I think today I want to talk about heart attacks and that sort of problem.
Dick had his first heart-related episode about 20 years ago, I had one almost 3 years ago. So much of what we read about people having heart “events” don’t relate at all to what we went through.
We were living in Kentucky at the time. We have always worked and remodeled houses – our and ones for financial gain too. This time, we had decided to replace the roofing – asphalt shingles on our back porch. Son said he would help – it wasn’t that we hadn’t done it before, so the date was set and Dick and Chris began early in the morning – when it was a bit cooler at least. Dick was busy carrying bundles of shingles up the ladder, after getting Chris started by getting a couple of rows done. My job was mainly to keep them supplied with water and soft drinks. I had gone out and watched and everything seemed to be going just fine. A couple of hours into the job, Dick said he sort of felt dizzy and weak as he was climbing the ladder. (Picture is before we build a back porch on – the one Dick and Chris were working on.) So, later I learned he sat on the roof a while, talked with Chris, and when we felt a bit better, finished carrying the shingles to the roof top and helping Chris finish up the job. We just thought he had really worn himself out – probably didn’t drink enough water – I was always on him about that. So, the next day, he continued as normal – going to meetings, running the office.
Luckily less than a week later we had scheduled a physical for him. Now, it wasn’t anything for Dick to make an appointment to see the doctor and then cancel before the time ever came, because he felt so good. “Nothing wrong with me, so I’m not wasting my time sitting in an office for my turn for the Doctor to tell me I’m fine.”Luckily this time I insisted he would keep his appointment, and I would go with him.
He did, at that appointment tell the doctor about his little episode on top of the roof – that led to some tests – that day – those tests led to more tests, and by the end of the day, the doctor said – you are going into the hospital – “you are a walking dead man, Dick” We do hear men being told that every once in a while – heart patients. And so…we went home… Dick decided he needed a second opinion… my husband… what shall I do with him???
So, by the end of the tests the next day, that doctor, after totally agreeing with the first, put him in the hospital and scheduled his quad by-pass the next day. It was a terrible time, as I’m sure a lot of you know, but he had great doctors who did a wonderful job, and he’s one lucky guy. Other than the next incident below, he has done just fine since – oh, in the past 5 years, he has had a couple of stents placed, but, they were caught early, and no damage has occurred to his heart muscle. (The picture is the back yard of our “Old Kentucky Home”.)
The next time he had a episode was when we were coming home from Reno in a plane – he got sweaty and weak. As soon as we got home, he was checked and he had had a small heart attack. Just some rest took care of that. That was when we decided the stress of his work was just too much, and we began our retirement plans.
Then about three years ago, I was at a Women’s Club…
… I was just moving some chairs around for our group to play bridge, and after moving one chair, I picked up another and, the room swirled about me… I sat down and said “I just can’t do this”, and sweat just poured our of me. Thank goodness the girls were paying attention and sat me down and called 911 immediately – next, they contacted Dick, who was near – Dick got there immediately and drove me to the hospital – next day, I got a stent put in – and have been fine since.
Now, after all that, I need to tell you all that heart attacks are not prefaced with pains in the arm, not with numbness in the jaw, not with pain in the back – Dick and I had none of that – all we had was a bad case of the sweats and weakness. So, don’t try to be the big strong one who ignores any signal – get to the hospital – an urgent care facility – or some place near where you can get immediate attention – your life is at stake – life is too precious to ignore any sign.
Dick and I do take blood thinners and that sort of thing, but that is a small bother for the protection those little pills give you. Good health to you all, and pay attention to your body!