A True Life Story.

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I Had A Heart Attack at 4:00 am - A True Life Story

I was having a Heart Attack and I did not know it was a heart attack going on inside me. I thought it was a muscle pain about it. This is a True Life Story. It was just 4:00 am. I had just woken up to relieve myself. That is when I realized that there is some pain in my chest as if someone is pressing a small coin in the center of my chest, on top and center of my sternum.

I went to the toilet, relieved myself and lay back on my bed. But the pain, rather I would say a small discomfort remained. I tried to turn to the sides, turned on my stomach, sat up, stood on all four limbs, tried to walk a little inside the room and what not. But the discomfort just won’t go away, whatever I do. The coin remained pressed on top of my skin, at least, that was the sort of feeling I was having. I was sweating for about 45 minutes.

Then I got used to the discomfort, but failed to get even a wink of sleep from the time I woke up at 4:00 am. I saw the clock go slowly past 5:00 am. Then at 6:00 am my wife woke up and went about her work at home as usual. I lay there keeping the pain to myself. I did not tell my wife anything. By 6:25 am, I realized that I won’t be able to sleep and decided to get up from the bed. The coin pressing discomfort on my chest just stayed there.

I Got Used To The Heart Attack Pain - A True Life Story

I tried to divert my attention from the discomfort by fiddling with my mobile phone for about 20 minutes, my computer for about half an hour, talking to my son and daughter for a few minutes. But the discomfort just refuses to grab my attention. I was getting fed up with it. I didn’t feel like crying, cribbing, telling anyone about it or ignore it either. It was not a great pain either that I start feeling it. It just felt like a pulled tendon or muscle pain.

I thought for a while. Why should there be a muscle pull or pain. I remembered that on 28 Feb 19, I had a small fall from my scooter. I had fallen on the hard tarred road on my left knee and the hard edge of the seat of the scooter had fallen right in between the knee bones on the sides there after. I was limping for almost 45 days unable to even bend my knee more than about 30 degrees even whilst sleeping.

My Heart Attack Gave Me Warning Two Days Back - A True Life Story

The knee injury made me climb stairs with just my right leg. In those forty-five days my left thigh muscles reduced due to nonuse and the right thigh muscles had maintained its size because that was the only leg I was using. Thus, I could see my left thighs was thinner than my right thigh.

On the forty sixth day, I told my wife that I need to restart my walking. She agreed readily and we went for a short walk that evening. We might have walked about two hundred yards and I started getting a feeling of having run a short distance fast somewhere in the lower part of my throat. I mentioned this to my wife. We waited for five minutes in a nearby Church and the running type of discomfort disappeared.

We continued our walk slowly. A mild discomfort restarted and stayed till we got back after about half an hour. Once I rested at home, the discomfort was gone. Both of us disregarded the discomfort and completely forgot about it.

The next day which was the forty seventh day after my scooter accident, I went to office. My office in in the first floor. As such because of my left knee pain, I climb stairs with only my right leg very slowly, one flight at a time with many people climbing past me and asking me how my knee was almost every day even after seeing me limp. My answer too would be the same every day.

I Got A Heart Attack Warning The Previous Day - A True Life Story

As I climbed the stairs I got that running feeling once again, on reaching the first floor. I slowly walked to my office to avoid the discomfort increasing and went and sat on my chair. Around ten minutes later the discomfort went away.

I thought for a while as to what was causing the discomfort. That is when I remembered exercising my hands vigorously with a pair of two kilogram steel dumbbells on the forty fifth day which was just yesterday. So there was nothing to worry. Exercising with dumbbells did not trigger any discomfort in the throat. I forgot about the whole discomfort that morning also.

In the evening my wife said, let us go for a walk. But I said, I did not want to walk as it was already dark. Then I took my seven and a half kilogram pair of dumbbells and exercised for about half an hour watching the TV. No discomfort came doing that for more than half an hour.

I did not even remember about the previous evening discomfort in my throat during the walk or the discomfort which came after climbing to the first floor to my office. And as usual I went to sleep past 11:00 pm, as usual without any event.

The Heart Attack Finally at 4:00 AM - A True Life Story

I woke at 4:00 am to relieve myself and that is when I first felt that there is a type of pain in the center of my chest on top of the Sternum. It was 8:00 am and the discomfort had not changed a bit since I woke up at 4:00 am. I had nothing else to do except bear the pain.

I was very sure this was a muscle pain due to my vigorous exercise with the two kilogram dumbbells the two days back and the seven and a half kilogram dumbbells the previous evening. Normally, muscle pain lasts a day or two. Even though I had never experienced a muscle pain on the center of my chest till that day, I still was confident that I can bear the discomfort for two days.

