Tag Archives: heart attack

The Day

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*Today is the third anniversary of my husband’s death.

It started off normal enough, however, I did not foresee the tragedy that was heading my way… 

I decided to turn in early because I had planned to surprise my husband by going to look for a new car with him the following morning.  He was barely speaking to me because I disagreed that he needed one.

I was asleep by the time he got off of work, but he made sure to come to our bedroom and ask if Jazmine was awake. He was especially fond of my niece and spent most of his hours at home with her undertow. I replied she was not and dozed back off.

Less than an hour later, he came back in the bedroom and turned on the light. In obvious distress, he told me he did not feel well.  Still drowsy, I halfheartedly asked what was wrong.  He responded that he was having chest pains.  About a year earlier, he asked me to stop making spicy foods because his “heartburn” was getting worse. Therefore I attributed his discomfort to that and asked him if he tried taking an antacid.  He said he had but he would try taking some more.  When I heard him fumbling around in the medicine cabinet, I grew alarmed.

He came back into the bedroom and I noticed he was sweating profusely and breathing heavily.  I asked him if he was having pain in his left arm as well.  He said he was and I thought came to me that he might be having a heart attack. However, it still didn’t register as being a real possibility considering he was only 30 years old. 

I decided to call for an ambulance and while I was on the phone with the operator, he was stretching.  She instructed me to have him to sit down but he said he could not because he was so uncomfortable.  I got off the phone and proceeded to help him to the livingroom to wait for the paramedics to arrive.

Midway there he stumbled and I caught him as best I could.  We finally made it to the sofa and not a second later, he jumped up abruptly and started stumbling about.  He was headed toward the door because he could not breathe and wanted to go outside for air.  He collapsed in the doorway as the ambulance pulled up front.

Ethan heard the noise as well as my panicked voice and came into the livingroom.  I told him to go lay back down because I did not want him to see his father in such a condition. He did.

The paramedics were able to get him conscious by sticking something down his throat that made him vomit.  This was followed by a series of questions that he was able to answer although his speech was slurred and weak. 

During this time they tried to keep me out of the livingroom, but I refused. I was informed by the head paramedic that my husband was “very, very, very, very, very, very, very sick” and that something was definitely going on in the heart region and they needed to take him in right away.  In Indiana, those who are not be transported are not allowed to ride in the ambulance, so I told the paramedic that I would be right behind them. 

His last words to me were “make sure you come” as he squeezed my hand.  I replied “of course!”

Nic was spending the night with a friend and Evan was still in residential treatment. I am ashamed to say that I left Jazmin and Ethan alone at home as I quickly threw something on over my pajamas and sped to the hospital.

I was not allowed in the room, but I walked past several times and say a hoard of medical professionals working on him. I sat in the waiting room for a few hours placing calls to friends and family. Two nurses came and introduced themselves and checked on me periodically.

After a while, the doctor, flanked by a nurse came out to talk to me.  He introduced himself and asked me what happened. I started giving him a recap and as I was talking, there was something about the way that he was listening so intently that made me stop and ask him “Is my husband still alive?” When he replied no, I immediately started screaming and fell to the floor. I never expected to hear that. My mother had died exactly nine months prior for goodness sakes!

The two angels disguised as nurses came to my side praying and holding me. Shortly people started to arrive, his two close childhood friends, a cousin, my bil and his wife, my aunts (all three with spouses), my sister, and cousins. My mil and other sil were in Detroit but I had already called them with the news.

We tried to get a hold of his sister that lived in town to no avail( I was later blamed by her that she did not get to make it to his bedside).  I even held his body for hours in hopes that she would make it to the hospital. I finally got back home around 6am and passed out from sheer exhaustion, disbelief, and distress.

