I know I haven’t updated the old blog in a while.
Did I tell you about the time I almost had a heart attack last week?
No? Sorry. Where are my manners?
I hope I haven’t lost any readers.
So, for the last few weeks I’ve been having an on-and-off pressure in my chest. I chalked it up to the constant pool play with the girls. “I must have pulled something,” I thought. “I’m just sore.” Though deep down, I knew I was just in denial.
Moving some boxes around at the office last Wednesday, that nagging pressure came back. Only, this time, it took about an hour for me to feel normal again. In denial no more, I called my cardiologist. (As an aside, you might ask: Why does he have a cardiologist? Another funny story there. Seems that this isn’t my first heart episode. At the tender age of 39, I received a stent in an artery in my heart. Good times.)
Thursday, my cardiologist hooks me up to the EKG. Perfectly normal.
Doc: Why are you here?
Me: Chest pains.
Doc: Do you wanna get on the treadmill?
Me: That’s why I wore my jogging shoes.
The ultra-sound guy scans my heart’s “before” image, and he hooks me up to another EKG machine. I get on the treadmill and start walking. About 30 seconds later, I get that pressure feeling in my chest. The doctor points at the screen, she says something doctory to her nurse, and cuts the test short. Ultra-sound guy does the “after” picture.
The next few sentences out of her mouth include the words: Scary. Serious. Very Bad. Dangerous. Scary (again). I miss most of everything else she says.
We arrange a “procedure” (never a good thing) for the next day (Friday) at Cedars-Sinai Hospital. The doctor sends me home with a bag full of blood thinners and encourages me: “Don’t get too excited tonight.”
Thanks for that, Doc.
I break the news to Lynn and try to explain it to the girls. “Daddy is sick. He has to go to the hospital.” Beyond that, what does a five-year-old understand?
WARNING: You are about to enter the Too Much Information Zone. Some of you may not want to read the following, but I offer it up as a Cautionary Tale, a Public Service. It’ll be safe to read again the next time you see this line:
Now, as I said, I have been through this before. They slide a wire up through an incision in your groin and into your heart. And, the most important thing I learned through the whole procedure is: It is important to shave your groin yourself. Believe me, don’t leave it up to some vindictive nurse with a single-edged razor and no shaving cream to go anywhere near your… you know. Given everything I went through last time, the worst part was the razor burn. I am not kidding.
So, Thursday night, I draw a bubble bath, light some scented candles, put on some mood music, and ease into the tub.
Naaah! I’m just kidding.
Actually, I have to decide between taking the super-dose of blood thinners ASAP versus taking care of my “business.” I determine that I don’t want the blood-thinner-themed headline to read:
Man Bleeds Out After Cutting Self While Shaving Down Under. No, Not Australia.
So, I whip out my… beard trimmer to take care of the underbrush. Then, I take a NEW razor into the shower. I enjoy a rather lengthy shower. (And, by “enjoy,” I mean, I really didn’t “enjoy” anything (get your minds out of the gutter)).
Hey, y’all. Glad you’re back. We didn’t talk about you at all. (Ahem!)
Lynn has set up our babysitter (thanks Adina!), and we head off to the hospital. The procedure is supposed to go at 1:30. My doctor tells me: Expect 2:00.
3:00 comes, and they wheel me into the “Cardiac Cath Lab.” My doctor makes a bland few jokes. And, my nurse is arguing with another nurse over whether or not so-and-so meant what she said when she accused her of ‘whatever’ and how she will NEVER be forgiven. What a FUCKING BITCH!
“And, how are you feeling, Mr. Otero?”
I have no choice: I smile, “Um… Ok. I guess”
My cardiologist is literally within arm’s reach, but she seems like she’s a mile away. She fishes a wire up my femoral artery and into my heart. I watch the whole thing on a TV monitor. Even though I have no clue what I am looking at, it is extremely cool.
My doctor says, “You are about 90% blocked in the same artery as before. We need to do a stent.”
I’m in no position to argue.