Friday, January 8, 2021

My Beating Heart - Small Stone - 8

 On January 8, 2010, I woke at 4 AM experiencing classic signs of a heart attack: radiating pain across my shoulders down my left arm into the hand, sweating, nausea, aching jaw, and a disorienting feeling of shock and doom. I was 65 at the time, and a recent physical gave me a clean bill of health. Since I had fallen on skis several times the day before and struggled to right myself, I attributed my symptoms to pulled muscles. I didn't want to believe the obvious.

I thought of myself as a strong, intelligent woman. Instead, I was a fool! I delayed going to the ER for about 10 hours. Luckily, after our son called 3 times and begged me to stop wasting time and get to the hospital, I listened. He probably saved my life.

I was taken by ambulance from Breckenridge to Denver and met the young cardiologist who performed an angiogram and saw the tear in the inner lining of the LAD artery near my heart.  The tear was like a loose shutter, flapping in time to my beating heart. The arteries have no nerve cells so there was no painful warning when the tear occurred. The body started clotting immediately around the arterial injury and in the dark of night, a clot broke loose and traveled to my heart.  The heart is a muscle, and it definitely registers pain. The cardiologist had to stent the area of the tear to lift the flap and keep it out of the way of blood flow. I was put on strong medications to thin my blood and to keep the heart from working too hard. For a year after the attack, I struggled both physically and emotionally. Finally, after months of rehab and a year of doctors carefully monitoring my heart, the cardiologist allowed me to start weaning off the drugs which were causing unwanted side effects. 

I'm now 11 years past the heart attack and counting.
On January 8 each year I celebrate my beating heart.
I'm grateful for the bonus years I was given.
I'm hoping for a few more.

The photo I'm sharing is a summer wildflower field on Peak 8 at Breckenridge Ski Area.
I love the "heart rock" in the midst of the flowers. 

Take care of yourself. Listen to your body. We all have an expiration date. 
I'm glad mine wasn't 11 years ago!

small stone
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