As Serious as a Heart Attack.

No, it really wasn’t entirely the excitement of the Obama win that has kept me from putting pen to paper or sitting down to my computer with a cup of coffee and tapping out a few pithy sentences. A little more than a week before the election, my husband Richard came home from a weekend trip and promptly had a heart attack. A heart attack! Not kidding. I am serious. Yes, as serious as a heart attack.


Well, he didn’t come home and promptly have a heart attack, exactly. Because when it happens to you, as opposed to it happening in the movies or something, you don’t think it’s a heart attack. He felt weird, is all. Like he had a big lump in his throat. No dramatic clutching of the chest, no falling to the floor. Just a vague “not feeling well.” And the attendant anxiety that goes along with “not feeling well” if you haven’t seen a doctor for at least four years. And you smoke. And you have high cholesterol and a family history of heart disease. And have been in complete denial about your health and run screaming from the room when your wife mentions that you “might need a check-up.” So he thought some of what he was feeling was anxiety. Anxiety over thinking he was having a heart attack.


So I gave him an aspirin (which turned out to be a really, really smart thing to do, who knew? I did! Because I listen to the radio!) and the plan was, first thing in the morning, I’d take him to the doctor. Which is sort of what happened, except it was more like three in the morning, and it was the emergency room, because he woke up sweating and the tightness in his throat felt more pronounced. “Sweating” had come up when I was Googling “Lump in Throat,” followed quickly by “heart attack, symptoms of” so off we went. I know, I know, I should have called 911, but it was three in the morning, and an ambulance would not have gotten him there faster than I did.


We entered the E.R. Richard, looking a little pale, mentioned that the feeling in his throat that was spreading to his chest, and they had him hooked up within minutes. They looked at some screen, and said that yes, he was, in fact, having a heart attack. They used the word “massive” a few times. And then they took him away to a place called “Cardiac cath.” Where they put a stent into his heart.


A few hours later we were together again, waiting for a room to open up Cardiac ICU. Modern medicine!



Many hugs to you and your family. I know how scary this can be. My friend's hubby (only 30 yrs old) had a massive heart attack too. He survived but just barely. They also did the stent but they had to go ahead and do the bypass as well - his heart was only functioning at a 12% capacity. He was put on the transplant list and Thank God - a heart was made available about 2 months later. He just got his new heart and is doing great. He has also sobered up when it comes to taking better care of himself. Glad your hubby is doing better.


Good luck to you. We hope to hear more from you soon.


I just sent this to my husband. His father has had three heart attacks and he is only 61. We just had our first child 7 months ago and I worry every day that my husband will get sick. You are in my thoughts and prayers. May your family have a very special holiday season.


Ooh, Christie, I'm so sorry for you guys. That sounds insanely scary. I can't believe you almost lost him but I'm so glad it worked out for the best and that he retained his acerbic sense of humor. You obviously kept yours!!

Stefanie Wilder-Taylor