I took a bath, had a small bite for breakfast, changed into my uniform and was going to start my car when my wife suddenly told me to wait. I sat in the car wondering why she wanted to come with me. She got dressed and got into the car and said that we need to go to the hospital. When I asked why, she said that I am doing everything unusually slow and looked ill. That is when I realized that she is trying to take me to the hospital.

I Drove My Car to Hospital with A Heart Attack - A True Life Story

I told her I am perfectly fine. I just have a little discomfort in the center of my chest, probably a muscle pull which will go away in a day or two. She however insisted on I seeing a doctor and refused to get off the car. I did not have much of a choice and I drove to the hospital.

Being in the Navy, I drove to our service hospital and met the duty doctor. I explained my chest discomfort and also mentioned about the discomfort in throat which I had experienced during a short walk and during the climb to my office. The duty doctor immediately told me to get my ECG done.

The ECG machine failed to give a print out. After about three attempt, the medical assistant gave up. Then the duty doctor sent me to the Medical department. The ECG machine gave a print out. I cleaned all the gel they had put on my hairy body to fix the ECG machine leads and put my uniform back on.

Armed with the ECG print out, I met the head of the medical department who is an experienced Medical Specialist. He was not a cardiologist. He looked at the ECG and told me that there is some variation in my ECG. He told me that since the hospital does not have a cardiologist, he will refer me to another Army hospital in Bangalore, India just a few hundred kilometers away. But I have to get admitted, do the other tests and procedures. I also have wait for the hospital staff to book me a flight or a train ticket in a day or two.

A Cardiologist Comes To This Non-Cardio Hospital - A True Life Story

Suddenly, the doctor remembered and told me that I am very lucky. As I looked at him, he said that a Cardiologist is supposed to come down to this hospital that morning for about ten days. He rang up that doctor’s number and smiled at me. In about ten minutes, the Cardiologist walked in. We shook hands and he looked at my ECG.

Suddenly, the Cardiologist called for a wheel chair and told me to sit on it. I asked where we are going. He said, he needs to take my Echo Cardiograph in the sonography room. I said, I came driving from home and I can walk. He said no and also firmly said that now he is in charge and I need to do as he says. No more questions. I sat on the wheel chair.

Everyone I passed by either looked at me askance and some who knew me wanted to know what happened. I myself did not know as to why I am being taken on a wheel chair for a simple muscle pain. The moment I reached near the sonography room, I got up from the wheel chair and stood there to avoid people asking me why am I on a wheel chair. I had no answer.

Embarassed About Having A Heart Attack -  A True Life Story

I stood there for over one hour talking to people before my turn came. That was a busy day for the radiologist. My Cardiologist did my Echocardiograph. He did not say anything to me. He put me back on the wheel chair and sent me to the ICU. Finally, I asked the Cardiologist, “What is wrong with me.” He said, “Sir you have a coronary artery blocked!” That sentence did not make any sense to me. I was still very sure I know it better than the Cardiologist that it is just a muscle pain due to the dumbbells I used for some seriously vigorous exercise for two days.

I was put in the ICU on a stretcher. The nurse checked my Blood Pressure and said it was 198/145. Ten minutes later the Cardiologist asked her to check my BP again and she found it to be 145/90. But when she tried to get my pulse on my wrist, she could find none. She was alarmed and called the doctor back in.

The doctor took my BP and the same machine gave a reading of 185/110. The Cardiologist sensed something serious. My heart was giving up. There was a nurse taking my blood for some immediate tests, another nurse was taking my BP continuously and the Cardiologist was busy checking my heart beat with his stethoscope.

I Was Thrombolised To Dissolve The Block - A True Life Story

A canola was put on my left hand and the nurse injected something. A few seconds later a large syringe full of some medicine was injected into my veins through the canola. The Cardiologist there after would ask me every three to five minutes if the pain has reduced. I would casually tell him, there is no pain, just a discomfort which is still there. After about thirty minutes I felt the discomfort has reduced and I told him so. He seemed to be relieved a little.

But another fifteen minutes went past and he kept on asking me about the pain. But the discomfort although a little reduced was still there confirming my view that it is a muscle pain. Then I asked the Cardiologist as to why is he asking me so frequently about the pain. He said that he had injected a medicine for Thrombolysis to happen or to dissolve the block. If the block goes away then my pain will too. Since the pain is still there, it indicates that the block in the Artery is still there.

I Am Shifted to A Civil Hospital For Stent - A True Life Story

He further said that he will try and shift me to a local civil hospital for further treatment and probably put a stent where the coronary artery is blocked. He and a junior doctor there started calling up all the local hospitals for immediate treatment for my condition. My spirits were still very high. I was not believing the doctors.

