Archive for the ‘heart attack’ tag
Go Red for Women
Tomorrow February 1 is designated “Go Red for Women”. Heart disease is the number one killer of women. One in every three deaths of women in 2013 will be caused by heart disease. It is said that this is approximately one woman every minute.
Those of you who know me well are aware that on November 17, 2008 I suffered a massive heart attack. Within the next week, I also suffered three strokes caused by complications from the heart attack. I thank God that my husband over my protests called EMS immediately so that I received the care I needed quickly and efficiently. At first, the first time responders thought I had the worst case of flu they had seen so far, it became apparent to them when they took the EKG in the ambulance that I needed to get to MetroHealth ASAP.
I suffered the heart attack and the strokes in the hospital, and therefore, received the care I needed immediately. Even though this was the case, I lost 21 days of my life due to the severity of my condition. My family and friends were told that there was little if any chance for survival. Almost sixty days later, I walked out of MetroHealth on my own two feet. There had been some doubt as to whether I would ever have the use of my legs or my left hand again.
Today, I am grateful to say that I am still getting stronger every day. Because of my own heart journey and for those who have lost their struggle with heart disease I am asking my friends and loved ones to PLEASE WEAR RED on February 1.
Please help raise the awareness of the severity of heart disease in women. Make sure the women you love get regular checkups and know the warning signs of a heart attack. Please understand that women often do not get the classic heart attack symptoms. For instance, the classic “it feels like an elephant on my chest” may be a nagging back ache that just won’t go away. Many women experience EXTREME fatigue for as much as two weeks before a heart attack or flulike symptoms that instead of getting better get worse.
Last Monday Monica Robins and her sidekick Patrick spent two hours at the electronic cottage with Tim and me. Earlier in the day, she had interviewed Dr. Dan Friedman at MetroHealth about the health crisis that I personally suffered.
As you know, two hours will shrink to a very condensed version of the events. I do hope that the important place my family and friends hold in the story remains as well as the incredible caring of the MetroHealth Team-doctors, nurses, therapists, LPNS, and all other staff. If it doesn’t survive the cutting room floor, please know that Tim and I thank God for all of you each and every day.
While Monica was here, I mentioned that Kim Wendel had been to our house on October 30th to interview us prior to the November 3rd general election in 2008. My recollection of that time is fuzzy to say the least. I do remember that Tim kept asking me why I wasn’t blogging more. Now, we know that I was barely functioning for the two weeks before my heart attack. What is it they always say about hindsight being 20-20?
I am glad to say that much has changed in the last year. I am getting more energy and feeling pretty good on almost every day. I now have more GOOD days than bad days. Tim told Father Ralph today that I still spend too much tme in the past comparing myself to who I was and not to who I am in the present. I did mention though that I am very good at telling others how they should live in the present and not grouse about what isn’t any more.
So, if the eyes stay open try to catch the 11 pm news. My aunt used to say “Please consider me a chip in your woodpile of memories”. Please know that I consider you all much more than chips!.
Many of you know that last November began a a very long and scary adventure for my family, friends, and me. Some of you don’t know the details but know I haven’t been around much any more. Today, I got clearance for Cardio Rehab and I believe that it is safe to say that I am out of the woods and on a long trek back. It is time to begin the story.
Today I will begin the story of the last six months. I have decided to share my experiences at MetroHealth with my wider net of community because, if nothing else, you may see that anything is possible. Let me say this, I have no answers only the experience itself to illustrate what is possible. My aunts continue to say “it is a miracle”. My doctors don’t say they are wrong. Me, I don’t remember the first 23 days. Tim tells me it is just as well. As I learn bits and pieces I can only say I believe him.
On the seventeenth day of November I traveled to MetroHealth courtesy of Cleveland EMS. Within minutes, I was there. Tim says he never saw so much activity, so much determination and focus in one place. It appears that day I suffered a heart attack. Shortly after, I suffered three strokes. Somewhere in there are a stent that became clogged calling for three more, two cardiac arrests, and after a talk with my cardiologist about just how dire my situation was, a DNR was put in place. My friends and family were greatly impressed that my doctor included them in the status report after asking Tim if he wanted to do it or could he? Roger later heard this same doctor tell a group of interns “this woman is the sickest patient in this 700 bed hospital”.
After they took a CAT scan, the doctors told Tim and the girls that chances were good that I would never go home again. There was a great probability that when I left the hospital I would enter a skilled nursing home where I would eventually succumb to pneumonia. Tim said he wasn’t ready to seal my fate on a few fuzzy pictures of my head. My doctors agreed.
And this is where my family, my friends, you, and many I have not met or know enter the tale. Tim had already called people. The girls, Geri and Teagan were there. Many of you had already been to see me, to hold my hand, to remind me of all our good times, to thank the nurses and doctors for me because I could not. Tim asked for help. He asked for your prayers, your energy, whatever you had to give. Whatever you did, however you did it, I am here to say it worked. On December 10, the woman no one expected to live left CCU and moved to the Seventh Floor to begin Stroke Rehab.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Next: The Beginning of the Long Road Back