Forty Eight Hours

What’s going on? I woke up at 3:00 AM and breathing was difficult; I couldn’t catch my breath. I sat up on the edge of my bed trying to catch my breath, which helped a little. I lit a cigarette, smoked a little but that made me feel worse. I got up for a minute to get a glass of water. I sat down in my recliner and started to relax until I felt like I could go back to sleep, which I did. The alarm went off at 6:00 AM. I got up, got ready for work, ate some breakfast, and lit a cigarette. Smoking made me feel queasy. I sat in my recliner again and relaxed, waiting for time to go to work – Just Waiting.

The work day started at 7:00 AM. I didn’t feel very well. I did my job for about an hour and decided I should go home for the day. I went upstairs to the office to tell them I wasn’t well and found I could barely climb the stairs. I sat in a chair in the office trying to catch my breath I was still having a hard time breathing. After a while one of my co-workers said I didn’t look well and that my skin was an unhealthy grey color. While I was sitting waiting I decided my discomfort wasn’t going to go away by itself and asked if I could get someone to drive me to the InstaCare.

At around 9:00 AM I got permission from the general manager to have someone drive me to the InstaCare, during the drive I lit another cigarette, not a smart thing to do. I could not catch my breath, I through the cigarette out the window of the car. We got to the InstaCare and I was told it would be a while before I could be seen. I sat there with my co-worker – Just Waiting.

After about forty minutes they called me into the examination room and eventually hooked me up to an EKG machine. The Doctor performed the EKG test and examined the test output. He said the test didn’t show anything unusual but was concerned about my symptoms. He referred me to a cardiologist for further assessment.

We drove to the cardiologists office and went inside. The waiting room was full of patients. I had to fill out all the required paperwork before I could see the Doctor. I was eventually taken into an examination room and hooked up to another EKG machine. This time the results were more conclusive. The Doctor told me I was having a heart attack.

At around 10:30 AM an ambulance was called and I was taken to the hospital for treatment. I was initially treated with nitroglycerin and morphine. The medications relieved the pain and I was able to catch my breath for the first time in several hours. After a period of time I was admitted to the hospital as an inpatient. I was diagnosed with myocardial infarction. I was scheduled for a coronary angiogram; the results of which indicated there was blockage in three of the arteries that fed oxygen to my heart.

From this point on time became irrelevant to me with the exception that it seemed to go by very slowly. The hospital in St. George, UT wasn’t equipped to perform heart surgery so I was life flighted to Salt Lake City to be scheduled for open heart surgery. An important fact about this event is; to perform an angiogram they insert a catheter into the femoral artery at the groin. Because the Doctors in St. George weren’t sure if the Doctors In Salt Lake City were going to need to do another angiogram they left the catheter in my artery. The significance of this fact is that in order to leave the catheter in my artery I had to remain as still as possible and lay flat on my back.

The flight to Salt Lake wasn’t eventful with one exception. The flight nurse was giving me an injection of morphine the same time that the plane hit an air pocket, the result of that was I got more morphine than I needed and much faster than necessary. When I arrived in Salt Lake I was told there were no beds in the LDS hospital and that I would have to spend one night in Saint Marks hospital. I couldn’t get surgery in Saint Marks hospital because the insurance wouldn’t cover it so I – Just Waited.

Eventually I was transported to LDS hospital and scheduled for open heart surgery. The elapsed time for these events was about forty-eight hours.

In this writing exercise I am supposed to describe my surroundings and my feelings. I don’t think I quite made the mark. I don’t think anyone who reads this will quite get the utter feeling of desperation and anxiety I was feeling at the time of my heart attack. There is much more to this story so I will write it another day.

Thanks for reading. I know I’m not very good at writing but these exercises are supposed to help me to become a better writer.

 

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