Wednesday, August 08, 2018

The Heart of the Matter


On Saturday, August the 4th, I had a heart attack. I was walking down the dirt road by my house when I felt sudden constriction in my chest, intense weakness, shortness of breath, and tingling numbness in my whole upper body. I started back toward the house; the pain and weakness grew. I started to sit down in the ditch but figured I wouldn’t be able to get up again so I worked my way back to the house and called 911. The paramedics arrived quickly and after they put a scanner on me a young lady said: “We need to go now!” I didn’t think that was a good sign.

With sirens blaring, they got me to St. Tammany Hospital in Covington pretty quickly, with the young woman working on me the whole time. I never lost consciousness or even felt any real confusion. Mostly I felt fairly calm since at this point I understood it was all out of my hands. Once at the hospital they told me that the frontal artery leading to my heart was 100 percent blocked. They quickly put in a stent. I was then sent to ICU.

I spent two days in ICU, being introduced to a host of new medications. These made me quite nauseated, meaning I couldn’t eat anything. Not that I felt very hungry. On Monday evening they moved me to a new room in the regular hospital, and then released me Tuesday evening, although I was sent home wearing something called “Life Vest,” which monitors me and apparently can administer treatment if I have another attack.

The doctors said there was clearly damage to the heart but they won’t know how much or how much recovery I might expect until several weeks have passed. I’m hoping for good news on that front and am trying to follow all their protocols. I’m weak and can move only slowly. Still no appetite. I’ve been able to process some emails but not much else. I’m going to try to build my strength slowly. I do plan to be back at school for my classes though there are contingency plans for me easing back into that.

Thanks goes out to all the folks from the paramedics to the housecleaners who got me through my stay at the hospital, particularly the nurses in ICU, who were very considerate and kind and helpful.

Also, of course, to Lana, who has been a rock. She was at work when it happened and was working the phones at the desk when the call came through for her. I understand it was quite a shock. She’s taking a few days off work to stay home with me while I begin to mend.

I always suspected that I would need a stent or stents eventually. My brother has had to have them. But I thought I’d get some kind of warning of trouble before the actual attack. It didn’t happen in my case so any of you out there with the risk factors, get yourself checked.

37 comments:

Paul R. McNamee said...

Yikes.

Rest and get well, Charles!

Lana Gramlich said...

Love you.

Seth Lindberg said...

Breath taking. Glad you can write about it. Stay alive!

Unknown said...

Paul, thanks, man

Lana, and you sweets

Seth, thanks man

Jeff Doten said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jessica Ferguson said...

Oh my goodness! I’m so glad you’re okay. Frightening, isn’t it, that weakness that completely overcomes you? I’m so thankful you were able to make it to a phone to call 911. No one called mine a heart attack... I had a bad valve — but I remember going completely weak and thinking... if I can just rest a moment, and draping myself across the garbage can. Woke up on the concrete parking lot. I’ll be praying for you, that you bounce back fast.

David J. West said...

Glad you’re still here. Hoping for a full recovery etc. All the bestseller

Lisa Meserve said...


I'm so sorry that this happened but so glad that you are still here to tell the tale. Be gentle with yourself, take it slow, get better, my friend.

Bernard Lee DeLeo said...

Get well as you can, my friend.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Charles! Wow, prayers for you there was no serious damage and your heart is fine.

Abita Butterbean said...

(((((((((((((((((((Charles & Lana))))))))))))))))))))))) so glad you survived Charles! So glad! For you both!!! What Lisa said. Yes. Praying you recover completely with no complications & feel better than ever with a nice open artery.

jodi said...

Wow, Charles, how scary!! It's a wonder you made it home. So happy to hear eventually you will be on your feet. Take it slowly and follow ALL doctors orders-no need to push too muh too soon. No pinchin' on Nurse Lana. Thoughts and prayers to you. Gentle Hugs.

Keith West said...

Good to know you are still with us. I'll pray for your recovery.

Liane Spicer said...

So glad you're going to be okay, Charles. Rest and heal, dear blog friend. ((()))

pattinase (abbott) said...

So sorry to hear this, Charles. But half the people I know seem to have had very successful cardiac treatment and are living full lives. I know you will too. You are tough.

Ty said...

Holy shit, dude, glad you made it through. Sorry to hear it happened, and glad Lana was your rock (not that I expected any less). Btw, though I've never had a heart attack, I've lived with major heart troubles for more than a decade now, so if you ever feel the need to talk to someone who has sorta been there, send me a PM on FB. And keep in mind, as scary as things can be, lots of people have lived for a long time after multiple heart attacks, and with today's medical tech there are tons of possibilities, literally more every day. You're still relatively young, even if you don't feel it, so you've got that going for you.

