I was not prepared for life post heart attack at home. Simple tasks were monumental accomplishments with major effort needed to even attempt some of them. I was tired all the time and so weak. Maybe I did leave the hospital too early as I felt very vulnerable and fragile.
I couldn’t do much the first couple of days. I rested and sat on the couch, two things that were not in my usual behaviours. I used to always say “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” I wanted to help where I could so Cara and I decided to go grocery shopping, just walking around the store was tiring and me being me I decided to pick up two cases of Coca-cola and walk to the register with them. Something didn’t feel right and I made Cara take us home immediately after the Jeep was loaded.
My chest hurt, the same pain they kept describing I should have felt when I first had the heart attack. I took the nitro spray like I was told, I felt the rush of blood flow throughout my body but the pain did not cease. I followed the protocol I was taught and took another shot a few minutes later with no relief. I then called 911. I was advised to take another shot of nitro while I waited for the ambulance. 15 minutes passed and they finally showed up. They gave me another shot of nitro and loaded me in the ambulance as my neighbours gathered to watch. They gave me one more dose of nitro on the way to the hospital.
The doctors, now quite afraid of me due to the lashing they received from the cardiologists in Calgary, treated me as if I was the most ill patient at the hospital. They ran test after test with no cardiac event showing up on any of the results. I tried to explain to them the pain I was feeling was akin to being extremely stiff and sore. They decided to give me morphine. 5 doses of nitroglycerine and then morphine has a side effect of lowering your blood pressure.
My blood pressure dropped dramatically and they went into crisis mode again. It was decided to pump as much saline into me as they could quickly to raise my blood pressure. Overnight I gained 10 pounds. I argued with them that this went against the congestive heart failure education I had received at the Calgary hospital. They continued this treatment of morphine and then saline through the weekend.
Monday morning I called the Cardiac Function Clinic in Calgary as I was taught if there was anything amiss with myself. I told them what was going on and they “freaked out.” They called the Drumheller Hospital and told them to either transfer me to Calgary or discharge me as they were doing more damage then good. They let me go home and the next day I went for a check up in Calgary.
It seems that weeks in bed does make you stiff and sore and puts things out of joint. Turns out regular tylenol and slow stretching and then a massage would help alleviate the pain I was in. I learned a valuable lesson, I am the only one in charge of my health and I would always have the final say in what treatments I would have.
A few days later and a few days sooner than I was supposed to I drove for the first time. Only a 5 minute drive to see some of my co-workers. I was tired by this short excursion but I had to make the trek so that people could see I was alive. The rumours that had spread in the previous weeks were bordering on the absurd and I had to dispel some of them.
It was in the first week that the first bout of depression had begun to set in. The realization of how much my world had been shattered by these events weighed heavily on me. I would cry and had no motivation to do anything because anything I attempted I could not finish. I felt useless and alone in my pain. Cara tried to sympathize but she couldn’t understand the depth of loss I was feeling. I was contemplating speaking to a professional but I was proud and felt I could get through this on my own.
At this point I would like to state to anyone reading this that if you are having depression or thoughts of self harm or worse PLEASE speak to somebody about it as soon as possible. Mental health is as important as physical health. No one will look at you as weak or “crazy.” Just as my heart attack was a serious illness so is depression. Please muster up the courage to speak up on your own behalf.
And with that I end todays blog. Again I am encouraged by the comments and critizism I have recived and I am amazed at how many people are reading this around the world. I have readers from Australia, Canada, Pakistan, Malaysia, England, America and Trinidad and Tobago. Please feel free to comment and let me know any ideas or questions I can answer regarding the blog.