Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Heart Attack: A Very Bad Day


Sorry. No school today. It's been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. First off, Dee had a heart attack. Yes. A real, bad heart attack.

I was up moaning around with my toothache last night, and Dee was moaning around with "a bubble." He was sure he had a bad case of heart-burn, and we kept passing each other in the hall with our cold packs and hot packs, and bottles of water. At about 3:am I have to admit I felt picked on that he didn't seem to care much about my aching tooth, and was concentrating more on his bubble. Please. A bubble?

At 7:am I was waiting by the phone for the dentist's office to open and Dee said he really felt awful. He was light-headed and the pain hadn't subsided. I asked half-heartedly if he wanted to call the doctor and he said he thought we ought to go to the hospital. That got my attention.

I drove him up to the emergency room and when he said he had chest pains they rushed him in. Within seconds they had him hooked up to a blood pressure cuff and said he was having a heart attack right then! A new medical center at the other end of the valley is supposed to have the best heart-care in the country, and the emergency room team had them on the phone and Dee in an ambulance ten minutes after we got there. I drove myself in a panicky state, and got there after they had taken Dee into the cath-lab. It was 8:00 am.

There was no word for a few hours. Two of my daughters arrived to give support, and we just waited. Finally, the doctor came out and said two of Dee's main arteries were 99% blocked and one was 80% blocked. They'd put in 3 stents. I got a crash course in heart treatments: a hole was cut in his groin, and a tiny tube with a camera and a balloon was threaded up through his artery to his heart. The balloon was inflated so it could compress the plaque in the artery and push it to the sides. Then, when the offending blockage was shoved out of the way, little coil stents were inserted to hold the arteries open. Dee was awake, but groggy, for this whole event. Blood could now carry needed oxygen through his heart and the heart attack stopped.

Tests will tell us tomorrow how much his heart was damaged and if anything else needs to be done. The care at this new hospital was phenomenal. He was taken to ICU and when I saw him he had a zillion colored wires coming from IV tubes, hooked to monitors, etc., but he looked pretty good, and was able to tell us about the ambulance ride. (He loved it. 100 miles an hour on the freeway, with police escorts and radio communication with the hospital to prep him for his procedure. He said he wished he could have climbed up into the driver's seat.)

Over the next few hours he seemed almost back to normal, and he got up and walked a little, sat up and ate dinner, and talked to all the kids on the phone. His opening line each time was, "The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated." He had several little one-liners that he seemed to have saved for this very occasion—all the additional oxygen had gone to his head.

Dee and the nurse encouraged me to go home. He was past the crisis, and was in good hands, there was no place for me to lay down, and he was anxious to sleep off his horrible day.

So I left. I drove with a prayer of thanksgiving in my softened heart. Unfortunately, my heart hardened four blocks from home. I was sitting in the left turn lane of a busy downtown street (between Library Square and the City and County Bldg for those of you who know SLC) and the car died. Died. I guess death was after someone today and settled for the car. It just conked out. It's Dee's car and it took me a few seconds to find the blinker lights, as people roared up behind me, honked like crazy, and yelled at me. Two guys flipped me off!

I sat there, close to tears, wondering what to do. I couldn't call Dee for advice—he deserved that much of a break. My sons had definitely done their duty, tending kids, worrying all day, and visiting the hospital. But I ended up calling my son. It was getting darker, and there were a number of strange types around. There I was, blocking traffic, and suddenly two guys knocked on my window. I assumed I was being car-jacked (it didn't occur to me that people don't car jack cars that don't work.) They motioned that they'd push me out of the intersection. A couple of minutes later another scary looking but nice man pushed me into a vacant parking spot. (Don't judge guys by their tattooed necks and pierced eyebrows.)

Pete arrived, and worked under the hood with jumper cables for a while, then crawled under his truck and my car, hooked us together, and towed me the four blocks to a car repair place. We left it there for them to discover in the morning. Then Pete took me home. He congratulated me on making it through a horrible, very bad day, and asked if I'd be all right. I said yes, as long as I could get in to my house. And then, I realized I didn't have my key!

So it all worked out. I'm home, Dee's alive, I'm getting a root canal tomorrow. What could be better? And I've used my blog as it's supposed to be used—to vent!!!

I'm declaring a fall break. I'll be back with School Days on Monday. (And thanks for listening.)

52 comments:

Cath said...

Oh, Marty! I'm so sorry to hear about Dee, but so glad to know that he's OK. You most certainly did have a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, and I hope that everything will look much better in the morn. I'm thinking about you all...

crissy said...

Oh, goodness! I'm glad Dee is alright, and that you'll get your mouth taken care of tomorrow.
I'm sorry you had such a horrible day, but at least you had family nearby and kind (although rough-looking) strangers to help you.
I (as well as all of your students, I'm sure,) will be praying for you and your family tonight. I hope things only get better for you from here.

Jolyn said...

what a terrible day...i'm so glad that dee's ok...that your'e tooth will be better tomorrow...i'm praying for you guys...love you...

