Heart Attack at 36 (part 5)

Lying on that hospital bed, thinking what might have happened. It’s a big “What If” scenario that keeps me up at night even up to now. What if I didn’t wake up when the heart attack occurred? What if my wife didn’t hear my call? What if the paramedics came just a bit too late? What if my heart just decided to call it quits?

Throughout this ordeal in the hospital, relatives and friends came by to give support and pray for me and my wife. Their words of hope and faith of surpassing this made the stay bearable. I was itching to go home, but the hospital would not release me until at least 48 hours later and then decide whether my heart’s condition was good enough.

I passed the time reading. I read the Bible, caught up on some comic books, and browsed a few online articles. Some were about heart attacks and its fatality rates. Fun.

At the end of the day I put my earphones on and just listened. Visiting time was over and my wife has gone back to our empty home. It has been a long time since I just stopped and listened to music. I closed my eyes and let it dwell in me. I let the music simmer in my soul. I imagined as it was being written, why and whom it was written for. I left the hum and beeps of the hospital machines and ventured into the realm of heartfelt vocals, expressive strings, and the beat of the drums.

I cried that night.


Heart Attack at 36 (part 4)

17880036_10212995390708955_3913568454331016814_o.jpgOnce they had my heart stabilized they told me that they’re moving me on to the cardiac ward. But to do that, they had to transfer me again to a different wheeled bed. Every time I switch beds I have to move my body, which means moving my knee, which means more pain. I kept telling them to watch out for my knee because it hurts something fierce. When this whole fiasco started I just grimaced whenever my knee was moved. Now I didn’t care and yelled out every time it happens.

I looked at my wife who came in and we kissed. I told her I had a heart attack. She knew. She was at my bedside until the morning sun greeted us.

The doctors came in with some of the results. It was a massive heart attack. The head doctor gave me options. I took option one – the one with getting a stent or two put in to open up the clogged arteries that caused the heart attack. They were debating on whether to do it that afternoon or wait until my gout has gone down a bit because I need to be perfectly still on a table for the procedure. They came back later that morning and said let’s do it today. I wasn’t sure if it was just because of the severity of the heart attack that led them to this decision or if they knew that my gout wasn’t going away for quite some time.

On the table for stent placement the hardest part was staying still. I can see my heart and my dyed arteries on the monitor and they showed me where they’re going to place the stent. It was interesting to see a tube inside me opening a tiny metal balloon to open up the blocked artery. The whole procedure took a couple of hours.

Heart Attack at 36 (part 3)


No, I thought. “Seriously?” I asked. He nodded. They asked me all sorts of questions that I no longer recall because all I was thinking was, heart attack at 36! I’m gonna be fine. But seriously, I’m too young to get a heart attack. I’m going to the hospital and I’m conscious so that’s a good thing, right? Right? Please God, let me be okay.

We were going to the hospital when the ambulance stopped. I asked why and they said that we were going to meet up with a different crew who has had more experience with my situation. They kept checking my ECG readings and then off we raced to the hospital. Along the way they poked my arm and administered dosages of stuff that I’m guessing was keeping me alive until we got to the emergency room.

When we got to the hospital a group of doctors were in scrubs ready for me. It was weird having all those people just looking at me like I was dying or something. More needles. More tubes. More wires hooked up to machines that showed that my heart was still somewhat beating.

Heart Attack at 36 (part 2)

Fifteen minutes later I felt like something else was wrong. The immense gout pain was still there, but I also felt some sort of indigestion? It was different, something I haven’t experienced before. I quickly called my wife and asked her to come. That’s when the sweating started. Beads of sweat drenched my shirt and the leather couch I was lying on. She asked if she should call 000 – emergency services. I said yes. While she was on the phone, I was trying to figure out what was going on. Was it that evening’s Pad Thai takeaway that’s causing this? Some sort of food poisoning maybe?

Then everything darkened. It was like someone dialed the dimmer switch down. My eyes strained to focus and confusion started meddling my brain. The weird part was when my wife was asking me questions and I couldn’t understand. Her voice was like a cassette tape being played on a low battery Walkman. And I couldn’t see nor understand when she asked, “How many fingers am I holding up?”

When the paramedics came I had some water and the sweating started to subside. My blood pressure was 60 over 35. They couldn’t carry me to the stretcher because the pain in my knee was still paramount to anything else. I used my crutches to get on it, and once in the ambulance they put defibrillator pads on me. I remember asking what they were for. They calmly said that I was having a heart attack.

Heart Attack at 36 (part 1)


It’s been 5 months since that fateful night. I was lying on the couch with my left knee in a compression bandage. I had gout again. And this one was excruciatingly painful. Everytime I moved my left knee or any muscles that are attached to it, it would send pain all through out my body. I was taking Paracetamol and Ibuprofen to reduce the pain, and Colchicine and Allopurinol to get rid of the uric acid.

I’ve had gout since I was 25, and it just seemed to me a fact of life to be in pain once in a while. The past year was particularly even more painful than the years before. I was getting gout attacks every 3 days. I started going to the hospital to get new medication and was hoping to get rid of this gout ASAP.

That night I had just gotten back from the hospital ER because of the extreme pain on my knee. They gave me some more painkillers and sent me home. I was sleeping on the couch because I didn’t want to disturb my wife while I moaned and sporadically yelled out because I moved my left leg wrong. I woke up around midnight because the pain medicine’s effects have gone down and I can feel the throbbing pain on my knee. I sat myself up as much as I could and tried to reach for the pills on the coffee table. Then another shooting pain from my knee made my body tense up. Then another one – this time more painful made me cry out. This happened a couple more times before I gave up. I was tired from being in so much pain, and the fact that I haven’t slept well because of the gout the past week just absolutely drained me.