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It Will Never Happen to Me, A Real Life Drama

It was Saturday afternoon at the local YMCA as I worked my way past the 2.0 mile mark on the treadmill. My stomach was feeling a little sour, but I pressed on for the remainder of the hour. Workout Completed: 3.37 miles (5K) - not bad for a 52-year-old guy who weighs 245. I had been working out for about 3 months by that time and lost 31 pounds. In spite of what was going on in my stomach, the burn felt great as I fantasized about the good news Mr. Scale was going to give me at my next weigh in.
 
What a way to celebrate April Fool's Day 2011!

I took a shower and headed off to meet my daughter for a birthday dinner 90 miles away. I met her at work and we went to her favorite restaurant. I skipped the solid food and ordered some soup and iced tea; I wasn't feeling very good at all. I drove home and at 6 PM, I went to bed. I awoke sick to my stomach at about 11 that evening. "It's just a 24 hour bug, some of the folks at work and at church had it, and I’ll be fine,” I thought to myself.
 
A dozen trips on the ivory bus (ours is a stick shift), a little sleep, and some ginger ale and I will be over this.

Sunday was a blur and early Monday I called in sick to work; it was 6 am. At 9, I was able to get my doctor's office on the phone to ask what they thought I should do. "Come in at 3, or go to the Emergency Room," the receptionist said.

I phoned my wife to take me to the ER. I arrived about 11 doing all the normal stuff, well except for falling off the seat in the waiting area, which was not normal. They took me right in and went over my symptoms with me. "Tired, dizzy, vomiting, and pain here, here, here and here, other than that, I feel great!" I told the nurse.

"OK," said the nurse, after she introduced two student nurses. I guess she was trying to discourage them from the field by having a half-naked, smelly, fat man take off his T-shirt. They gave me an IV, and put some Kytril in there to calm my stomach. Man, I wish I had that when I was drinking! I would have marketed it under the trade name, Long Night! Next they took my vitals and hooked me up to an EKG.

"Ladies," the RN said to the students, “I need you to leave the room.” "M'am, I would like you to have a seat here," she said to my wife, pointing to the chair at the foot of the bed. “Sir, everything is going to be alright, but you are having congestive heart failure."

My field of focus narrowed, as they shoved my mouth full of aspirin, Plavix and nitro and hooked me up to oxygen.

There was a lot of medical talk as two doctors came in to look at me. BP 62/28, oxygen 59%... my thoughts trailed off momentarily. I looked over at my wife. She was just quiet as she sat there shouldering the weight of the unknown. After all, her mother was upstairs on the 4th floor recovering from a broken hip, and her dad was at another hospital having tests. 

"The paramedics will be here in a few minutes to transport you to the Heart Trauma Center."

The sirens wailed, and the paramedic talked to me about my family as we raced across the city. My wife followed behind in the family car. I still haven't been able to ask her what she was thinking that day. They slid me on to the operating table and began the catheterization surgery. The cardiologist said, yeah we'll get you stented up and probably have to take you to Beth Israel for a bypass..."

There was the flickering of a TV monitor just above my head. I had enough drugs where I was a little in-and-out. I tried not to think about the sharp surgical instruments so close to the family jewels.

"Well that is amazing, David. You have the arteries of a 17-year-old." I opened my eyes to see my wife standing there as the cardiologist gave the prognosis.

"Well, I would like to take them [my arteries] to Kentucky Fried Chicken and get them into their twenties," I replied, “and then we can go bar-hopping. I take them everywhere I go."

I love Fentanyl!

"You have what is known as a myocarditis and one chamber of your heart is virtually paralyzed. We are going to put you in ICU for a week or so until the virus subsides"

Twenty-four hours later I sat in bed talking to the cardiologist. I was on 12 liters of oxygen per hour and hadn't been able to eat anything since the soup 3 days earlier. "David, given the fact that you have one of the largest heart muscles I have ever seen, and the fact that, except for the infection, everything else is very healthy, you are lucky to be alive." (read that, exercise saved your life) He went on to say that my ejection fraction was about 20% and normal is around 60 to 70%. I really don't remember the rest, as the words "lucky to be alive" rang in my ears.
 
Thanks in advance for your votes and comments. Friend me if you like.
 
Many thanks to fitzie63 for help with the editing. Friend her too!

187 votes + -

38 comments:

