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!