to the company so I could let them know I would be out of work for a couple of weeks – doctor’s orders.


When I walked into the call center my supervisor saw me and asked why I was there? I told her something like don’t you have me on a call this hour? Not funny. Anyway I told her about the doctor’s orders and she said she knew already.


It seems one of my daughters called and told her I quit, then told her I had a heart attack and would be out for a couple of weeks (Nice daughter huh?)


Well as you can probably tell I survived and didn’t lose my Wilson sense of humor, thank goodness or the next 19 years would have been a bust. – I am the Real Truckmaster

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