It was early afternoon when Dad decided he did not feel well. Mom had just taken off to drop the remainder of unsold garage sale items off that the local good will. Dad decided he would stay behind. He, a friend, and a few of the residence from his apartment building all sat outside enjoying the weather. After all it was something he enjoyed. A short time into his visit with his friend and the neighbors, Dad turned pale and decided that he needed to rest. Walker in hand, he headed toward the door of his building. The friend decided to tag along to the house knowing my mom would be back shortly. Half way to the front door, Dad took out his emergency bottle of nitro.
For those who have never had heart problems this bottle is the size of your thumb. It contains small white rectangles made of nitro. When a person with heart problems starts having chest pain, he or she takes one rectangle and puts it under his or her tongue. Usually, the pain subsides within 2-3 minutes. If it doesn’t the heart patient takes another. The process is repeated a maximum of 3 times. By the 2nd rectangle, if the pain does not subside, the patient is having heart trouble that requires medical treatment. Dial 911. The 3rd rectangle is taken while waiting for the ambulance.
Dad took 2 pills and continued into the apartment. He reached the staircase just inside the door before he could not continue on. His senses started to shut down. Blurred vision. Sweating. Stabbing pain in the center of his chest. He told his friend not to panic but to dial 911. The friend complied. An ambulance was dispatched and dad was taken to the local hospital. From there he flew to a medical center that was better equipped for heart patience.
Having dealt with a previous heart attack, both mom and I were more ready to handle the situation. The steps are the same: 911. The ambulance. The hospital. The helicopter. The drive we have to make. The surgery he enters upon arrival while we are still driving. (The first heart attack took 5 hours in surgery- This one took less than an hour!). The waiting. (It’s the waiting that kills you!) After the wait the heart patient is generally groggy but can talk. A short visit is advised. A long one takes up precious energy. The typical hospital stay is 3-5 days depending upon how the patient is doing.
His first heart attack, Dad only wanted to remain in the hospital for 2 days. This time he agreed to 4 without being nagged by the doctors. He is home now. He looks better. He walks better. He is even joking around. The only thing that he doesn’t do well is resting. He wants right back in the game, but for the next few weeks the only game he gets will be filled with cardiac therapy.