About eighteen months ago I had a heart attack. It was a surprise, as I was of the belief that I was not at any great risk even though my “numbers” were not great. I had moderate chest pain for several years, but my chest pains were thought to be due to gastric reflux. I had my head in the sand; some might say my head was in another dark place. It was a Sunday morning when it happened. We were just leaving home to go to the museum, where I do volunteer work, when I began to feel very bad. I had come home from the museum early the day before because I did not feel well; I thought it was due to the temperature being over 100 deg. But something told me, Sunday morning, that something was very wrong. A heart attack? Maybe it was the pain in my left arm, or maybe it was the chest pains that caused me to tell my wife to drive me down our street to the fire station, anyway, we went.

We pulled on the ramp and I walked into the office and announced that I was having chest pains. These must be magic words because, in an instant, I was in the office chair and swarmed with firemen. Off came my bib overalls, on went the sticky sensors, and I heard someone say: “that’s it, let’s go!”. The three miles to our Medical Center will go unremarked by me as I think I was not conscious for the ride. I was awaken as I found myself on a gurney racing by the Emergency Room and down a hall  under sign that read “GOLUM HEART CENTER”. We stopped in the hall and I took the opportunity to ask to speak to my wife before we went further. After a brief interval, a fireman leaned over me to tell me that my wife was not nearby and we were in a big hurry. He asked my permission to get going. I told him to “do your thing” and away we went. I remember lots of pushing and pulling and a young nurse explaining what was going on. Suddenly the pain stopped!  It was a remarkable experience! I think I fell asleep about then because I awoke in a bed with smiling faces peering down at me. My wife’s was among them. She had been briefed on the entire procedure and she told me that I had undergone angioplasty and I now have a stent in my formerly 100 % clogged, artery.

From the time I presented at the firehouse to the time I awoke to smiling faces was an interval of about forty-five minutes. Forty-five minutes from heart attack to a cure! Now that is something to be thank-full for. I still have my little piece of plastic, inside, next to my heart – literally and figuratively!  Thank you,thank you.

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