Thursday, February 22, 2024

Heart attack on Friday-back to work on Tuesday

Greetings Homepage readers.

I don’t often share personal information here but I went through an experience that I thought some might find interesting or, at least, informative.

On Friday, February 2 at approximately 3p.m. while at home alone, I began to feel an unease in my chest. The unease began to grow into deep pain. My first thought, of course, was “I hope I’m not having a heart attack.” As I analyzed the symptoms I was crossing off everything I could to avoid the truth of the situation. “No crushing pain. More like a cramping and pinching. No numbness on my left side. Whew!  Not a heart attack.” 

Like any normal moron I tried to ignore the symptoms-fully assuring myself that the trouble would pass and I could resume my day. Wrong.  The pain got worse and began spreading down my left arm and into the left side of my jaw.

As I involuntarily doubled over onto my kitchen counter I began uttering the deep gasps that come out while one is in agony.  I think the only words I uttered (through gritted teeth) were “No! Lord no!”

Perhaps 30 seconds elapsed before I had to confront the truth.  This was bad. And I needed help.

(Note-bad choices ahead-do not do this at home, seek professional guidance).

Did I reach for my phone to dial 911 and summon help? Of course not; like I said earlier, I’m a moron.

Continuing with my poor choices I poured some dry kibble into a dog bowl, said goodbye to my three very confused and hyper-attentive dogs and struggled through the front door of the house, got into my truck and began the drive to the hospital. I live within a 5 minute drive of Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital and my faulty reasoning assured me I could get there faster than an ambulance could get to me. On the way I called my wife to let her know what I was doing. I could barely get the words out without crying because I knew it was going to hurt her so badly. 

Here’s where more weird thoughts crept in during the ordeal: I know I’m in trouble and I’m a bit frightened but when I arrived at the hospital I was actually happy that I could park in the emergency parking area and didn’t have to park with others just 20 feet away. 

I did a sort of cramping, doubled-over shuffle to the emergency room (ER) entrance. I approached the admission window and stood hunched over, bracing myself on the counter with one arm.  The young lady behind the glass with a hole in it asked, “How can we help you today? With my free hand I tapped on my chest and said only, “Chest pain.”

Within, what I would guess was less than half an hour (I wasn’t really paying attention too much as my heart was busy trying to kill me.), I was being prepped for a trip on a Life Flight helicopter ride to Corvallis.  I was being surrounded by professionals doing the work they have sacrificed and trained for and though I was in tremendous pain I felt a sense of freedom in giving up control of what was going to happen with and to me from that moment forward.

I remember joking with a Life Flight attendant as she and others in the ER placed me in what I think was some sort of plastic sheet, “A little early for the body bag isn’t it?” I asked.  It was comforting to hear her laugh.  

I was wheeled out to the hospital heliport and loaded into the rear of a helicopter via its cargo bay. And whether through blatant obtuseness or just plain old block-headedness I thought not about dying or my poor wife who was frantically driving to meet me in Corvallis but about how cool it was to be riding in a helicopter for the first time and how disappointed I was that the flight crew would not take a selfie with me while we were flying.

The next few hours was simply a blur of ceiling tiles and fluorescent lights. While strapped to a gurney that was all I could see. Person after person asked my for my name and date of birth and I’m sure were explaining to me what was going on but I really didn’t care. I was helpless to aid myself and as said before, I simply surrendered to the process.

Long story short, I had a fully blocked artery at the bottom of my heart.  The team of doctors and nurses of Samaritan hospital were spectacular in addressing the problem and saving my life. I give my deepest thanks to my Lord for and to them.

I am now the proud owner a shiny new stent in an artery and the blood is again flowing properly to my heart.  The doctors were slightly shocked (but none the less pleased) to report that I had little to no damage to my heart and I should expect a full recovery.

Lessons learned? Yes, don’t be an idiot.  If there is pain, see a doctor.  If it’s real bad call an ambulance. Pay attention to your diet and do all those things your mother told you to do to be healthy.

So that’s it.  Heart attack on Friday, back home Monday, off to work on Tuesday. 

God is good and I am so grateful to look upon my loved ones once again. Thank you to all my friends and well wishers who prayed for me and comforted my wife Debbie during this ordeal. Hugs, kisses and smiles seem to mean a lot more today than they did on Friday.

I hope I will not ever forget to treasure them.

Don Williams
Don Williamshttps://lincolncityhomepage.com
Don Williams serves as publisher and editor of The Lincoln City Homepage.

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