My Survival Story
My story begins on Friday, February 19, 2016 42 years old.
7am I had called in sick to work, but found out another essential staff would be out so I decided to go in and work a half day. I left work and ran to a hobby store before heading home. While at the store I started feeling nausiated and my jaw was hurting. While standing in the check out line I rested my forehead on the cart and texted my husband that I wasn't feeling well. He asked me if I had eaten lunch and if not I was probably just hungry. I hadn't eaten and it was 1pm by this time...so I drove a couple miles down the road, and go through the drive-thru at McDonalds. I proceed to park to eat my food. After the first bite I felt even more sick. I then called my husband to tell him that I was sick to my stomach, my jaw is hurting and I am sweating, mind you it is February in Missouri. I had the AC full blast with my door open, seat laid back talking to him. I tell him I didn't feel as though I could drive home. He asks me to call my doctor to see if we can run by and have them check my blood pressure...they tell me to come on in. 20 minutes later my husband arrives and asks me to get in his car and I said, I don't think I can, so I just scooted over to the passenger seat.
We get to my primary care doctor, he gets me a wheelchair, the nurse takes me back right away. After taking my blood pressure she comes in and starts hooking up wires to do an EKG, all while I am just sitting in the normal chair in an exam room. The doctor comes in and tells me they are calling an ambulance. I immediately told her that I didn't want to pay for an ambulance and that my husband could just drive me to the ER. At this time I still had no clue what was wrong. The doctor argues a bit with me and finally makes my husband promise to take me straight to the ER and sends me with oxygen and my paper printout of my EKG.
We pull up to the ER and there are two men outside waiting for me. They put me into a wheelchair, I hear them tell my husband to park and someone will be waiting for him when he gets inside. The men begin to tell me to stay calm and that there are going to be about 10 people in the room and they are all going to be doing different things. They wheel me into a small room, a doctor is sitting in the chair. I hand him my EKG as they move me to the bed. He says "well, it looks like you are having a heart attack". I said, no that can't be true. The panic set in at that point. My husband had arrived and within a few short minutes they were calling to the Cath Lab asking if they wanted to come to me or me to them. I looked at the doctor and said to him "the other doctor is going to say I am not having a heart attack, right?". He shook his head no and off I went down some really long, bright hallways.
Come to find out I had 99% blockage in my lower artery. They placed two stents. 20 hours later I was in ICU begging to go home, and they allowed me to leave. The craziest part of my story to me and my family is that my husband is a first aid/cpr trainer. He has said that he was too close to the situation and couldn't see it for what it was. He thought I was suffering from some anxiety regarding my job, which I was going through at the time. Anxiety does produce some of the same symptoms in women. I feel blessed that I didn't decide to drive home and just go to bed...had I done that I would not be here today. Women, listen to your bodies and how you feel...don't ever feel silly for calling a doctor or telling someone you are concerned.
This photo of me (on the right) is the moment I got to go home straight from the ICU 23 hours after my heart attack and surgery. I consider myself very lucky and I thank God and my doctors everyday for the life I continue to live today.