Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Path to Wellness, Part Two: The Ice Princess

Something had to change.

It took a near-disaster to make me see that. The Chief had a heart attack at age forty (three years ago). I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised. His father died of heart disease at 62, and his older brother had his first heart attack at 38.

The people who took care of him were amazing--within 40 minutes of my 911 call, they had transported him to the local hospital, determined that he should be sent elsewhere, air-lifted him to another hospital, and got him in surgery, where they placed three stents in his heart. He had two coronary arteries that were completely blocked. The doctor told him one of them was referred to as the "widowmaker" because 40% of the people who go in to the hospital with a blockage in that artery do not come out.

While this was going on, I had to find someone to take care of the kids and then figure out how to get myself to a hospital I'd never been to in the heart of downtown Minneapolis (eeeeeeep!). Thanks to my wonderful neighbor, who didn't think I ought to be driving under those circumstances, I didn't have to drive myself.

Within three days, the Chief was back home with a fistful of pills, a schedule for cardiac rehab, a new diet, and three months off work. I was terrified when they released him so quickly. He'd just had a heart attack, after all! At night I would lie awake, listening to him breathe, afraid to fall asleep in case he stopped.

Through all of this, I did not, could not, cry. I called myself the Ice Princess, because I just couldn't feel anything. I mentioned this to my psychiatrist. He said, "Well, the medications protected you! That's a good thing." Yeah. Right.

Something had to change, all right. I had to get off the damned drugs.


david santos said...

I loved this post and this blog.
Have a nice weekend.

Jazz said...

Thank you, David. You have a good weekend, too!

Gianna said...

oh, I hated it when i couldn't was awful...

now I cry almost everyday...maybe that's not good either but I like it better than the alternative anyway.

Here's to the Chief staying healthy for a good long time and your being able to cry tears of happiness!!

Jazz said...

Thank you, Gianna! He's doing well, actually, though he still needs to lose some weight. But his cholesterol numbers are now a lot better, and last summer at his cardio appointment they told him that if there was any less scarring on his heart, they wouldn't be able to see it on the echocardiogram.