Monday, November 28, 2011

Real Life Fear

One of my favorite movie lines is from Diary of a Mad Black Woman. When the main character (who's just spent the night on Madea's couch after being thrown out of her mansion by her husband of eighteen years) runs into an old friend in Madea's kitchen. The friend, now a drug addict, is twitchy, pale, and gaunt. After she leaves, the main character, stunned, asks Madea, "What happened to her?"

Madea pauses and says, "Life."

Life happened to our family this month when hubby (who's only forty-two) had a heart attack.

We were stunned. He has almost no family history of heart attack, he's not super-overweight (just pleasantly chubby), and his job, though not strenuous, involves a lot of walking (so it's not like he rides a desk all day).

We were on day three of deer hunting when it happened. We hadn't seen any deer so we were planning on going wide the very next day. These last few years, deer hunting has been tough. We put on a lot of miles and end up in some very remote places. Luckily, that day we were sticking fairly close to home.

We happened to be scouting a slough only ten miles from home when two deer came up out of the valley. The promptly jumped back down into the valley when they spied our truck. Hubby decided they had probably laid up just over the ridge, so he decided to go take a look. My fun meter was already pegged out, so I decided to stay in the truck.

He went over the hill, spooked up the deer, and got a shot off at one--but missed. He climbed back up out of the valley and returned to the truck. "Take me home," he said. "My chest hurts."

I took him home and he had a sandwich. After half an hour, his chest still hurt . . . and the pain had spread down his arm and up his neck. After that, things happened fast.

First they did an EKG and blood test. Everything was normal, but they decided to keep him overnight. I expected to return the next morning and bring him home (everything was normal, right?), but when I arrived, they were doing an ultrasound on his heart.

In the middle of the night, the enzymes in his blood spiked, indicating tissue death. He'd had a heart attack (the enzymes don't show up in the blood until hours after the heart attack, most of the time).

So now they were scheduling him for an angiogram, where they inject dye and look for blockages. Halfway through the angiogram, I was informed they found a blockage. His angiogram had become an angioplasty where they feed in a wire and place a stent! Afterwards, when I went back to see hubby, he said, "Did they tell you what happened?"

I said, "Yes, they found a blockage," thinking it couldn't get any worse.

But no, it can get worse: not just a blockage, it was an 80% blockage . . . in a forty-two year old man!

So this month has been full of doctor appointments, cardiac rehab, and extra-long shopping trips (we've had to rethink and replan our whole grocery list--it's not easy eating healthy).

He's doing better now and back at work. I told him if he ever scares me like this again, I'm going to have them revive him and then kill him myself.

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