emilydmac wrote 34 months ago:
Wow! That is scary! I am glad you are okay though!
500lbs2marathon wrote 34 months ago:
Amazing story, thank god you took care of yourself before it was too late!! if thats not a wake up call, I dont know what is!
BeeElMarvin wrote 34 months ago:
I do think about this, at times, scary stuff! Thanks for the great reminder - glad you are OK.
baypathgradLyns wrote 34 months ago:
wow, that is nutso. I don't know what I would have done in your situation...my anxiety would def had set in at that point! and yet, you still had your jokes with you...so glad you decided to go to the ER, as who knows what would have happened if you stayed home. I agree with 500lbs2marathon, what a wake up call!
aliciagetshealthy wrote 34 months ago:
Glad to have you around David! I am truely blessed to know you =). You have a terrific gift of wisdom and humor and I'm so glad to share your journey. ...My heart felt sympathy for your wife - I've been in that waiting chair before, and it's a truely frightening place to be.
Teliooo wrote 34 months ago:
Glad you are better. So glad you are still her to carry on your journey x
Teliooo wrote 34 months ago:
Glad you are better. So glad you are still her to carry on your journey x
jfrog123 wrote 34 months ago:
I got goose bumps as I read this, because it made me think about the fact that this could happen to any one of us or our loved ones. I am glad you made it through your ordeal. Thank you for sharing your story.
odditblue wrote 34 months ago:
Wow. Man, that is amazing. Keep it up. You're a walking miracle. =)
lrodriguez83 wrote 34 months ago:
So glad you are ok! Thanks for sharing this story, gave me chills and makes me want to work out even harder!!!
live2dream wrote 34 months ago:
Amazing story! Glad you made it through!
harleigh67 wrote 34 months ago:
as you said exercise saved your life, and your lifestyle change probably helped clean up your 17 yr olds arteries too, my mother in law had no clue she was having heart problems either, she ate well looked healthy but ate bayer asprin like pez candy and they said she was a sugar diabetic and didnt now it and the asprin kept her from having a heart attack sooner,she was 39! So when the virus cleared up did your paralysed part of your heart function again?
223730 wrote 34 months ago:
glad to hear you are okay!!
dsjohndrow wrote 34 months ago:
Yes, my heart is supposedly back to normal. I still get tired more easily than I used too, but I ma getting better all the time.
sk2775 wrote 34 months ago:
Wow...thanks so much for sharing your story. A similar thing happened to my dad (4 years ago), and I still remember the ambulance ride over to the hospital (as thought it happened yesterday). My dad is doing well now, but you never forget that day. I am so glad that you are doing amazingly well. As similar to my dad, this event was a wakeup call. Keep that healthy heart pumping away :-)
chyloet wrote 34 months ago:
Welp, that motivated ME to get my butt to the gym this morning!
Prior to my exercise and healthy diet regime I was having difficulty breathing, heart palpitations, chest pain, esophagael reflux and a number of other terrible symptoms (see lethargy and lack of self esteem) ... I have not experienced ANY of those symptoms since (a little chest pressure on my "blow it" days - which helps me stay on track).
Absolutely a testament to what being healthy can do for everyone! :)
Sorry that you had to go through that but so glad that you're doing better.
STARSHINE1975 wrote 34 months ago:
You're an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story.
fitzie63 wrote 34 months ago:
Keep on with your writing. You should be doing it professionally. :)
vdlomas wrote 34 months ago:
Amazing! Thanks for sharing...
JediMaster_intraining wrote 34 months ago:
glad you made it out ok! scary stuff but it makes me want to live each day more happy and healthy than the day before. i'm going to tell my boyfriend about this and tell him he needs to get his butt into gear!
scapez wrote 34 months ago:
Wow...just wow. Amazing story, and glad you made it through that traumatic experience.
PeytonLT wrote 34 months ago:
You indeed are a very lucky man. My best friend just passed away in February due to a massive heart attack. He was sick with a stomach bug his nephews had given him and it just made his heart too weak. He was only 32. His weight alone weakened his heart along with his weight related diabetes and high blood pressure. And this is why I am on my way to becoming healthy. I love and miss him every day, but I do not want to join him any time soon. Thank you for your story, it's time for me to go do some cardio now :)
Hoppymom wrote 34 months ago:
Wow! TIme to buy a lottery ticket! Glad you beat the odds!
sunanmoon75 wrote 34 months ago:
amazing story! thank you for sharing. I am so happty you are still here.
KettyLan wrote 34 months ago:
This is an inspirational story for anyone who does not believe in exercise. You mentioned that exercise was a factor that helped you through out this emergency. So exercise does work! Glad to hear that this was a scary moment in your life and that you are doing fine! Keep up the good work and don't stop exercising!!!
progressisbeautiful wrote 34 months ago:
An infection? Wow. Illness has a totally new perspective once you have actually been putting in effort to right your wrongs. Thanks for the motivation!
jean1058 wrote 34 months ago:
WE are lucky you are alive too. Without you we would not have humor, insight and inspiration. Thank you for taking care of yourself and blogging. You have no idea how much you help others.
LosingIt2WIN wrote 34 months ago:
So glad you went to the ER!!! Keep exercising and keep checking in with us.
ednunez wrote 34 months ago:
Congrats on beating the cards. Thanks for the story, it reminds me of what I went through 5 years ago when I was 38 years old. It will change your life but for the good. Please continue to commit yourself to be healthy, its the only way for us. God bless!
thurberj wrote 34 months ago:
What would we all do without you and your blogs, your lust for life, and your enthusiasm!! I think we are all learning how important it is to take care of our bodies!! I hope that you never experience anything like that again!!
Redladystl wrote 34 months ago:
WOW!
clippershore wrote 34 months ago:
I work at a hospital with an awesome team of heart surgeons and cardiologists. I see them do amazing things every time I come into work. I'm glad to hear of someone who took it serious enough to actually change their lifestyle to keep healthy and kicking. Most of the patients that we help at our hospital turn around and go back to the bad habits that got them there in the first place and we see them over and over again.
I'm happy to see that you are not only taking your health more seriously but helping others to do the same with your testimony.
kateland wrote 33 months ago:
So....what did you weigh after that?? I bet that scale gave you some awesome news after a week of liquids! LMAO I'm kidding, I hope you aren't offended. I am so glad you're okay, nicely written too. So it wasn't a heart attack or anything else, it was just a virus in your heart? How wonderful you have a sense of humor about it. :) Keep strong.
k80fox wrote 33 months ago:
Thank you for sharing your story. Makes me think of my husband and how I wish he would take better care of his self, especially since heart disease runs in his family. I wish you good health!
dsjohndrow wrote 33 months ago:
@Kate I didn't lose much even after being in the hospital.
47by47 wrote 31 months ago:
Tears flowing.........glad you're ok.
XXXMinnieXXX wrote 23 months ago:
crazy story. shows how important exercise is! nothing like getting really sick to put everything into perspective! x
felicity866 wrote 23 months ago:
wow...exercise literally saved your life...that takes it to a whole new level...

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