Unknown said...

Jessica, whatever they call it, it is scary

David, that bestseller might help me feel better. :)

Lisa, thank you very much

Bernard, Thanks man. I'm working on it.

Alex, that is the biggest issue now.

Butterbean, thank you. I'm working on it

Jodi, it's nurse Lana who is pinching on me.

Keith, thanks, I can use it.

Liane, thanks for the kind words.

Patti, thank you. I hope so. :)

Ty, thanks, man. I appreciate it. I've certainly met quite a few people since my attack who have also had them and lived well afterward so I'm glad to hear that.

KeVin K. said...

Sorry to hear you had a heart attack.
Glad I'm hearing about your heart attack from you.

My wife Valerie was a cardiovascular ICU nurse for many years. I shared your story with her and, for what it's worth, it sounds like you had a best case scenario for a "cardiac event." The no-warning part? Almost inevitable. The human body is capable of compensating for all kinds of problems right up to the moment it's overwhelmed. So your warning to others is right on point.

She also says that the fact you were moved out of CVICU -- and later discharged -- so quickly indicates you're in a (comparatively) strong condition. The extent to which you have to adapt will -- as the medicos told you -- depend on the damage done to your heart and how well it recovers. There are no barbecued ribs festivals or marathons in your future, but Valerie says that from what you've shared (and assuming you comply with everything the medicos tell you), prognoses for both the length and quality of life are very good.

Do what the doctors say. Err on the side of caution. Tell your Y chromosome to shut up and don't try to rush recovery. Take the time your body needs to heal.

Todd B Vick said...

Holy cow! Glad it was not terminal. Get well quick and take care of yourself!

wayne d. dundee said...

Sorry to hear the rough news, Charles, but glad you're still here to tell about it. Sounds like you have exactly the right attitude for recovery. Be positive. Put your faith in your doctors (along with a higher power, if you're so inclined) and stick with the procedures they outline. You have the support of a good woman and a lot of fans and friends. Hang in there.

Rachel V. Olivier said...

Oh, Charles! I am so glad you're okay.

Sphinx Ink said...

I’m so-o-o glad they got to you in time and that you’re doing well. Take care of yourself and follow orders (not only doctors’ but also Nurse Lana’s)! Sending good vibes to you....

Erik Donald France said...

Godspeed, Charles ~ salud ~ ~ and thank God you were taken to the hospital stat ~ ~ to your long-term recovery ~ !

N.O.A. Rawle said...

Hi Charles, hope you recover as quickly and as well as possible.

Unknown said...

Kevin, Thanks for the information. That helps. I'm sure hoping for some good healing. I have tended to heal pretty quickly and well in the past.

Todd, I was about as shocked myself.

Wayne, thank you, man. I sure appreciate the kind words.

Rachel, Thank you. Me too.

Sphinx, I'm afraid not to follow Lana's orders.

Erik, yes, the paramedics did a great job.

N.O.A, thank you. I appreciate it

Shauna Roberts said...

Hope things go well for you and that you recover quickly.

Angie said...

Wow, hang in there, Charles! Best wishes. {{{}}}

Angie

Vesper said...

This is so scary! I'm so glad you got to the hospital in time and that they took care of you so well. Now take care of yourself and get well, my friend. Best wishes!!!

Terrie Farley Moran said...

God bless. Prayers and hugs!

sage said...

I saw this on another social media outlet. I’m glad you are doing well—it is amazing how stents have changed lives for the better. Take care of yourself and your recovery! Blessings!

Tyhitia Green said...

Glad to hear you're still with us, Charles. I just happened to check your page even though I haven't blog in a long time. I thought about you and Lana when I glanced at the painting I bought from Lana years ago. Wow.

Just take it easy and heal. Lana will take care of you! ;-)

EA said...

I just caught this now. Goodness, I'm so glad you have good care. This, too, shall pass. I'm wishing you a full and speedy recovery. Elaine Ash

Greg said...

I'm glad you're on the mend now. Hope you adjust to the meds quickly and get back to a semblance of normalcy soon.

Greg

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for the kind words everyone!

Shadow said...

Oh goodness, I am so sorry to hear this, I'm happy you're healing and can tell us about it, take care of yourself, there are many more stories you need to tell.... much love

Linda Thorne said...

You are lucky to be alive. Those medics must've really moved fast, thought fast. I know a number of people with heart stints (some fairly young). The stints seem to keep any possible repeat at bay. This must've been quite scary for you.

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