Sturm und drang is characterized normally as storm and stress. That pretty much sums up the last couple of weeks. It started in the wee hours of the night when one moment I was fine and the next I wasn’t. The nausea was horrible, but the cold sweats were worse. The classic symptoms for a woman having a heart attack became my life. The sudden onset left me puzzled, wary, and disoriented. It was hard to know what to do at that time; in hindsight, it’s so obvious but, then, I had to figure out which moves were the right one to make.
In this case, there were limited options and it soon became apparent that the only thing to do was call 911. The operator quickly caught on that I was having a heart attack and contacted the local fire department and an ambulance service. They arrived and quickly took matters into their own hands. Before long I was strapped in an ambulance eating aspirin followed by nitroglycerin melting under my tongue. The EKG electrodes and clips were attached to my torso with the machine itself wirelessly spitting information to the hospital as we clipped along the two lane country road with sirens wailing.
Before too long we pulled into the local hospital ER area and I saw in the hall a group of people who looked as though they were waiting on me. This group of five or six were the cardiac team on call that night. The hospital after seeing the readings on the EKG notified them and their response was quick. The ER was calm and quiet until I was put in a room, then, as if by some silent signal, each and every person went into motion. It was a blur of activity and with in a minute I was in the cath lab having three stints inserted in the blood vessels of my heart. The doctor told me it was a night that once trouble started everything went right.
I called 911 instead of driving to the hospital, the ambulance was equipped for patients having heart attacks, the team was quick and efficient completing the three stints within 25 minutes of my arrival at the hospital. It was a night meant for living not dying and I was very lucky that it all went so well. Four or five years ago I had a clean echocardiogram; this month, I had an acute myocardial infarction. I have worked so hard to eat right and be healthy, but you can’t escape a family history or a history of smoking. This medical “event” will forever be a part of my life, but it won’t rule my life, shape it maybe, but not rule it.