Friday, May 17, 2013

It Really Was Just a Little Heart Attack

So, I guess I haven't been getting enough attention lately, what with all the signing of contracts and going to the Romantic Times convention and all. So this past Sunday, I decided to have a little heart attack.

Let me back up.

I came home from RT with bronchitis. I think everyone did. I got my Z-pack, a steroid shot, stayed home a few days from work, and started to feel better.

I'm a generally healthy person. I'm a good fifty pounds overweight, and I don't get enough exercise because I have arthritis in my feet, but otherwise, I'm healthy. I suppose there is maybe a little stress in there, but... I've got a full-time job, three kids of my own plus a couple of extras living in my basement, two dogs, a travelling husband, a budding writing career...but nothing CRAZY. I'm not diabetic, I don't have a family history of heart disease, I don't smoke, blah blah blah. Okay, there's a minor caffeine habit, but hey! I'm a writer. It's kind of a job requirement. But I don't even DRINK ALCOHOL, fer chrissakes!

So this past Sunday--yes, that would be Mother's Day--I spent a few hours at my brother's house on the other side of town. Very fun, I like my family, no drama. I left Mr. Stanley at home to talk to India about his issues with Windows 8.

On the way home, I felt this weird...lump of ick in my chest. Kind of a tightness. Kind how they describe heart attack symptoms. And my left arm hurt. So I thought, "Gee, these are classic heart attack symptoms, but I'm a woman, so it must be indigestion. I could stop here at this hospital...or this next one...or the one after that, but I'd probably better get my kids home, because since it's just indigestion, I would be getting them all stirred up over nothing."

So I came home and told Mr. Stanley about it, and maybe we should go confirm that this is, indeed, indigestion (I ate a LOT of that bagel dip at my brother's house).

So we went to the Emergency Room, and after a grueling fifteen second wait, was ushered into the triage room, where I sat for an interminable thirty seconds describing my symptoms and rolling my eyes at myself for over-reacting.

And then, suddenly, I was in a room, being bled and injected and fed nitroglycerin and covered with stickers that held electrodes, and tweeting #tweetsfromtheER, because, you know, it was kind of funny. Until Dougie Howser's little brother came in and told me I was having a heart attack, and they were just waiting for a bed in the ICU.

WAH!? HUH????  I'm only 49 years old!

I think there was some morphine added to the situation at this point, because it gets a little fuzzy for a while. The brick of undigested bagel dip got a little bigger and started trying to strangle me a little more, so there was some more nitroglycerin and some more morphine (I really liked the morphine part. Totally made the whole experience worthwhile).

So, Blah, blah, blah, Doctor visits, IV's, blood draws, Angiogram, Echocardiogram, blah blah blah, here are a bunch of prescriptions, good luck keeping all of this straight, and by the way, you have to stop taking your arthritis medicine.

Forty Eight hours in the ICU, and I'm home. No blockages, just some narrowing of one artery, some meds, and significantly less caffeine.

So I have a new crusade. Watch that video above, but don't forget the "usual" signs. And don't worry about over-reacting. I got a lot of pats on the back for coming in right away and not ignoring the bagel dip feeling.

Do you think I'll get kicked out of RWA if I can't drink real coffee anymore?


  1. Oh, my gosh! Wow. I hardly know what to say--that is so scary. Take care of yourself! *hugs*

    I DO have a history of heart disease in my family, so I'm always alert to the symptoms, but being a woman I know how easy it is to ignore them anyway. Thank goodness you got yourself to the hospital.

    Sucks about the coffee, though. :(

  2. Wow, scary stuff! I'm glad you're doing okay now. I think if I went home and told my husband I had the same symptoms as you described, I wouldn't have had time to grab my purse, he'd have DRAGGED me to the hospital (while berating me for not doing going already). I truly think his biggest fear is that I'll die before him.

    Bummer about the no coffee thing, though. But who's to say a lot of writers don't "fake" the caffeine thing? It's not like they go around testing your coffee, is it? Or did I miss something?

    By the way - loved the video. Colin Egglesfield's appearance was a nice surprise, too (he's such a hunk!!!).

  3. Ack. My mom had a a heart attack back in 2008. She just felt a little off and tired, so she went to lay down for a nap. Then she remembered my dad's heart attacks and decided to call an ambulance, just in case. She only lives a few miles from the hospital, so she was in, got stinted, and the incident was over almost before I got the panicked call from my niece telling me she'd had a heart attack.

    Heart stuff is nothing to mess with. I'm glad you got right to the hospital and didn't wait. Sorry about the loss of caffeine, though. :hugs:

  4. OMG! That's terrible. I'm glad you're doing okay.

    As for the lack of coffee... I don't drink it and I'm still allowed in ;)

  5. First, I'm am super glad you are okay because I just got to meet you in person and you can't leave yet. Too many good books to write. Second, I will crusade along with you. Holy Snikes I'm glad you're okay.

    That's definitely scary, but from what you've said above you handled it like a pro, and made good decisions. *hugs* And I live without coffee every day. Green Tea is an excellent replacement. :)

  6. That was the finest "blah-blah-blah"-ing of a major medical event I've ever read!

    Seriously, though, glad you didn't just throw some Tums at it and call it a day. Good job reacting to warning signs. Now, you stay healthy! We've got to represent the NKy as fledgling authors, you know.

  7. I am glad your husband made you go!! Ten years ago my mom complained of indigestion and went to bed early. She was apparently having a heart attack and died in her sleep at 52. Very unexpected. This is a good lesson to us all to take everything serious--better to be safe than sorry!

    Hugs and I'm glad you're okay.

  8. Man, if it had been would have gone exactly the same way. LOL I'm so glad you were wise, though, and went in to be taken care of. It *is* better to be told it's nothing, however silly it may feel.

    (Of course, the other day I had a pinpoint pulsing in my shin and a hot spot that I ignored so I might have a pulmonary embolism any minute, and I'll be scolded like crazy if I survive.)

    Anyway, very glad you're okay! Watch the green tea, though, it has caffeine, too. And writers can drink whatever they want, so don't worry about that. :)