Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wake Up


I've been quiet around here lately.  Lots of reasons really.  But I want to finally talk about one of the main reasons. 
Sometimes things happen that give you a rude wake up call.  Recently I had something like that come out of left field.
In late December I went to have a fairly simple and straightforward outpatient knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus.  I really didn't think anything about the pre-op lab work and EKG other than the inconvenience of having to go do it and the fact that the tech took forever and kept redoing the EKG. 
On the day of surgery my husband and I, along with my parents, were at the outpatient surgery center early for what was promised to be a quick surgery.  After getting gowned up and an IV inserted I waited my turn in one of those little cubicles where I could hear other patients, many of them elderly, coming and going in the assembly line like atmosphere.  I was relaxed talking to my family who had come back to see me off to the OR when the surgeon and anesthesiologist came in.  They were both looking at my chart and said they needed to discuss what type of anesthesia I wanted.  I was relaxed enough to joke with them that I wanted "the kind that would make me forget that you are digging around in my knee!".  The next thing they asked me made me laugh.  They said, "well most cardiac patients get a spinal because it's safer."  Again, joking, I told them they had me mixed up with some other patient.  Some old person.    Then they shocked me by saying,  "Mrs. B., you know you have had a heart attack recently don't you?"  Um, no.
They had reviewed my EKG and had seen some irregularities.  They gave me the option of postponing the surgery until I could see a cardiologist but I said no, go ahead.  In the back on my mind I was still thinking there had been some mistake right?
They gave us strict instructions that I was to go home and make an appointment immediately with my General Practitioner to get a cardiac referral.  Both of whom confirmed that I did have a "silent" heart attack.  And I'm at risk for another one.  But as one doctor said, they next one probably won't be silent.  Right now I'm just taking something to thin my blood and trying to lower my cholesterol.  In a few months I'll go back for some more evaluation of any further damage.
Women and men are completely different when it comes to the heart.  As it was explained to me, a man will clutch his chest and fall to the ground when having a heart attack.  A woman typically experiences some chest tightness usually described as a "bubble feeling" in the chest, then goes on with their day. None of the doctors I have seen were at all surprised that I had no memory of any symptoms.  
I have a very strong history of heart disease and early death in my family.  So there's that to consider. 
Over the last few months I have tried to evaluate my diet, exercise and lifestyle choices.  I have to.  I'm really too young to die of a heart attack.  I have found the American Heart Association to be a wealth of information.  Their Go Red for Women campaign is raising lots of fund to help with research and women's studies.
I find myself second guessing every day that I feel tired or just not right.  I worry about an upcoming summer vacation.  I'm the roller coaster rider with my kids.  I have to find the balance of taking care of myself, my family and at the same time not let worry keep me from living my days to their fullest. 
Anyway, back to crafting and cooking tomorrow.  Take care of yourself and have a great day.

1 comment:

Becki@Just The Three of Us said...

Oh Harriett. I am so happy you are ok. You are right, this really puts life into perspective. I have been on cholesterol lowering drugs since I was 18. My grandfather had a heart attack but survived. Both of my parents have high cholesterol. It is hereditary. The "silent" part is what scares me. I am so shocked that no one informed you of your EKG results prior to you going in for surgery. Hum.... So proud of your for taking a stand with your health and living your days to the fullest. How are you feeling now? Sending hugs and prayers to you!

p.s. thank you also for the key fob! so cute!

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