A New Lease on Life

It all started Tuesday,  September 21, 2010.

That was the day that we (my roommate & I) had set up the big move with the U-Haul truck. The first truck I picked up had mechanical issues. I didn’t even make it to the stoplight before the “check engine” light came on.  Then the whole truck started shaking. We took the truck back and exchanged it for a different one. It was difficult for me to get into this truck because there were no handles. I had to pull up over my head by grabbing the steering wheel. It was a bit painful, but I didn’t think much about it. We got most of the stuff moved and called it a night.

Wednesday, I woke up not feeling very well. I felt woozy and nauseous. I ended up throwing up seven times. Then the pain started. The right side of my chest (front and back) felt like I had pulled something. Then the pain started spreading. My neck and right arm stiffened up and it occurred to me that it might be something worse than just pulled muscles.

By noon, the pain was so bad that I had Rhonda take me to the emergency room at Dr. Phillips hospital. They admitted me and gave me a nitro patch.  By 4pm, I was in a room. My blood pressure had skyrocketed and throughout the night, my heart enzymes showed I had actually had a minor heart attack.

I saw a cardiologist,  who recommended I have a procedure called a heart catheter. Basically they would insert a tiny scope up through an incision in my right groin.  They would then guide it up my femoral artery to my heart. If there were any blockages, they could then do an angioplasty to open up the blocked coronary artery.

I was scared but I agreed to do it. So on Thursday afternoon (my 43rd birthday)  I was wheeled into surgery.

I was lying on the table when I heard a whirring noise.  “What’s that sound?” I inquired. “Oh, I have to shave you for the surgery,” says the nurse. “Shave me?” I thought as I felt the electric razor touch my pelvis. Yup, I got shaved all right. Then they rubbed the area with alcohol to disinfect – to say that it stung was an understatement!

The doctor then injected me with a local anesthetic to numb the area and I was given something in my IV to make me sleepy. I fell asleep a little bit after hearing the doctor mention he had made the first incision.

I woke up 4 hours later in a different hospital room. I wasn’t allowed to move for 3 more hours, so I didn’t bleed out of the femoral artery. They kept me in one more night, but late Friday, they let me go home. Well, me and my bag of prescriptions.

Yesterday I pretty much just napped on the couch. Brighthouse came by and hooked up everything so I just let my body decide when to sleep. Today, I feel better. I’ve been up for a few hours and so far, so good.  Later, after Rhon gets home, I’m going to take my first shower since the whole thing started. This is when I get to first remove my surgery bandages, so just in case anything goes wrong, I’d rather have someone else in the apt.

I’d have to say this was probably one of the scariest weeks of my life. Being faced with your mortality isn’t an easy thing to deal with. I had been making small changes in my diet and lifestyle, but I guess I’m going to have to get a little more hard core.  But I have faith in myself that I can do this.

I meant to photo-document the whole experience, but I was so out of it. Plus, my cell battery died. =(

Here are a few shots, though:

All these bandages? Just one attempt to draw blood for tests.

It looks like my palm was attacked by vampire bats.

More attempts to draw blood for enzyme tests.

The “X” marks are where they used Doppler radar to monitor my circulation during surgery.

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About zengrrl

I'm Michelle Snow, the writer and creator of Zengrrl. I write about travel, entertainment, women's issues, health, body positivity, and more, both for this blog and freelance. I have also authored/co-authored four guidebooks on Orlando and Florida. If you aren't already following me, the links are below, as well as on the top right of this page. Thanks!

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Comments: 4

  1. Noah Bawdy September 27, 2010 at 1:09 am

    Mt prayers are with you Michelle !

  2. Clare September 26, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    OMG im so sorry Michelle! I didnt know what happend. i tried calling you on your birthday and usually you would answer, when i didnt hear back i was worried something was wrong. Im sorry this happened to you hun. Take care of yourself sweetie, Im glad you are feeling a little better. Keep in touch!

  3. Zakri Kneebone September 26, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    So sorry. Yikes! Take care of yourself.

  4. Jeff Wetherington September 26, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    OMG! Cindy and I are so glad you’re home and send all our love!

    You didn’t mention if there was a blockage or not, so when you’re feeling like making an update we’ll be looking forward to hearing if there was or not.

    Please take care of yourself and feel better soon 🙂