Cheating death…literally

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, but things have been crazy.  Today is the first day hubby’s gone back to work, and it has been a practice in self-control to have that happen.  You see, hubby survived a widowmaker, with no damage whatsoever.  That in and of itself is a miracle.  I guess I should have taken that Norman Rockwell Christmas as a sign, not to mention needing to pay attention to that little inner voice.  I think I’ve learned my lesson.

Hubby was at work when he realized he was having a heart attack.  Told his coworkers to call dispatch and get an ambulance out there immediately because he was having a heart attack.  Other than a few second delay from them with a WTF reaction, the ambulance was called.  They got there, hooked him up to a portable monitor and announced that yes, he was having a heart attack.  He looked at them and said “that’s what I’ve been telling you–can we go to the hospital NOW?”

A huge plus is the fact that the substation is just down the road from a major medical center.  They called ahead with the confirmation of a major myocardial infarction, which enabled hubby to bypass the emergency room completely and go straight to cardiac catheterization.  By the time the police officers had picked me and the munchkin up and transported us to the hospital, the cardiologist at the hospital had already run a catheter up to hubby’s heart, opened up the blockage and placed a stent.  That sort of time frame is almost unheard of, and resulted in absolutely no damage to hubby’s heart even though he had 100% blockage of his left main coronary artery from a clot that formed from a ruptured plaque.  I never knew small plaques could rupture and form a clot that completely blocks an artery–I always thought plaques created the blockage.  The cardiologist also performed a balloon dilation on another plaque, but luckily it didn’t require a stent.

The doctor came out within 15 minutes of us arriving and explained that hubby had suffered a heart attack, the worst one there is,  what he had found, and what he had done.  He was very pleased with the results, and it wasn’t until I had done research later that I realized how extremely lucky hubby was–they don’t call that particular blockage a widowmaker for nothing.  To have no damage whatsoever is almost unheard of.  I was on my knees thanking God and the guardian angels for the sequence of events leading to hubby’s intervention.

He spent a night in the ICU being monitored, then was transferred to the electrophysiology monitoring floor to watch his heart rhythm–apparently it’s common for there to be heart arrhythmias after that sequence of events.  Other than one instance where they gave him sublingual nitroglycerin, he had absolutely no complications whatsoever.  After twelve hours of monitoring, they let him go home.

Needless to say, I didn’t sleep well for a while–too busy waking up and checking to make sure hubby was still breathing.  Then there was the fight with the insurance company because they didn’t want to approve the blood thinner hubby was prescribed.  Thankfully the cardiologist provided a two weeks’ supply of the medication while we battled it out with insurance.  They finally relented, and instead of us having to pay $400 a month, we ended up paying $18 since the insurance paid part and the drug manufacturer paid another portion.

Hubby started with cardiac rehab, and they were baffled with hubby’s physical status.  They deal 99% of the time with patients who have some sort of damage to their heart–the monitored exercise routine they crafted for hubby wasn’t even raising his blood pressure or heart rate.  After consulting with his cardiologist they increased the intensity of his workouts and he finally felt like he was exercising.  The cardiologist also prescribed a low fat, low salt, low carbohydrate dietary regimen.  He was emphatic about the low carbohydrate aspect to reduce plaque buildup, which means things like white bread, regular pasta, sugar, etc, are off the menu.  I’ve been working on crafting a menu based on Atkins as well as the American Heart Association cookbook.  The results have been…interesting.  Due to reducing the salt in my cooking, it has shifted what our taste buds can detect.  Going out to eat can be a freaking nightmare now.  Dishes I used to really enjoy now taste so salty they’re almost inedible.  Bummer for the taste buds, but a plus for the body.

Hubby has now lost approximately 35 pounds since November, and his blood pressure is definitely on the lower side.  They might have to discontinue one of the two medications they have him on because of it.  Too low of a blood pressure equals passing out, which isn’t a good thing.

His first day back to work has been so far, so good.  I’m thawing some ground turkey and will be making a homemade lasagna with some low carb lasagna noodles for supper.  A loaf of whole wheat bread is cooking in the bread maker hubby got me for my birthday.  🙂

My health issues have been turning out okay.  I had a consultation with a breast surgeon who ordered another ultrasound for the abnormalities they had found in November.  It showed the two areas are stable with no growth or changes, so I can relax until my annual mammogram along with an ultrasound in November.

Hubby was sneaky, though.  I asked him if he had already gotten me a birthday present a few days before my birthday, and he said he was going out that day to get something.  I told him I had found a bread maker I really wanted, and if it was okay to order it in lieu of what he was going to get.  He told me to order it.  Once I had, he informed me he was still going out to get what he had originally planned.  Grrrrr.  He gave me a certificate for an ultimate 5-hour spa package at a European day spa down the road from us.  On top of that, for Valentine’s Day he gave me another certificate for a 4-1/2 hour spa package from the same spa.  I have always said my birthday is TOO close to Valentine’s Day to justify a separate present (3 days apart), and he deliberately ignored that standing “rule”.  He felt guilty for the white hair that is now showing up in my EYEBROWS since his health scare, and that is what resulted in the extra goodies for the birthday and Valentine’s Day.  *Sigh*  I can’t really argue with him since I’m supposed to be keeping him calm, can I?

In the next few days I’ll try to get to some posts about my latest gardening adventures, as well as cutting the cable cord.  Until then…


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