Mayday Mayday Mayday
I am a network engineer, so if anyone mentioned the acronym DES, I would straightaway associate it with an encryption method used in data communications.
But the recent events have given that a whole new meaning.
DES now is : Drug Eluting Stent -- a drug-eluting stent is a normal metal stent that has been coated with a pharmacological agent (drug)that is known to interfere with the process of restenosis (reblocking).
We learn something everyday!!
In the marine world, you would know the phrase Mayday Mayday Mayday --a cry for help.
Well, my Mayday was ,ironically , on May Day ---May 1st.
Very interesting turn of events.
The Saturday prior, I did my usual 3 hr kayak session on a river here,then on Sunday I did the usual 10 km round trip walk to a temple for free lunch.
Did have a little shortness of breath on Sunday, but nothing persistent: after all I was walking somewhat up hill. And on flat ground I did not have any discomfort.
Went to work as normal on the Monday.Still normal,no shortness of breath or anything like that. Looking back now, Monday night I felt a little out of sort,nothing for concern, put it down to being tired .
On Tuesday morning, I was running late so, had to gulp the regular porridge breakfast.
As I started up the car, felt this pain in the chest sternum, put it down to acid reflex cause of the breakfast and told myself will get anti-acid on the way to work.
This was about 7 am.
Couple of kms away from home, the chest pain got worse, shot up to my throat, burning pain spread across chest. I thought to meself this is not acid reflex and turned around to come back home.
The pain was now getting real bad, I started sweating like hell, opened up the car windows.
Interestingly, through out all this severe pain, my mind was very clear, no panic. I just wanted to get home and lay down. I was totally focused on getting back home.I don't think I ever drove with such concentration. There was this thought, in the back of my mind sort of, stop and call an ambulance. But I was too focused to get home safely and all else was minor.
The mind , I think went into survival mode.
I could sort of see , myself, whatever that is, detached from the severe chest pain and burning.
I reached home, parked the car in the garage and staggered up the stairs to the first floor and lay down on a couch just focussing on the pain.
Wife was overseas, daughter at University , so I am by myself.
I lay for an hour or so and the pain was just as bad and shifting from chest to throat to inner left arm, I then called daughter and
asked her to come asap. I was not thinking at all, just being with the pain.
At one stage I crawled down the stairs to unlatch the front door and then came up the stairs butt first shuffle. call that crazy !!
Not having turned up at the office, they started phoning, my cell, my home landline. The phones were going crazy, but I just could not bring myself to answer them. I would just look at caller-id, if not daughter, ignore the call.
Very interesting how the mind prioritizes for survival--ignore what is possibly junk and chaff.
At one stage, I believe my office receptionist was
getting ready to send out a Police alert to report my absence. In such cases, the Police cruiser turns up at the house to check if any untoward incident.
Further on , I definitely remember beginning to black out and the thought was: front door unlatched, our Will ready, OK to pass
away. Daughter came in just about this time.
She tells me even the paramedic emergency staff were trying to phone, but the calls were unanswered. She asked them to be on standby as she drove home. On arrival, one look and she called them, they were here within 5-10 mins.
2 Ambulances, 1 Firetruck-- the fire guys in case they have to break down the front door. All these sirens going crazy.This was about 10:45am. Some 3 hours after the first symptoms.
The paramedics did a quick test in the ambulance, pumped some drugs in, took an ECG and said I have had a heart attack. This is the stuff you see in movies.
They rushed me to the emergency cardiac unit and in about 20 mins it was all over-- angioplasty with stent. The main artery feeding the left side of the heart had a major block.
The paramedic tells me I have a little angel sitting on my shoulder. It could have been curtains if the heart went into a cardiac arrest-- as the left side is the main pumping chamber feeding the heart itself and the body..Nice to know that!!!
Wife scrapped her return ticket and bought a new one way ticket back: much easier to do this.
She is very strict and more severe than the nurses in cardiology in what I should do and not do and my food habits.
She cooks excellent "Chef Jamie Oliver" style dishes for heart patients and I am enjoying all this pampering and celebrity status. The doctor said I need to eat fish at least twice a week for the omega-3 fats, so she bakes an excellent salmon fillet with herbs and all that.
The weather is excellent: but I will have to just postpone my kayaking for a couple of months till the cardiologist says OK.
Nice to be alive. As someone said:
Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.