And it was only the beginning of a tumultuous journey and I would need all my energy and sense of equilibrium to help me get through the terror of it all…

Deja Vu

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Tuesday morning, right in front of my classroom, a student went into cardiac arrest.  My room is in a pretty isolated part of the building.  Luckily I was in the hall when he fell.  I ran to get the nurse.  The nurse and school police officer performed CPR on him until the paramedics arrived.  I am trained in CPR and was next in line if either of them tired.

It was a very intense, scary scene for well over 30 minutes.  He had to be shocked twice as well as receive other life-saving procedures.  It was deja vu in a sense.  I could not stop crying as I watched the paramedics work so hard to save his 19-year-old life.  The school police officer was also equally shook up having lost his own 17-year-old son a few months prior.

He was finally rescuitated and transported to the hospital.  Wednesday he had open heart surgery to repair faulty valves.  If necessary, they may install a pacemaker.

I wondered why I had to bear witness to this trauma.  It brought back so many painful memories.  This was also the day I ran into my SIL’s husband.  And of course, before I went to sleep that night, I saw a commerical on television and the man’s name was the same as my husband’s.

Yesterday on the way home for school Nicholas was telling me that their principal asked them to pray for one of the 8th grader’s brother who had a heart attack at school.  I didn’t go into details but I told him that I was aware of what happened because it happened right in front of me.  He seemed very surprised–and actually I was, too. What a small world we live in.

Neither one of us mentioned my husband, but I’m sure he was thinking about him as I was.

But it also made me appreciate first responders even more.  They are so efficient, composed, and determined to save lives.  I saw this firsthand with my husband as well as with the young man.  I really have a lot of respect and admiration for what they do.  They are as important, if not more so, than doctors.

Our principal announced that this story will be covered by the news.  However, I don’t want to be in the limelight and will make sure I am unavailable when they do come. 

Some say that there is a message in everything, but I have no idea of what it could be in this case.

The Widow Maker

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Today I took my kids on a field trip to see Bodies…the Exhibition.  They really enjoyed it and were quite intrigued by the wonderous complexity of the human body. My students (of course) were eager to see the sex organs!   

I, on the otherhand, was very interested in viewing the heart gallery.  But looking at the display of  arteries strongly reminded me of my husband, so much in fact that I could not bear to look at the one aptly called the widow maker.  I hate that terminology! 

Today, it has been two months.

Missing in Action

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I have been missing in action from the site for a few weeks.  So much has been going on.

My job had me on special assignment away from my building for the last two and a half weeks.  As you know, Kierra also had surgery a couple of weeks ago.  Then the following Friday my 72-year-old grandmother had surgery. 

 

My grandmother’s doctor sent her to progressive care after surgery.  I talked to her on the phone Saturday afternoon.  By the time I got to the hospital Saturday evening, she was non-responsive.  I called for the nurse to come and check on her. The nurse said that my grandmother needed some rest.  I was not buying that explanation.  My grandmother is the type to say if she needed some rest and be blunt about it.

 

My cousin was there with me and called her mom.  So my two aunts came out to the hospital.  The nurse came back in and fed my aunts the same story.  They requested the doctor to call them as soon as possible.  The nurse noted it on the chart and we all left.

 

Sunday morning I got a call from my aunt.  She told me that my grandmother had a heart attack Saturday after we left.  The doctor moved her into intensive care and she was put on a respirator.  Things did not look good.  My aunt assured me that she would be alright and if there was any change she would call me.  Shortly thereafter my cousin called to tell me that everyone was on edge.  There were many arguments going on between my family members.  So I decided not to go to the hospital.

 

On Monday I went to visit her after work.  My cousin was there along with my uncle in the waiting area.  When I walked into her room, she was sitting up in bed.  I told her that I had been out there on Saturday.  She didn’t even remember that I had been there.  We talked for a little while and I was relieved that she was feeling better.

 

Tuesday my husband went to visit her while I stayed home with Ian and Imani.  He reported that she is doing well.  She was eating and cracking jokes.  It seems as though she is back to normal!