Diary Of A Heart Attack
As Warren the original Editor of Tintota recently had a heart attack, I thought I would describe my own heart attack, since it may interest many persons, especially, men!
On Mother’s Day in 1997 at 3 a.m. I suddenly felt a sharp pain in my right groin which woke me up. I climbed out of bed and walked around the room, thinking the pain would disappear with the exercise. Afterwards, I hopped back into bed and fell asleep. A short while later, I was rudely awakened once again. This time, the pain was like a knife being thrust into my stomach. Recently, in the block of units I was living in I had been talking to a guy who’d had an appendicitis. I was convinced this was my problem, even though the pain was on the right-hand side of my groin. This guy said you must act quickly as the appendix can burst.
At once, I dressed and decided to go to the local hospital. At this time, I was living in Adelaide and the ambulances were notoriously unreliable, so I opted for telephoning a taxi.
Within ten minutes, the cab arrived and I travelled to the local hospital, which was a very short distance away.
Arriving at the hospital I walked, or rather hopped into casualty, because the pain was driving me mad – doing this is the worst thing you can do I was told later. Evidently this drives the pain along the blood stream.
The night duty sister exclaimed as soon as she saw me, “You are having a heart attack.”
A wheelchair was provided and I was raced off to the operating theatre. From memory there were two doctors and two nurses in attendance. I was given morphine.
One of the nurses kept asking me to describe from 1 – 10 what the pain was like. I shouted out 10. I remember the doctor saying. “This guy is a stoic!”
During the heart attack, I suffered no chest pains, no sweating, no sickness, no giddiness, no vomiting, no pains down the arm. In fact I had no normal warning signs at all.
I recall that what happened next was a doctor calling out to me. “Can you hear me?”
I thought, what is wrong with this idiot? Of course, I can hear you.
What I was unaware of, was the fact that I had passed out and they had been madly using the defibrillators upon me. My heart had stopped. All this took place within one hour from my first pain in bed. During the emergency, they contacted my wife and told her to rush round immediately as I might expire shortly!
I saw her worried look and smiled.
Another ambulance rushed me to the leading heart hospital – The Queen Elizabeth. Here I was taken to another operating theatre, where a nurse stripped my clothes off. Two doctors approached me and told me what they about to do. I was to have angioplasty and I was informed that I could watch this on the TV screen. The doctors asked if I felt any pain as they made an insertion in my thigh.
I replied, “No, but I still have a violent pain in my groin.”
The whole process was over within 30 minutes and then I was wheeled away to a recuperating room.
Round about 5 p.m. two doctors were examining text spewing out of a machine like a fax on steroids.
One of the doctors remarked to the other, “This doesn’t look good.”
I knew they were talking about me since I was the only patient in the room. Straightway, I thought, “Well, here we go to the happy hunting ground in the sky.” I wasn’t greatly worried as I have never been afraid of dying.
Approximately one hour after this episode, the pain in my groin stopped altogether. I spent the rest of the night in a public ward with other heart attack patients. I observed all night long as further victims were wheeled on stretchers into the passageways.
I vividly remember a nurse telling me, “This is happening in every hospital in Australia. Every day being just like this.”
Next day, I was walking around with drip lines attached to me as I tried to shower. Altogether, I was kept in for four days, then I was released and sent home.
The specialist told me I was lucky to survive, and only did so because I was so physically fit. This was my first time in a hospital apart from having my tonsils out at 4 years of age. Had I been living in a rural area, I would not now be here.
Back at home, I took some drugs for two days, made a speedy recovery and was taken off them. I was then instructed to take Metropolol twice per day, and half an aspirin.
Two years ago my Metropolol intake was reduced by half by my new Indian doctor. He advised me that continued use of medication can increase artery blockage, and not reduce it. This was the first time I had been told this by a doctor. I think, as a wanderer, I am fortunate as I have been to a great many doctors over the years, mostly for checkups. However, they all contradict each other and I have learned a lot about a doctor’s personal opinion.
I questioned my specialist about my type of heart attack, which is not listed in any surgeries. The answer, which I considered neither sufficient nor satisfying, was, “Your type is very rare.”
Much later, I was invited by the leading Baker Heart Research Institute of Melbourne to take part in a series of tests of questions and answers. Many weeks afterwards, I was informed that I was top of the class by my doctor. Evidently, the leading cause of reoccurrence of heart attacks is because men will not take their medication, or simply forget. I have never forgotten one day.
Since that time I have not suffered any difference to my lifestyle and feel as fit as I did before the attack happened. I still continue to walk miles every day.
One week before my attack, I had a complete pathological test which included ECG, blood pressure, cholesterol, and was pronounced perfectly healthy.
It just shows that these tests cannot be completely relied on.