Thursday, June 4, 2009

Heart Attack

Leave it to me to complain about not having anything to blog about! Now I've got something,...a little bigger than I was looking for!

Sunday, May 31, we go to church like good little kids and go home like tired little church mice. When we get home, Tommy isn't feeling well. I didn't think much about it, because he hasn't been feeling good for years now. He thought he had gas, so he took some anti-gas remedies I've got at home and we went on with life. He had been doing too much as usual and figured he had aggravated his shoulder from back when he had strained it or something, so he didn't think much about his arm aching either.

Then Monday came.
Let me back up to that Herb Workshop (you read that part of my blog already, right?) where I went to the Ag Center and set up a display for the herb shop. A lady there had asked me to come back. The Master Gardeners people were sponsoring a summer camp for kids called "Camp Dirty Knees". They would learn about farming and plants and all sorts of stuff. She asked me if I would come and run their "apothecary" for the day. I said sure....sounded fun. I was even going to steal Mesa's apron that Mama made for her so I could look the part.
Monday is the day I went to see where I was to be stationed so i could plan to set up my apothecary and handle the activities smoothly. Tommy and the two youngest boys sat outside under a tree and waited for me. While there, Tommy started feeling even worse. He didn't tell me all the details of that (and I'm still mad at him for that!) but his arm started to hurt pretty badly on the left side and his chest had a sharp pain stab and his neck started hurting. As I said, he didn't tell me all that then.

I had to go to the herb shop and pick up my pay check, mail off a package to Catherine and make sure of my work schedule for the week, so we went there next. Tommy was going to sit in the car and wait,...but he couldn't. He was hurting so much. So he and the boys came in where I was. I got him a package of gas stuff and opened it and made him take some right then. My boss grabbed another one, an antacid and made him take that also. We started throwing around thoughts about why he felt so bad. He was pacing the floor and his whole body seemed to sag. He was getting a little pale and just looked droopy and you KNEW he was hurting. He asked me to call Jason (an ER doc we go to church with) and ask him if he could give us thoughts or find out if he's at the hospital. So I called....and he was at home. He told me to get off the phone and take that man to the ER...NOW. He told me to say "he has chest pains radiating down his left arm" and I wouldn't have to wait. So I did what he said. We went straight in to a room (and the nurse even kicked out the person who was sitting there when we walked in!). She ran an EKG right there before she even got his name. Then she took us to a room. Another guy we go to church with is also an ER doc and he happened to be on duty. He signed on as our doc and I asked him to give Tommy a blessing. He did and i was emotionally relieved right there and ok with whatever was going on. We still thought it was probably gas. I should say...that's what I thought. He still hadn't told me much....hardheaded man.

Well a nitro patch and blood tests later, we're told there is something not quite right with the EKG but the blood test says his enzymes are normal. He wanted to admit Tommy and have them observe him a little longer and keep testing to see if the blood enzymes just hadn't caught up with things or what. While we waited for a room, the doctor I'd called comes in and he explained those things a little more for us and told us exactly what to expect.

We go upstairs to a room and this sweet little girl (someone I went to school with, but I didn't know her personally, just recognized her) was our nurse. She gave Tommy a shot in his stomach to thin his blood and we waited. Six hours after the first blood test, he got another one. They did another EKG at the same time. The EKG came back normal and looked good. The blood work showed elevated enzymes....a sign of a heart attack. So they sent us to the cardiac unit...a new room...and it was SOOOO nice! At 4am, they did a third blood test and EKG. The EKG was normal again. They told us to expect this third blood test to show the enzymes had spiked and were coming down....instead, they went from a 1.5 to a 5.6 or 5.4 (I forgot which). So no question...he had a heart attack. Stress test came off his schedule and heart catheter went on it. He got scheduled for noon (we have now moved into Tuesday,..somewhere in the middle of everything). So noon comes and he's gotten a slit cut into his femoral artery on the leg just to the side of his groin. They insert a tube thing there, then slip a little camera into it. He was numbed up there, but he stayed awake for the procedure and watched it all on a monitor! They sent the camera up as far as his shoulders looking for blockages. They found several smaller ones, but the one that caused problems is one of the main arteries in the front of the heart. It was 90% blocked. They put a stent in there, which looks sort of like one of those Chinese toys you put a finger into each end and it grabs them and won't let you out. This one though, is like a wire tube you can squeeze down small and then put it in. When you let it go, it springs open and holds open the artery. He was filled with some serious stuff for blood thinning (one called Integrelin is an IV drip that did some serious thinning) so when they finished, they got him up to his room and a team of nurses cleaned him up. He couldn't move for 2 hours....not at all! Head stayed on his pillow, bed stayed flat, leg didn't even flinch! After that 2 hours, a team of nurses kicked me out (how rude!) and took that catheter out. Remember it was in the femoral artery, so it went to bleeding. Those nurses climbed on him and put some serious pressure on his leg. Painful! They bandaged him up and i came back in. He had to stay still for another 4 or 6 hours (I can't remember which!) and then he could move a little and eat something. The spot hadn't stopped bleedign though! It was oozing a little, and that means no clot has formed and thats dangerous. So they did all sorts of crazy things trying to make it stop. Finally, the night nurse came on duty (this is an awesome nurse!) and she got serious with that bleeding. She all but climbed on top of him to get firm enough pressure held there for a long time till it stopped bleeding. Then she changed his clothes and bedding and had me go feel of it so I knew how it SHOULD feel in case it changed. She was great.

He did fine from that point on, except that at one point he strained in the bathroom. That's a bad thing because it causes your blood vessels and such to constrict. Bad timing for constriction, and it brought on chest pains. He got nitro again and an ekg and quiet rest. That eased up and his doctor told him he was fine...just be good.

Well now we're home and he's had a shower and gone to bed.
Of course, we had little moments between there and now, trying to get his medicine filled and such, but I won't get into all of that, least not right now.
He has to eat a heart healthy diet and get some exercise. So we're going to get a membership at the Rec Dept pool so he can swim regularly (its an indoor pool, thankfully) and we all need to eat better!

What a week, huh?

1 comment:

  1. Well, you know ya'll have been on my mind. I hope things are getting better for everyone health and stress wise. Hang in there!