Mrs. Organic said...

Oh Marty! I had no idea you were so close - I would love to help in any way possible. And I absolutely mean that. I know you don't know me, but my offer stands - any time, day or night, I'm available. (and as a bonus, I'm a rather normal person). :)f

I once had my car overheat in the scariest part of town (before cell phones) and a man pulled over to help me. He warned me to wait until the pressure had subsided in the radiator and was speaking from personal experience considering he'd lost three fingers from the knuckle up due to escaping steam from previous incidents. Help sometimes comes in the least expected packages of persons/places.

I'd love to use a quote from your last assignment as a lead in to a talk I'm giving tomorrow night. I hope that's alright, please let me know if it isn't. We are here mostly, I think, to help each other along, to buoy each other up, and sometimes just to provide moral support in numbers.

I hope Dee is up and back to his normal, fun-loving self as soon as possible. XO

gab said...

I'm so sad, Mom! Sad I live too far away to be of any help at a time like this.

The only bright side is that on any other day a root canal would be a complete nightmare...but today it's just par for the course. Love you...hang in.

Annie said...

Marty, what a rotten day! Sending lots of prayers and thoughts for a quick recovery for all three (you, Dee, and the car).

Colleen said...

You'll both be in my thoughts and prayers.

Melissa Walker said...

So glad you'll both be okay! What a scary experience coupled with the trouble of a car and your tooth.

Susan said...

Oh my, what a truly horrible day! I'm so sorry to hear of all you have gone through, but thankful Dee is OK. I hope your root canal goes smoothly and you both are back on your way to better days. Keeping you both in my prayers.

Christie said...

I don't think a bad day could be any worse. Ditto what Gabi said - I HATE being so far away at a time like this. Hang in there. We're all praying for you.

kenju said...

Marty, I am so happy to know that Dee is going to be okay and to know that you rushed him to the hospital in time. Your root canal will be small potatoes compared to that. Sorry about the car incident, too. It certainly was a bad day for all of you! Hope everything will be back to normal (and better) soon.

Ginger said...

I'm sitting here crying for your pain and sadness. Although I'm happy that it turned out as well as it did. I'll keep you and yours in my prayers.

audrey said...

My heart is aching for you, but I am so grateful that Dee is alive and that you are safe. I will be praying for you and thinking of you each time I post this week. I will be trying to keep a rhythm and come up with my own inspiration. Thank you for all you have done to inspire me through these last several weeks.

Deborah said...

I am so sorry.. what a terrible week you've had. Please take care of yourself and come back when you are ready. My thoughts will be with you and your family

Tiffany said...

Wow! That is one heckuva bad day! (Admittedly, I'm a little teary-eyed.) I'm so sorry and hope that your sweet husband (love those one-liners!), your tooth, and your car all recover quickly!

Keri(th) said...

Oh no!

You need a hug.

What a trooper Marty. When it rains, ... well, we all know how the saying goes.

I'm sure Dee is at my Mom's Hospital, she works on the heart floor. She's an amazing nurse, and the facility and doc's are second to none. If he's still there, ask for Carolynn. She'll brighten you day by speaking too fast in a Canadian accent (and she's a whiz with that metric system eh).

I hope the Apple pie I made for Dee a few years ago (you know, the one that I {accidentally} added double crisco to the crust because I was gabbing away to Ryan instead of focusing on my task at hand) didn't add significantly to the blockage. Great, now I have guilt.

May your root canal be delightful (trust me, mine was like taking a tropical vacation after such horrible pain).

May your car find new life.

And may Dee be back on his feet and traveling the world side by side with you again soon!

sue-donym said...

I'm so sorry to hear about Dee. I'm glad to hear he is doing so well.
Prayers from my family to yours.

M. Halverson said...

Hope today is a lot better. Wish Dee well let us know how we can help.

The Grandmother Here said...

Look how many people care about you!!!

marta said...

oooh mom.. yesterday was so gloomy!! i can't believe the car died on you. what a disaster of a day. i am so proud of you for keeping your cool, for remaining so calm and being so strong for dad. we love you lots. today the sun is out and we're praying for a quick recovery (to both of you)!!!

call me whenever you need another vent sesh. i'm always here. xo.

hannah :: sherbet blossom said...

oh my! that is a horrible day. you take all the time you need....we will be here.

Michelle said...

I am so very sorry! I wish I could send you flowers and chocolate!

polly said...

you are a strong, great person! so I'm sure you will get through everything, except the root canal, they're the worst! If you need anything, I'm here for you and love you. Hang in there. love, polly

dalene said...

oh dear. i'm so very sorry. blessings to you and yours.

best--

Clair said...

Oh, sorry to hear about a terrible day. I hope thinks start looking up!

brandy said...

I'm so sorry. "A very bad day" is an under statement. That was the WORST day. You take all the time you need. Hopefully your tooth is feeling better now.

KJ said...

