“Mister Moore, I have bad news. You’ve had a heart attack.”
This was not going to be a typical Wednesday.
I stared at the ER physician from my ambulance gurney and tried to process what my wife, boss and I had just heard.
“How bad was it?” I asked.
“Significant,” he responded.
At the ripe old age of 52, I was the newest member of the coronary club.
For almost two days, I’d had the classic symptoms; significant chest pressure, pain radiating down my left arm and severe shortness of breath. But, even though I’ve worked in the medical field for over 15 years, I didn’t think what was happening would actually happen to me. Heart attacks happen to other people.
But, this day, it was happening to me.
What came next was a whirlwind of more medical specialists, including a cardiologist who has been a friend of mine for a long time. I asked the ER physician to call him. I also gave instructions on who I wanted for bypass surgery just in case I needed it. Fortunately, I didn’t.
The heart catheterization revealed a 100 percent blockage in the circumflex, which is a vessel that provides blood to the backside of the heart. Remarkably, my other vessels were relatively clear.
Those who know me likely suspected that my dietary choices and an aversion to exercise were the culprits in all of this. However, my cardiologist informed me that what happened to me was genetic. I had inherited this problem.
I am grateful that the blockage on the backside of my heart occurred now instead of 10 years ago. From what I understand, it’s only been recently that medical advancements have provided the technology and skill to fix a blockage in this location. He opened the blockage with a drug-coated stent.
Later, I was astounded by the video showing my blockage being opened and the dozens of vessels once again receiving their needed blood flow. I was told that the likelihood of needing another stent there was only 3 percent.
Modern medicine is amazing.
I tell you all of this not because my medical condition is important to you or because I like having my personal business out for the world to see. I tell you all of this with the hope that should you experience the symptoms of a heart attack, and you have a family history of heart disease, that you won’t do what I did and delay seeking treatment. With a heart attack, minutes matter.
And one other favor. Don’t take the time which you have been given for granted.
It is only a loan.
© 2015 John Moore
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