A few minutes later and after seeing the panic in which the doctors and nurses in the service hospital were, I was starting to understand the seriousness of my own condition and how foolish I was all this while to believe that I was having a muscle pain, when actually I was going through a Heart Attack. Imagine, I was having a Heart Attack since 4:00 am and it has been seven hours since that time and only now have I fully understood that I am going through a heart attack which could have killed me.

In fact, before my wife got into my car and forced me to come to the hospital, I was planning to go to my office and work, thinking that I have a muscle pain. I would not have survived that day, had I gone and sat in my office. I have to thank my wife for what she did that morning. But they had taken away my mobile phone, wrist watch, my marriage ring and everything else and gave it to my wife. They won’t let me talk to my wife as she was not allowed into the ICU except once initially when she bought me a Bermuda and a T-Shirt to change from my White Naval Uniform.

Around forty five minutes of trying Thrombolysis to dissolve my blocked artery and failed, now they were racing against time to reach me into a good local civil hospital where they have the facility to mechanically remove the artery block and put a stent there. I was still in a jovial mood, still considering that mild discomfort to be a nothing more than a muscle pain which obviously thrombolysis cannot remove.

I Was in An Ambulance to Another Hospital - A True Life Story

Before I knew, I was put onto a mobile stretcher which was pushed at superfast speed towards an Ambulance. Two medical assistants, one young doctor and my poor wife. I am all that she has in this world. Her parents passed away due to illness half a decade back. In a minute the two thin medical assistants were struggling to lift my seventy eight kilogram body along with the twenty kilogram stretcher into the ambulance. Somehow they managed with the help of the young doctor and my wife helping them out.

I have seen Ambulance speeding past almost once every two days on the road and used to give way because that is the rule of the road. But never in my life had I even dreamt that one day I will be inside one of these vehicle called Ambulance screaming down the road as if someone is going to lose life if they did not drive super-fast. Today, I was lying inside a screaming Ambulance and experiencing the reality of life myself.

Humour In The Ambulance All The Way - A True Life Story

This service ambulance was an old one. The first speed breaker the driver went over at that speed got my stretcher detached from the ambulance. Now every time the driver pressed the brake or accelerated, my stretcher would run forward or backward by around one foot and stop suddenly hitting the limit stopper bar on the ends. The next speed breaker saw my saline i.v bottle detach from the hook on top and fall down. One medical assistant tried to take the iv bottle and put it back on the hook above fell down himself. Trying to save him, the young doctor hit his head on the door of an overhead cupboard which opened.

That is when our Ambulance driver applied a harsh brake followed by a heavy acceleration in the first gear. As the ambulance lurched forward, the medical assistant holding my iv bottle fell down and both the rear doors of the Ambulance swung open. Now the other medical assistant and the young doctor were waiting for over a minutes before the ambulance driver finally applied brake and the doors to swing back into closed position.

But they could not close the door fully to put the latch. So they both were holding one door each with one hand and holding the ambulance top bar for supporting their own body from losing balance till the time we reached the civil hospital about an hour later.

As the ambulance was rolling, pitching, yawing and heaving, I casually asked the young doctor, “Bro, what if all this commotion dislodges my artery block before we reach the hospital. What will you tell the Cardiologist there if they do not find the block in my heart?” We all had a good laugh. Whatever happened inside the ambulance, neither the young doctor, nor the driver stopped the ambulance even once between the two hospitals. They understand the urgency. And that day, I too had started realizing the importance of time between life and death.

I Reach The Heart Care Hospital - A True Life Story

By 1:45 pm, the Ambulance reached the Civil Hospital. I was shifted into the Emergency casualty ward. Within one minute, I was surrounded by some eight doctors who I was told later were all those who were Masters in Cardiology or trainees.

Then a came a very normal looking gentleman who introduced himself as Doctor Rajesh. He looked me up, asked me a few questions like do I still have pain to which I replied in affirmative. Then the young naval doctor who accompanied me in the Ambulance showed Dr. Rajesh my documents and explained whatever they have done to me till that moment. The young doctor and the two medical assistants left in the Ambulance. But the commotion around me was increasing with about four female nurses and a barber joining the crowd.

Time now was 1:48 pm. The barber, without taking any formal permission from me, suddenly pulled down my half trousers and started shaving off my pubic hair. It was a very embarrassing situation. He shaved my right thigh till the knee and was about to start with my left thigh, when the nurses told the barber to get aside, she pulled my trousers up and the four nurses started pushing my four feet tall mobile stretcher very fast. I was actually enjoying the attention and ride.

I Was On Operation Table to Fix My Heart Attack - A True Life Story

In no time I was inside the Operation Theatre which had Cardiac OT written outside. The same nurse who had pulled my trousers up in the Casualty ward, now pulled my trousers and undergarment completely off. Then she removed my T-Shirt and I was there lying in my birthday suite, almost shivering with the cold air from the air-conditioning system. She told me that she will hand over my Bermuda and T-Shirt to my wife who is outside the OT. Then another nurse pulled a blanket over me. And then all of them suddenly vanished from the OT leaving me alone there, wondering what next.

