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Sunday, June 09, 2013

I Survived the Widow Maker

Having a heart attack is not any fun. I know because I just had one!

At about 1:45pm Wednesday afternoon I developed severe pain in both arms from the shoulders to the elbows, I also developed severe pain in my jaw; the pain was accompanied by a lot of agitation. I was dancing around telling myself it was nothing and I could shake it off. I started making a pot of coffee thinking it would make me feel better, but before the coffee had finished I knew things were serious and I needed help. I grabbed my wallet and cell phone and headed down to the apartment lobby.

I walked into the apartment's leasing office sat down and said "I'm not feeling well." They called 911 for me. By now I was sweating profusely. The fire truck arrived in under 2 minutes and the ambulance was right behind them. The apartment is close to Denver Health Medical Center so the ambulance ride didn't take very long.

The Emergency Room staff were waiting for me when I arrived. I was immediately surrounded by 8 - 10 people including 2 doctors. I was in the ER for less than 10 minutes - just long enough to get me out of my cloths, gather basic information, tell me I was having a heart attack, and coordinate with the Catheterization Lab. Then off to the Cath-Lab we went.

The staff in the Cath-Lab were waiting for me when I arrived. They didn't put me under but they anesthetized my groin then gave me something to relieve the anxiety. I closed my eyes and listened to the proceedings. They took a lot of X-Rays then inserted a catheter into my right groin and snaked it through the iliac artery into my heart where they performed Angioplasty and installed a Stent. After a period of time I commented that I thought I was starting to feel better; later I said "I'm feeling a whole lot better." Near the end of the procedure they injected a chemical into my heart that felt warm inside my chest as it flooded through my body; the chemical is used to increase the contrast in the X-Rays.

I was one of the lucky ones - I survived the Widow Maker a 100% blockage of the Left Anterior Descending (LAD) artery . The LAD is one of the major arteries that supplies the large pump of the heart with its blood. Everyone commented how lucky I was to have gotten to the hospital so fast. Had another 10 - 15 minutes passed I probably wouldn't have survived.

I spent 24 hours in Intensive Care then was moved to the Progressive Care Unit where I spent another 48 hours. They discharged me Saturday afternoon after 72 hours in the hospital. I feel fine except that I'm a little week and tire easily. I'm also on 2 blood thinners and 2 blood pressure medications, and they quadrupled the dosage of my cholesterol medication.

100% blockage of Left Anterior Descending artery

After Angioplasty & Stent

Don't ever speak poorly of Denver Health Medical Center (Denver General). With exception for the reason of my stay I had a positive experience. Everyone from first responders to discharge were very professional, cheerful, and competent. At least 100 people were involved with my treatment - true professionals everyone. How do I thank all those people?


Unknown said...

Glad to hear you're okay, Cuz.

Rob Lemen

Thirkellgirl said...

I found your post because my husband just survived the same heart attack last Sunday and I was googling it. How are you feeling now? He had minimal heart damage but is tired.

Clyde Hoadley said...

Thank you for your concern. I feel just fine now. I had little or no damage. I am doing rehab anyway just to make my Doctor happy. I was weak and tired for a couple of weeks but am back to normal now. My left arm still feels a little sore; I understand that is a common side affect following a stint.