View Full Version : Wake Up Call

Richard Gillespie
04-07-2005, 7:54 AM
This has probably been said before but it bears repeating, I got a wake up call this weekend. Iíve just been discharged from the Hospital after being treated for heart problems. I went in on Monday afternoon with chest pains. The bad part about that is, the pains started Saturday afternoon and I denied it to myself that they were anything and waited till Monday to go in. By Monday the pain had gotten worse and was worrying me. The last two occasions felt like Iíd been hit across the chest with a baseball bat and I was short on breath. The pain would disappear when I rested.

I had a Cardiac Catheterization on Tuesday. They found 40% blockage in one vein on one side of the heart and 30% in one on the other side. On top of that, my aorta was in spasm. I didnít require balloon therapy though, I was treated with drugs, some of which I will end up taking for the rest of my life.

I was lucky in that I got warning signs early. If I had delayed that long with the big one, it could have been terminal. Now my LOML and I have to make some life style changes, particularly in our diets. She has had high blood pressure problems for years and I haven't. Exercise, which I hate, is also involved. There are a number of prescriptions Iím going to be taking on a long term basis.

I send this to you because, at 59 years old many of you are at the same age or real close behind. I have a family history of heart disease and was still in denial. My wife is mad at me for not telling her anything was wrong until the second day. She got me into the hospital as fast as she could talk.


Jeff Sudmeier
04-07-2005, 8:57 AM
Richard, I am glad to hear that you are okay! We just had the same scare with my father. He had the Catheterization, but they didn't find any blockages.

Anyway, always a good reminder. Do what the doc says, you will be better for it.

Glenn Clabo
04-07-2005, 9:03 AM
You make a great example for the rest of us tough guys. Being married to a nurse... I listen to the horror stories of people, mostly men, who don't want to say anything...or avoid doctors at all cost. Many times...it cost them their lives.

Take care...

Ken Fitzgerald
04-07-2005, 9:11 AM
Rick....Glad to hear things went well. Like a lot of us MEN you ignore the symptoms but you know......after you're gone nobody will remember that you were "macho" but they will talk about a guy being "stupid" for dying from something that was treatable. I work in hospitals daily and yet that's the last place I want to go....especially in my time off! I don't want to go to the ER for "gas pains" but it can be hard to tell the difference believe it or not. Hope your recovery is speedy!

Dan Gill
04-07-2005, 9:39 AM
Just don't think like I did, guys. When I started having chest pains about 10 years ago (at the tender age of 37), I thought I'd just pulled a muscle. That was because it would come only with light exertion, but went away when I got warmed up. I got the pain when I jogged up a flight of stairs, but could play a whole soccer game with no trouble. Well, duh! Arteries expand when you get warmed up! I had a mild heart attack during a soccer game and they found my left anterior descending artery (the widowmaker) was about 90% blocked. The exertion starved out the tip of my heart.

I had an angioplasty and I've never looked back. Of course, my diet changed a lot and I had to be more daily with my exercise. But heredity played a big factor for me.

Don't ignore chest pains. And let me tell you - they feel very much like heartburn sometimes. Check it out!

Steven Wilson
04-07-2005, 9:45 AM
Welcome to the CAD club Richard. When I turned 40 I was on one pill per day, now at 45 I'm on 13 pills/day and have had an angiogram/angioplasty/stent procedure perfomed 2 years ago after my first heart attack. My RCA was 99% blocked but now it's much better. Anyhow, for exercise I have a YMCA that is on my way home from work and only a couple of miles from the house. Every day I go to the Y for a good 30 minute round on the treadmill while I watch the evening news. Since I can't stand running (football knees), I walk but set the treadmill to a fairly steep incline; gives me a good workout. The cardiac rehab program at the hospital taught me a lot of things and one thing that I picked up on was to try a keep a similar exerction level when I work out. I measure that by wearing a heart rate monitor when I exercise. I get my pulse up to my target level by varying the amount of activity. When I'm feeling well I work harder and when I'm under the weather (cold, sinuses, etc) I cut back a bit but maintain the same heart rate. This allows me to make it to the Y 6-7 days a week. It works for me, the trick is to find what works for you. Good luck

Lou Morrissette
04-07-2005, 10:04 AM
Thanks for sharing your event with us, Richard. Most of us are in denial because of the Macho thing. My BIL once told me after he discovered his heart problem, " It takes courage to stay healthy". Glad you're ok.


Richard Gillespie
04-08-2005, 10:13 AM
Thanks to all for your replies and good wishes. The CAD club isn't one that I would've voluntarily joined but due to lifetime dietary choices and family history, I'm there now. Now I have to make different choices. :)

Dennis Peacock
04-08-2005, 12:43 PM
Agree...don't even ignore chest discomfort. I never had chest pain, but only had slight chest discomfort. I was 37 years old.......heartattack at 37 years old. When in doubt.....Go To The Hospital And Get It Checked Out!!!!!

<b>Better safe than sorrry!!!! DAMHIKT!!!!!!</b>

Robert Cox
04-08-2005, 3:48 PM
Glad you guys are all doing well.

My father was the first licensed jockey in SC, or so says my Aunt.

This was not a large fat man.

He made 37. Rode a horse that day. Complained abut pain and feeling ill. Laid down and died.

My own son has Truncus Arteriosus.

So I am bracketed pretty good.

At 36 I had pains and I darned near ran to the ER!

Turned out to be stress, but that took a while to figure out.

I consider even that a wake up call and myself lucky.

Like Lou says, it takes courage to stay healthy.