FACT: Heart disease is the number 1 killer of men and women in the U.S.
June 9, 2010 was when I survived my first attack so when February 26th 2014 came I knew the warning signs. After putting the munchkin to bed I started experiencing chest pains and shortness of breath. I had felt this pain before so I knew exactly what to do and sprang into action.
I took two 81 mg aspirin, put my feet up above heart level and was laying down on my left side. My mom and I checked my blood pressure which was high but not get your shoes on and let’s head to the emergency room high. I dozed off and woke up around 1am and went to bed. Every once in a while I like to cuddle with the munchkin and not feeling well just seemed like a perfect night to cuddle. Now Jordan has more moves than Jagger when she is sleeping so cuddling was a poor choice on my part.
We woke up like we normally do, I check the weather on my phone, turn on cartoons so I can go to the bathroom in peace, pick 2 outfits for school and head towards Bibi’s room . The routine was normal but the pace was not. Every little step I made I had to take a break. I took Jordan to school and all the teachers said I didn’t look well. Masters of the obvious those ladies they are. I managed to get back home safely and I got back in the bed.
After a few hours of sleep, I wasn’t getting any better so I contacted my cousin to see if she could drop me off to the emergency room. I informed my mother that i was going to the hospital and I would keep her updated. Upon walking into the emergency room I noticed that it was empty enough for tumble weave to roll through. Going through triage was fairly quick but I think all hospital emergency rooms are trained to move fast when you say you’re having chest pains and shortness of breath. It’s like the code word to get into the elite tree-house club. So after the vitals are checked and the triage nurse gives me the once over because “you’re too young to have a heart attack” look is all over her face. I just respond by saying I have bad genes because her astonishment is an all too familiar look.
The PA ordered an EKG and after reading it tells me I had an acute heart attack the night before. Now the hospital is equipped to do a lot of things but a trauma like mine is one that they have to outsource. After three nitroglycerin pills under the tongue and two morphine shots my heart was trying to have a major attack. If you ever want to see a hospital staff go from 0 to 60 in 2.2 seconds have a heart attack. The process of getting a hold of the receiving hospital kicked into high gear and then I heard the helicopter.
My 1st helicopter ride was a terrifying yet exciting experience all at the same time. The view was breathtaking but at the same time i was thinking if something goes wrong these pilots/emts just don’t know we all going down. Once we arrived safe and sound to Shands I had a security detail and went through the hospital so quick I don’t remember the route we took. The first room was 524 and there were eight people working on me while I was being prepped for surgery. The cath lab tech asked me my name and I verified and then he wanted to know what i liked to be called. Y’all know me being me I had a smart answer so I told him to call me the Queen of England and he replied your royal highness let’s get you off to surgery.
The first surgery was a success but I was informed that there were more blockages so I would have to have another surgery. I just knew I was going home Saturday but the cardiologists’ had another idea. Since I hadn’t seen my baby in a few days I had to threaten to leave against medical advice in order to get a visit. The look on Jordan’s face when she came to visit broke my heart. She didn’t want to come to me and after several attempts to take out my iv’s I had to give up some spaghetti and a breadstick just to get a kiss. Luckily she hadn’t taken a proper nap so a bottle and a little rocking in the guest’s recliner was all it took.
It felt great to hold my baby and rock her to sleep but i couldn’t help the guilt that i felt because what if the next one is the fatal one. Was I selfish to bring a child in the world knowing I have a bad heart? Will I see Jordan grow up? My mom’s baby is 35 with a baby so is it fair to ask her to start all over again? I laid in the hospital bed and matched Jordan’s breathing while my mom packed the car up for them to take the drive back home. Sunday’s visit was a little better because Jordan was the star attraction with all the nursing staff.
If laughter is the best medicine then two days of laughing at Jordan then I felt well enough to go home but then I got hit with the news that I might have to have open heart surgery I had to hide the fear I felt. My second surgical procedure was left up to cardiologists, EKG readings and blood work. After each heart attack one has the heart grows a little weaker but not mine thankfully my heart beat/rhythm is strong. I was upbeat to the point one of the lab techs asked if I wanted or even needed some “happy juice”. Second surgery was successful except the recovery time. The range of motion in my right arm/wrist is at 65% and although it is painful I am fighting through the pain.
I am back on my meds which is probably why I had the attack in the first place. Not having health care is real folks. I was cleared to start doing light exercise again. Now I can’t say when the next attack will be but from the things I can control like weight, medication, smoking, and diet I will control them. I know a lot of people think I took this attack lightly but here’s the real deal, if i showed any signs of fear than people would have been planning my funeral. I have so much to live for and as long as I continue to see another day then I will live each day to the fullest.
I want to personally thank the hospital staff that was on call when I went into the emergency room in Georgia. I don’t remember the names but they rocked. Now the staff at Shands was amazing. My nursing staff: Ashleigh, Kyle, Marilyn, Allie, Selena and Monique. The PCA’s, Ms. Sharon and Lorenzo from the kitchen, Zac my cath lab tech who refers to me as your Royal Chocolateness, and all the cardiologist and doctor’s that made it possible for me to see my baby, get on my mommy’s nerves, blog again, enjoy the little things and so on and so forth. Thanks to everyone and their well wishes, the cards, the flowers, the edible arrangements, and even the gifts for Jordan so that she is reminded that she is loved.