For those of you who emailed or wished me well, many many many thanks. Im very touched by the concern of everyone. Its good to know Im either well liked, or for those who dont, they didnt want a thread opponent to disappear
A bit of an explaination of what very unexpectedly happened to "good ol hard as a rock Gunner". (ouch..sigh)
Saturday last, I had gone to Bakersfield to pick up an Old Crystal Lake grinder for a gent, who is coming in from Salt Lake City to pick up in the next week or two. Getting it home in mid afternoon, (around105F, 30% humitity) I unloaded it using the Armstrong Method and the few gadgets I have for moving Stuff around the back yard. This involved a lot of gut busting grunting and groaning, and I stopped to take a break. I noticed I was getting what felt like heart burn, and it was getting a bit hard to ignore..so took a big shot of Pepto Bismo. The pain went away. So I went back outside and kept on moving Stuff. Pain came back. Pepto didnt help. So thinking fast, I dropped a couple of my wife's nitro pills, and the pain went away. Cool. So thinks me..time to take it easy. And I did, all Sunday..just did minor bits and things. No problems all day.
I got ready to go to LA Monday morning, and went to bed. At 5:30 am..my chest woke me up. Pepto didnt work. The first nitro did..for a short time. Then it came back. Worse. The second and third nitro slowed it down..for a short time..then it came back..really bad.
Now while Im just a simple harmless fuzzball, I do have a high pain threshhold....and I was rapidly reaching the high end of it. The wife demanded we head to the hospital in Bakersfield (45 miles away), so I dropped 3 asprin, another nitro and off we went like a bat out of hell with her driving.
By this time, I was bent over in the front seat, scared shitless, and praying hard that this was not a heart attack . I was a bit confused as I only had about 1/2 of the symptoms of a MI, but it was really hard to ignore that white hot chunk of 3" diameter CRS that the 500lb elf was trying to drive into my chest and out my back (and he was doing a really really good job of it). About half way there..the pain started to abate a fair amount...but I was still twitching bad..
Getting to the country hospital in Bakersfield, she dragged me into the ER..and plopped me down and got some help. First thing they did was give me an EKG. Hummmm no signs of a Heart Attack (MI) though it was giving wierd readings. Enough that they called a Code and got me into treatment.
To cut through the bullshit of the next couple very painful and miserable days, much of which is mercifuly veiled with a drug filled fog....
My cloresteral was perfect My blood pressure was in the high normal range My blood enzemes were showing something was screwed up. My heart beat never got any higher than 66 beats per minute (more on this later) The periodic returns of the pain was stopped by nitro and morphine. Lots of nitro, and lots of morphine. Ill blow up a piss test for the next year...
Damned shame Ive become allergic to Demeral....morphine only works so so with me..shug
I had a text book worst case example of Unstable Angina.... While knowing what it is..there isnt much comfort knowing the name of that500lb elf with the white hot spear in your chest...
They ran a bunch of tests, chest x-rays (nothing wrong showing, other than a slight possible enlargement of the heart) and Wed they decided to give me a angiogram. This is where they strip you naked, shave all the hair off your balls and groin, and hack into your right femoral artery, then run a teeny wienie hollow tube all the way up into your chest and inject dye into your heart , all the while watching the process under a xray sort of machine, all on real time video (and saved to CD).
My right coronary aortawas 95% plugged off, another one (cant remember ALL the names) was 50% plugged off, and 5 more on the left side of my heart were up to 50% plugged for a grand total of 7 blockages. Keep in mind..that my colesteral levels were absolutely perfect and all the tests showed the heart itself was perfect (though beating slowly) and my BP was in the high normal/low High range.
My blockages were, in effect worse than my wifes blockages. Big difference..Id managed to avoid a heart attack with the nitro and asprins and there was no heart damage. (whew.....prayer? Knowing what to do because Im a survivalist? Damned good luck? Shrug)
An interesting side note..to close the hole in the femorial artery they made..they clamp it closed and you down to the table with this big assed C clamp for an hour or so, then clamp your leg down for the next 10 hours so the artery doesnt blow out and you bleed to death in a couple minutes in your bed. Its actually better than it sounds..morphine..lots of morphine....
The next day, Thursday, they moved me to another hospital, one specializing in this sort of problem and did a ballon cathederization and installed a stent in the big artery. This will keep the artery from going bad again. The specialists say the other areas will sort themselves out if I stay on their pill and eats program and I was damned lucky that I was in excellent health otherwise and had avoided the heart attack.
(.200 stent, expanded to .375 at 40psi, if my reading the report upside down was correct. Stent is a new style, treated with a baked on anti-plaque chemical that is supposed to prevent any new yuckies from building up in that area. I got the owners manual and warranty for that puppy! )Here is what an angioplasty is all about Oh..and I will be quitting smoking (or trying really hard) as I need lead a bit more healthy a life style. Shrug..this is gonna be a total bitch and will likely be harder than undergoing the other stuff..I have quit 14 times before...sigh...
The upshot of this whole thing is..I will be ok in a few weeks at most,, and probably in better shape than in the last couple years or longer. Ive noticed a distinct tendency over the last couple years to not be as active as I was before..due to "running out of steam". I wrote off a lot of this as simply ageing. I also noticed that Id get wierd feelings now and then from the right center of my chest..kind of a tickle, over the last couple years..also writing them off to aging. Big mistake, which fortunately I was lucky to be able to recover from. The only other problem that Ive got and it may be genetic (my mom had this later in life) is that my heart never speeds up much past 60-70 beats per minute. I could be running around the block, and drop to my knees as the heart is not speeding up to pump increased blood and O2. Ive noticed this over the last year..and while I knew this was a problem..was unable to do anything about it. Priorities....shrug. There is some conjecture that this may have caused a plague build up due to no big speeding up of the heart and blood flow..or the other side says it was the result of plague caused heart damage. Shrug..Docs say it may correct itself in the next few weeks, or Ill simply have to learn to live with it. I was wondering why I couldnt boink for hours anymore..thought I was just getting old
Angina or the early stages of a heart attack are hard to distinquish from "heart burn" for the average person. Most guys (like myself) tend to be in denial that it could be something serious. The coroner often times finds a belly full of PeptoBismo/Tums or other antacids when doin the autopsy of the people that dont make it to the hospital and are found dead at home. Dead of being stubborn. I damned well could have been one of them.
Id strongly suggest reading this link for the various warning signs...As to how Im gonna pay for all this..I dont have a clue..but Ive a number of options, from various country and state programs to long term payment plans, to working with the VA. Im starting to explore the options.
At least..Im alive to deal with the issue..and Im worth far more alive than dead.
I STRONGLY recommend to anyone over 40, that you get a good heart health check up now and then. Some of the screenings may be free, or darned cheap. If this could happen unexpectedly to me..it damned well could happen to anyone.
Again..many thanks to all of you who expressed concern. Im very touched and heartened by your best wishes. Even those emailed by Snibbles .....
Respects and deepest regards to the members of the Usenet communtiy who have emailed and posted. Im deeply touched and it gives me a very warm feeling.
That rifle hanging on the wall of the working-class flat or labourer's cottage is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there. - George Orwell