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Old 07-13-2009, 07:23 PM   #1
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Avoid this at all costs

I debated about posting this for awhile. Its not meant to be preachy nor an appeal for any sympathy. Just a warning that may stop someone else from experiencing what I am going through.

A week ago last Sunday I was repairing my lawn sprinkler system. ( trying to make it as efficient as possible.) Nether was it very *strenuous *work, or very hot outside. *About 12:30 PM I felt what I thought was the worst case of indigestion I ever had. *I relaxed for a minute, but then came the most intense pain in my life. *(So much for my kidney stones being a ten on the 1-10 pain scale.) *The front of my chest felt like my Sportsmobile just ran over it. *The pain radiated through to the back and down both arms. I managed to make it inside, sat down asked my wife for a couple of aspirins. *I told her I felt miserable where she immediately threw me in the car and then headed off to the emergency room. *Those two miles seemed to take an eternity. *They (Kaiser ER) immediately took me in ahead of the broken bones cuts and bruises that were waiting in line. Tests immediately ruled out a gastro problem, so they focused on a coronary. Once they relieved me of the pain they needed to figure out how bad it was and what damage had been done. *The first set of tests shown almost no heart damage. *I (and the nurses) *were thinking this was just a short spike event and I was going to be going home right away. *Unfortunately the real test took six hours to cook and showed my heart was experiencing a *serious problem. *Overnight tests and x-rays pointed to a blockage in one of the arteries on the exterior of the heart. *Our local Kaiser is still building their cardiac unit so Monday morning it was off to San Francisco in an ambulance to Kaisers Cardiac cath lab.

Monday I had an angiogram done that isolated the problem. *A tiny (LAD) artery about 5/8" long was clogged. *So they pumped it up with a balloon and inserted a stint and I am as good as new (well not quite yet).

The lesson:
Avoid the big three. If you smoke, stop. If you drink, stop, or at least do it less. If you are overweight, lose it. I feel lucky, as I only have one of the three to work on. Start treating your body the same way you treat your SMB. I.e. start a periodic maintenance program now. Hopefully you and your loved ones will avoid the pitfalls of my poor maintenance. Think of it as increasing the return on investment of that expensive piece of hardware sitting in your driveway.
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:20 PM   #2
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Re: Avoid this at all costs

Jeez, glad you're around to post brother!

I recently went through a battery of tests due to an abnormality on my EKG... thought I might be going that route but luckily after 5 days of needles and scans they came back with "nothings wrong". The doctor did give me the business about my diet and weight. It was hard to hear but we need to listen to stuff like this.

Let us know how you're doing.
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Old 07-13-2009, 09:22 PM   #3
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Re: Avoid this at all costs

Good lord Charlie, I'm glad to see that you are OK. Like many of us, you are probably beyond warranty.

Take care and many more safe travels!
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Old 07-13-2009, 10:08 PM   #4
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Re: Avoid this at all costs

Charlie,

Good to hear you're doing "OK". That was one hell of a wake-up call. Was the ambulance at least a Ford E-series?


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Old 07-14-2009, 07:54 AM   #5
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Re: Avoid this at all costs

Charlie,

So glad all went well and your still typing! I'm also happy that they were able to balloon and stent your LAD, because if it was was one of your main Coronaries, a bypass may be necessary. Just keep up those meds and like you said, stay off the big "3's".

Just a lesson to anyone, if you feel those symptoms, its OK to go to the ER instead of "walking it off". Your heart is the most important muscle and one clot (size of a tip of a ballpoint pen) can cause major damage.

Thank you for sharing Charlie and take care. There are many more adventures ahead!!!

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Old 07-14-2009, 07:57 AM   #6
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Re: Avoid this at all costs

Wow, Charlie...what a wake-up call! Glad to hear that you are doing okay now.
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Old 07-14-2009, 10:23 AM   #7
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Re: Avoid this at all costs

OK, I am going to chime in here as well; I am glad to hear that you are ok and the heart muscle was saved. I concur with the lifestyle changes that you suggested.

I would like to add to your post... if those symptoms are felt, please call 911 and go by ambulance. Our first instinct is to deny the pain, next travel by car (often driving ourselves); but please, call for an ambulance. The paramedics can start IV's, call ahead to the hospital and have an ER bed waiting upon arrival, and push drugs... oxygen, nitroglycerin, morphine, aspirin. Time is muscle!

As an Respiratory Therapist, I do get to see the cardiac patients, in ER, Cath Lab, and after open heart. Take care of yourself, love your body... it has to last a lifetime.

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Old 07-14-2009, 10:40 AM   #8
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Re: Avoid this at all costs

Hey...take care Charlie. I'm glad you're doing well. I have to work on a couple of those issues myself. I went through something similar and it really wakes you up. Get well soon.
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Old 07-14-2009, 12:35 PM   #9
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Re: Avoid this at all costs

Glad to hear you are doing well Charlie!!
I second WOOT's sentiment. If any of the rest of you or your family members are having chest pn that radiates, sweating, difficulty breathing: Call 911! (if you are not in the boonies). The longer you wait the more cardiac muscle is damaged.
I am one of the guys who shows up on the fire truck or ambulance and I/we get to help out these pts quite a bit through meds etc. nearly every shift. In our EMS system the medic is able to call ahead to the ER with a "cardiac alert" through EKG interpretation. This allows the patient to be wheeled directly to the cath lab for bypass. All saves prescious time!

Now if I could only follow my own advice......
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Old 07-14-2009, 01:34 PM   #10
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Re: Avoid this at all costs

Charlie,

Were you told if the aspirin helped prevent at least some damage?


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