The date was Sunday, January 3, 2010. The day started like most. I got up, read the news, ate my usual breakfast (coffee, a bowl of Grape Nuts) and I then got myself to the gym to do an hour on the elliptical trainer.
It was an off day, I just couldn’t get in a groove, and I struggled to get my heart rate above 100. I was sucking wind, to say the least.
Alas, I bailed out during the 5 minute cooldown after the hour, and headed home. I got back home about 8:30 AM, and then stepped into the shower.
It hit me like a ton of bricks. Shooting pain down the arms, and it felt like Dom Delouise was standing on my chest.
I stepped out of the shower, and hobbled my way down to my wife’s office and I told her I needed to go to the emergency room. NOW.
Fortunately, she freaked out, and called 9111.
I daubed off most of the water and slipped on some sweats, while waiting for the EMT’s to show up. They checked me out, and they thought I had just overexerted myself at the gym. Fortunately (again) my wife insisted that they take me to the hospital.
I got to the hospital, and they hooked me up to an ECG and I was having a heart attack.
Let me tell you, that gets the staff moving. I was put on a gurney, wheeled to the Catheter lab, to get a stent put in. I had 100% blockage in the descending node of the right coronary artery.
I got a three night stay in the hospital, and 16 weeks of cardiac rehab2.
The really weird thing is that I was arguably in the best shape of my life. I was running 5-7 miles 5 or 6 days a week. I was doing aggressive hikes on the weekend (if you have spent time in Tucson AZ, you know that the hiking there is epic).
But I still had a heart attack. If I hadn’t gotten to the hospital, I would have died.
This morning is the 14th anniversary of that fateful day. I still view each day as a blessing and a gift.
Celebrate life. Spend time with those you love, and take nothing for granted.
- Turns out, that is the best advice I can impart. If you or someone you are with is having an event that may be heart (or stroke) related, the ambulance ride will be your ticket to being seen immediately. ↩︎
- Eight weeks to the day after the event, I hiked down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and when I walked out I felt like I was on the top of the world. ↩︎