Four years ago today was the classic definition of a “bad day“. I had been at the gym, doing my daily workout, but felt blah and off. I couldn’t get my heart rate above 100 (registered on the elliptical trainer), and I really had to force myself to do the full hour.
I was uncomfortable on the drive home, but that wasn’t so unusual after a session at the gym.
I stepped into the shower, and BAM it hit me like a ton of bricks. Shooting pains out the arms, huge pressure on my chest. I knew I was in trouble.
Fortunately my wife panicked and called 911 (first bit of good fortune) instead of driving me to the ER.
Once I was at the ER, they hooked me up to a machine, and voila, I was having a heart attack. You never saw so many people jump into action. Off to the catheter lab, a call to the rad tech and the cardiologist on duty, and I was fitted with a Stent.
Verdict: Complete blockage of my right coronary artery. The angioplasty and stent successfully opened it up, and I began a long recovery.
Every January 3rd, I pause and recognize the day that I was dying and dodged a major bullet. I was 44 years old. I was running 5 – 6 miles 6 days a week. I was hiking on weekends, and I was eating healthy. I had been battling high blood pressure for years, but that had been controlled via medication, diet and exercise.
Naturally I recovered, went through my rehab (12 weeks), and even was able 8 weeks after the event hike to the Phantom Ranch and back out.
To this day, I try to live life to the fullest. I am cautious naturally, but every day is a gift to be celebrated and cherished.