Thursday, January 24, 2019

When Life Changes

It's taken a while but I am finally ready to share the life-changing experience I had earlier this month. On Friday evening, January 4, I was woken from sleep by intensely sharp pain in my chest. My immediate thought was, "This isn't right." I dialed 911 and within a few minutes, though it seemed an eternity, EMS arrived and I was loaded into the ambulance.

I recall telling the EMT that the pain had slightly decreased. The next thing I knew I was waking up, confused and agitated. In an instant I remembered where I was, and had the thought, "Wow, I actually fell asleep." Then one of the faces leaning over me said, "You're okay. Your heart stopped, but we got it going again." (In retrospect, the part after "but" was obvious, although I am still glad he specified.)

The cardiologist met us at the hospital and I was taken right into the cath lab to have a stent inserted in my occluded left anterior descending artery — the "widow maker." The next 24 hours were spent juggling pharmaceuticals to get my heart rhythm normalized. I was then cleared to move to "step down" care. Unfortunately, there were zero available beds in the hospital. So I spent the next two days stuck in ICU. That experience could be fodder for future musings. Suffice it to say, the ICU is not designed for patients who are conscious. (I've recently learned there is such a thing as ICU psychosis.)

The last couple weeks have been a roller coaster of physical and emotional trials. Writing an entry for this blog is somewhat cathartic. Medicines are still being adjusted and I'll soon start physical therapy to get my strength back. There is still more time to pass before I return to my previous work and play routines. Obviously, I am looking forward to getting back to the range, to enjoying good drink and good cigars. It goes against my nature to be idle, but I am working hard to be patient and allow my body, and mind, recover.

Looking back, I realize just how very fortunate I was. The ambulance had not even left my driveway when I went into cardiac arrest. I am thankful the emergency personnel arrived as quickly as they did. As I have been reminded numerous times since, the outcome might have been quite different otherwise.

I feel extremely thankful and blessed to be here now. It obviously wasn't time for me to go. It wasn't time for my wife to lose her husband. It wasn't time for my son to lose his father. Nonetheless, it was a poignant reminder that we do not know when our time in this life will be up, and must always prepare well. There is no room for, "I'll get to that later." I am very thankful for the ongoing support of my family and friends throughout this ordeal. I've also realized that some things that were important to me before seem less so now.

So there you have it. Posting will be sparse for a while. I have accepted that this will be a long-term process, not a quick turnaround.

I survived the "Widow Maker." I have that going for me.

11 comments:

  1. Oh, good Lord. Literally. Prayers for your full recovery.

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  2. Wow. It's amazing to see how God works these things out. As you know I went through a similar thing with leukemia three years ago, and while I didn't have to have anything restarted, I wasn't far from it. You are in my prayers.

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  3. PH and Tom, I have to tell you. While I was writing this missive, both of you and your health challenges were on my mind. I knew your sharing was part of the recovery. You remain in my prayers for continued health and improvement.

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  4. Wow. As Hillbilly said, thank God! May you have a speedy recovery.

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  5. David I pray for your speedy recovery. I understand about the idle time driving you crazy, I spent the entire summer in the same situation. My problem was far less serious but it was very mentally challenging. Hang in there it will get better! It has taken me almost 8 months to get
    mostly back to normal but in retrospect it seems like a blink of the eye. Hang in there guy!

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  6. Thank God for a quick response! I don't know you personally but I've truly enjoyed reading your blog for several years because I personally relate to so many things you write about (from shooting, beer, Catholicism).

    Glad you are on the road to recovery and I hope you are soon able to get back to 100%!

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  7. Thank you all for the prayers. I'm looking forward to getting back to normalcy.
    Cheers!

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  8. That's great news! And yes, the paramedics do GOOD work!

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    1. Agreed! This crew even sat in the waiting room for a while with Colleen while I was in triage. She appreciate that extra touch.

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  9. Ho-lee crap, brother. I'll add you to my prayers as well. Glad to see things worked out for you!

    Maybe get a lottery ticket and see if your luck is holding up!

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    1. Thanks my friend. It's been a heck of a ride. Prayers appreciated!

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