You certainly kept your wits about you under such scary circumstances. My father went through the same thing (with a similar multiple clogged artery situation, stents and all) a few years ago and I've been on pins and needles about him ever since. I hope you both recover quickly.

Diane Linford said...

We'll give thanks that it was the car that died!

I'm praying for you and yours.

Soul-Fusion said...

I will echo the sentiments of others and add that my dad stayed at that same hospital with some heart troubles soon after it opened and received excellent care so your husband is surely in good hands. And thank you for sharing your pain so eloquently, that may seem strange to say but I am hoping it soothed you.

the wrath of khandrea said...

yes, but did you lose your marble down the drain? no?? well then. it really wasn't all that bad after all, now was it?

thanks for not moving to australia.

Alana said...

Oh no! That really has to be one of the worst days I've ever heard of... that is just crazy that all those things can happen in a day. I'm glad your husband is alright and I hope everything turns out okay.

Miranda said...

Oh Marty! I don't think any of us deserve to have such a bad day. I'm relieved to hear that Dee is okay and that you were able to get home eventually. Take good care of yourself and you'll be in my prayers!

the hogan's said...

oh my gosh what a day! im sorry, im glad dee is ok, that is so scary. i'll be thinking of you guys!

Linsey said...

Golly! I'm impressed that you were stills standing at the end of this. I'm glad that things worked out they way they did and hope that you and Dee (and the car) are up and running at your usual level soon.

Misty said...

Ditto, ditto, ditto.

You are so strong! I'll be hugging my husband a little tighter tonight and giving my vehicle a little pampering...maybe that oil change and vacuuming she so desperately neeeds? And I think I'll take another crack at being more patient and understanding. I'm sure those two guys woudldn't have flipped you off had they known your situation.

Even though school's not in session, you're still teaching us these valuable life lessons. Sorry you had to do it so first hand.

Heffalump said...

Wow, that IS a bad day! I hope that today goes much better, and that you have a good "fall break."
I'm glad your husband is being taken care of and that the car was the only casualty!

♥Maren said...

I want you to know that I am adding my prayers to all those that are already being offered for you! I am so sorry!

Marissa Marie said...

Oh wow, that is definitely a very bad day! I'm so glad you got Dee to the hospital in time! Here's hoping tomorrow is a much much better day.

Gordita said...

If you need anything (ANYTHING) we are just down the hall and down the elevator. Seriously. Call us.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and Dee.

ellen said...

Wow -- that is quite a day. I hope things only get better!

diane said...

You can't make this stuff up. I hope all is well. You have had quite a year my friend. Thanks for sharing and please keep us updated.

I've never had a root canal but I have ridden in an ambulance. Root canals scare me more.

Why must there be opposition in all things?

Greek Goddess said...

Oh my goodness. That certainly was a horrible, no good day. You deserve something special. Hot fudge sundae? That's what I'd do. You'll be in my prayers.
May things look up for you.

Allison said...

oh wow. Heart attacks are so scary. Thankfully it sounds like Dee is okay and in good spirits (positive attitudes can make a huge difference!).

Hope your tooth feels better tomorrow and everything works out!

autumn said...

I'm so sorry. So glad Dee is okay. How scary. It always seems to come at once. I mean really.

I'm new to your blog and I love it.

care020 said...

You are in my prayers.

Kiasa said...

I think you should move to Australia.

What a crazy, horrible day. You and Dee are in my prayers.

Queen Scarlett said...

I am so so so sorry. Am just now completing the homework... and saw this post.

I hope you feel better soon. Root canals are not fun - my hubby knows all about it. And I hope your hubby gets better soon post-heart attack.

Love this seminar. And have come to love you through this blogging world. Am sending prayers your way.

And... I am finally caught up with all the fabulous homework.
Make Up Work

soybeanlover said...

Oh dear!!! Glad that they've already got the stints in. Prayers all around!

Sally said...

Oh my goodness! I hope things are improving.

Jenibelle said...

At our house we say that if it weren't for bad luck we wouldn't have any luck at all. You had one of those days. But through it all, you maintained your sense of humor. I find that refreshing and admirable and example setting. When I was at Gabi's this summer, I told her that you are my blog hero. This cemented it, you are one helluva woman.

Prayers for your sweet husband and for you as you take care of his recovery.

BriteCloud said...

I'm not so sure how I found your site except I know it was from your daughter's link, and I don't even know her. (Don't you love that about the internet?) Anyway... I've said a prayer for your husband and I'm praying for a much better day for your family tomorrow. I hope your husband continues to improve and the worst is over. I also had car trouble today and had to get a ride home, my husband is working 1,700 miles away and has been gone for 4 months, and boy have I been feeling sorry for myself today and my bad luck. Now I'm feeling thankful that he was just in another state and not in the hospital after a heart attack. Thank you for sharing. My best to you and your family. --rhonda

Audra said...

I just now saw this post & wanted to tell you how glad I am that things are okay now. My prayers will be with you.