Spent Thanksgiving week at the lake with my parents and sister who was visiting from Baltimore MD. We had a great time and thoroughly enjoyed the visit. Dad was in good spirits and we just had tons of friends and extended family through during the entire week. Played cards the entire week. Mom, Allison and I even managed to leave Dad for a little while and do some shopping – don’t worry – he called every 45 minutes to make sure we were okay!
The big joke is that I slept in the garage for the week. Yes, by choice. Allison brought her cat, Mom & Dad have their cat, so I pulled the big van into the garage – turned on the heat, set out their beds and food and set up their fencing around the back door so they had a really nice turn out area. The intent was that I would sleep downstairs on the couch where I could hear them. But the house was a little warm for my comfort (like 75 degrees!) so I ended up folding down the back couch in the van and made myself comfy in the garage with the puppers. It was perfect.
The joke was that “this” was the way they treated their favorite daughter – let her sleep in the garage for the holiday. One day Mom made everyone grilled cheese sandwiches and soup for lunch. I was out in the garage cleaning up from deep frying the turkey. When I walked in Mom said – “here Andrea, I made you a sandwich and warmed up your soup.” So I sit down to eat, take my first bite and it’s a little odd, take my second bite and then I open up the sandwich – my Mom had forgotten to put cheese in it. Yep, made it special for her favorite daughter.
Last week, I went to get out of my chair to go to bed on Tuesday night and immediately had tightness in my chest. Then I had cold sweats, nausea and was extremely light headed. There was some slight numbness in my left arm as well. I tried to calm myself down and stay alert to figure out if I should call 911 or take myself to the hospital. After 20 minutes I called Mom – she assured me that I was just having a panic attack – I had probably pulled a muscle in my chest and was overacting. After another 20 minutes the pain went away and I got off the phone shortly after that and went to bed. My chest was very sore the next day – like I had worked out too hard. So I had a doctors appointment Thursday. When I told her what had happened she ran an EKG which came back abnormal and then she did some blood work. I explained that my chest was still sore, but not painful – a 2 whereas Tuesday night had been at about an 8.
Friday I had the biggest scare when my doctor of 24 years called me at work (I’ve never talked with her on the phone, just the nurses) and told me to go immediately to the hospital. I told her the cardiologist I would prefer to work with was Dr. Berlacher (my Dad’s.) She faxed the results over to him and the two of them talked briefly. She then called me back at work and told me to go to Toledo’s ER and explain that I had mild chest pain. This was at 11:30am – by 1:30pm I was admitted, had a nitroglycerin and Hebron drip going and was headed to the Heart Cathertization lab.
As they explained to me – my heart had continued to beat irregularly and with difficulty because it had not gotten any relief. That panic attack on Tuesday night – was a heart attack. My friend told me I should know better than to take medical advice from someone who would make me sleep in the garage and feed me cheeseless grilled cheese sandwiches! The blood work that came back on Friday showed there was still damage being done to my heart.
The good news – it was a mild heart attack. The damage was done to some of the small arteries in the heart. It can not be repaired, but the heart will learn to work around this damage. There was no damage to the heart muscle. All the tests showed that there is no blockage, build up or blood clots anywhere. My primary risk factors and what caused the heart attack – smoking, sleep apnea, high-blood pressure and stress. So, I have quit smoking. I will be going in to see the sleep doctor and get my CPAP machine re-calibrated so that I can use it nightly. Dr. Klein prescribed additional blood pressure medication so we will try to get this down further.
I will go in to see the cardiologist on December 18th. Until then – what I’ve written here is everything I know.
Laura and Eric went to the house Friday when they found out I was in the ER (I was texting her from the ER) and picked up Baffy and Opie so I wouldn’t have to worry about them. Janelle and Tammy came and kept me company and brought me a little goody kit to keep me occupied on Friday (complete with Hershey bars . . . mmmmm – not very heart healthy, but damn they were good!) Brent and Janelle came and picked me up Saturday afternoon and drove my van home (yes, I drove myself to the hospital – back off!!! I mean, after all, I had been at work all week!) I tried to get the nurse to let me drive myself home, but that wasn’t going to happen.
Janelle made sure I ate on Saturday while Brent got my fire started in the basement. That night Janelle brought me back dinner, Laura and Eric brought Baf and Opie home. Then Brent, Eric and Laura hauled wood into the basement for me. I can’t lift over 8lbs for a couple of weeks until that femeral artery heals. I can’t ride until the collagen plug completely absorbs!!! Can’t imagine being in this situation without my friends!!!!
I am sleeping A LOT. I tried to work a full day on Monday – really bad idea. So I am going in a couple of hours late every day this week. I’m typically in bed at 8:30pm and sleep straight through until 8am – just a little tired. Dr. Klein reminded me this week that I need to give my body a chance to heal and adjust to the changes. Big challenge trying to slow down.
Anyway, if you don’t hear a lot from me this is why. Not ignoring anyone, just trying to ease back. Poor Hat is going to think he’s been forgotten! I checked in with Natasha and she says he’s behaving pretty well. It’ll probably be February before I can ride (if everything goes well.) Oh well, I’ll just go up and play with him, we can still do that! And we can still go for walks down the back roads!