A minute later, Dr. Rajesh came in with his smiling face. He told me he will be making a cut on my right thigh, inserting a wire and a tube to put a dye which will show on the computer screen where is the artery blocked in my heart. I did not have any choice, so nodded my head in agreement. The he said, he is giving me some small injection or local anesthesia. Then he placed a screen between him and me, so that I cannot see him using those knives, wires, needles etc. I was also happy, because I did not want to see myself being butchered.

Thirty seconds later he said he is going to make a cut to insert a wire. I waited. Since he had given local anesthesia, I was not going to feel any pain. But the moment he made an incision on my right thigh, I almost jumped in pain. He warned me that if I move, the knife or the wire might wound me and he will have to stop the operation. So I told him the pain was excruciating when he made the cut.

I Was Sedated On the Operation Theatre - A True Life Story

He acknowledged and called for a nurse to give me sedation. But there were just I and him in that OT and no one else. He started murmuring something and went out leaving me with a big cut oozing blood uncontrolled from my thighs. He came back in ten seconds with a trainee doctor who gave me a mask to wear which had some sedative to breath.

Before the sedative took effect, he started inserting the wire through the incision he had made 30 seconds ago and I felt the sharp pain again. This time I did not move, but screamed. The doctor stopped and calmed me down for another 30 seconds. By now the sedation was in action and I did not feel any more pain till the operation ended.

After a while the doctor told me that he has to make another cut, but this time on my left thigh. But the hair there was not removed. He again was murmuring something against the barber. He made the cut on my left thigh later, which I never felt, thanks to the sedation. But I was fully awake and seeing the computer screen. I saw a tube being inserted along the wire and the wire being pulled out. Then, the doctor started introducing some radio opaque dye, which I could see being pumped my heart in each artery where ever the doctor was taking the tube into.

I Thought I Had Muscle Pain And Not A Heart Attack  - A True Life Story

He said, that I have three blocks. But only one requires a stent to be put and the other two being at the ends will be dissolved by medicine. Then he told me there are many stents available at very low price to very expensive ones. He was using a medium priced but good quality stent in my heart where the artery is blocked. The sedative was taking effect and I was not able to say anything to him.

My Aircraft Caught Fire - A True Life Story
  

This is a True Life Story. Till the time the Cardiologist showed me on the screen that one of my Coronary Artery is Blocked and the Dye is not going beyond a certain point physically, I was strongly believing that I was having a muscle pain which was induced by the vigorous dumbbel exercise I had done the previous two days.

On the computer screen, I saw a small cucumber shaped balloon being moved by the cardiologist into the place where the block was, and then it inflated to push the plaque to the blood vessel walls. Then I saw the stent which looked more like a tubular wire net being placed in that spot. The balloon now comes inside the wire net stent and inflates again and it expands the stent wire net. Then the tube, the wire, the balloon and everything else were pulled out.

The doctor told me that he is leaving the 3 mm thick six inch tubes in my left and right thighs for the next five hours and will be only removed thereafter to prevent blood loss. That is the procedure. In less than fifteen minutes, I was out of the OT and into the Intensive Care Unit.

The Post Operation Procedure Was More Painful Than Heart Attack - A True Life Story

Five hours later in the ICU where I was told to keep my back and legs straight from the time I was brought out of the OT, three very young nurses came in. As usual they pulled my pants down and were trying to remove the two tubes left behind by the doctor. The head nurse was putting her entire body weight on her thumb trying to prevent blood from gushing out of that cut artery in my right thigh, and the pain was so much that I felt she is going to detach one or the other tendon or muscle from the bone. Once removed they put a cotton ball and very tightly secured it with a heavy duty medical tape. The pain was continuous.

I thought it was all over. But that is when the three of them started working the procedure on my left thigh. The pain I endured in the Operation Theatre momentarily was nothing compared to this pain five hours after the operation. Next morning the three nurses reappeared smiling. This time they came in to remove the cotton ball they had placed on each thigh. This was not painful. But I was scared due to the previous evening painful procedure these nurses did on me.

The next day I was out of the hospital with medicines to last one year and restrictions placed on what to eat, how much to eat, what not to eat, what exercises, how much exercise daily, no weight to be lifted, no exertions of any sort including when in the toilet and the list was endless. I never knew my life would change so much in just one day. I have only three people to thank for my being alive today. The first is my wife who insisted on going to hospital, second is the cardiologist who just was in time and the third is God who made these two do what they did.
  

A True Life Story

  

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