How do you cope with a storm? Do you run for cover or stand in the rain? Not much of a choice; that's what I figured as I went forward in my journey.
How do you define life? Seems like everybody is ill with something, maybe only 3% is healthy, but what is healthy nowadays? I thought my life was put together. Life weaving its way thread by thread drawing this picture I was supposed to be sympathetic to. A drawing of the past which will lead into my future, how the lines determine my next moves in the game we call life. A new year, no more answers, and more problems. Why? I keep asking myself. I say knowledge is power, but if you don't have the answers, how are you going to determine the outcome? Blank spaces where answer should lie. More and more pieces begin to come into play, what is this puzzle I have to figure out and how am I going to do it?
How do you pull answers out of the air? How do you tell yourself that is not in your head, you still believe in yourself? but I have no answers, so I keep living. They say life passes you by, well that's so true. Life keeps going whether you want it or not. I keep thinking to myself that there has to be answers to all these questions. What is Crohn's/UC doing to me and why is it not playing fair? You think you have all the answers but you never do.
Fast forward to the summer of 2009. Life was still dishing out headaches for me to solve. Summer is a time for camping and being outdoors. Thought this was the summer I was going to quit smoking. As the day started to get shorter my mind was still on being free of cigarettes. What was the answer to this problem; how do I managed to wrap my head around this one? I have been fighting this fight for too long. As winter made its appearance I started to think long and hard. My mind kept coming back to me that I have to quit. The voice kept getting louder as I got to the date I finally said enough is enough. It was January 2nd 2010, the day I was a non-smoker. Took me a long time but I finally made it. Free from a little smoke that would damage my life. Wow, I gain the strength and understanding. Why I shouldn't smoke and keep drilling it into my head so much so it appeared in my dreams. Another new start, healthy, and still fighting the unknown.
As months proceeded in 2010, I started to maintain my weight and look forward to life starting to go my way. But wait, another wrinkle in the path we call life that I have to plow through. This one is a big one. I was watching my aunt; she couldn't be alone without someone there. My cousin left her house in the morning to take her daughter to practice. It was like every other morning, I got up and made my way from Delia to Drumheller to watch my aunt. As I made my aunt breakfast, she finished, and as always went for a nap in her favorite chair. I had just finished eating as well, cleaned up and went outside to smoke a joint. Cannabis has being my friend since 1982. When I stopped it for around eight years, I was sick and had two surgeries. Back on it and oil as well. The combination of the two had saved my life.
I got back into the house only to feel like my food was not digesting. Heavy feeling, nausea, fatigue, and having the feeling I wanted to throw up. I went from the TV room to the bathroom 4 times, the last time I crawled back and forth. Not sure what was happening, I called my cousin and told her I have to go to the hospital, I think I'm having a heart attack (where did those words come from?), I had no idea I was having a heart attack, but my brain said it for me. Hung up with my cousin and called an ambulance; do you know why I was doing this? It's like someone has taken my body over as I did these actions. Funny thing, my cousin has lived at her place for like 20 years. Do you think I remember the address? Thank goodness I remembered the phone number.
I didn't feel like I was having a heart attack; the slow motion lasted, I'd say, before the actual massive heart attack, about an hour. I was fine after I puked, but was wheeled out to the waiting ambulance. Still feeling fine, we made it to the Drumheller Hospital, where my cousin met me there. In the meantime she called my mother and my mother thought it was her sister, but was shocked to see me. As they asked me a bunch of questions, my mother proceeded to tell me "we have to call your sister", of course I was the only one with the cell phone. My mother said she didn't know how to use it, so I took it out of her hands and dialed it, then said "Can I have my heart attack now?" LOL.
Next thing I know, the pain in my chest was getting sore and hard to breathe. I told the doctor I needed something for the pain; as the pain progressed it was like something heavy was sitting on my chest, then I faded to black. I never believed that saying till now.
I woke up in recovery room (ICU) and felt like going home. The nurse said do you realize that you had a massive heart attack? Took a few minutes to sink in. "You're staying here till we can get you a bed at the Foothills hospital, 10th floor." Another stay in the hospital. I hate hospitals. It was Friday June 2010, I was transported to the hospital in Calgary. I was hooked up to monitors and could only walk around my bed. Thank goodness for the window view. And three to four steps to washroom, while a toilet, sink, and a curtain that gave you privacy somewhat. As the people next to me came and went. I proceeded to ask why I can't go, three people have come and gone. They say that they are on their second to fourth heart attack and since this was my first, I didn't qualify to go till everyone else is done, that is 2+ heart attacks. What a feeling, the same feeling I felt not too long ago here in the same Hospital. WTF?
Frustrated after 4 days of waiting, I finally raise my voice and told them if I don't go into surgery before tomorrow I will have the news media here. I don't know if it was that, or just my turn next, but two hours later they came and got me for surgery. Well I'll tell you about being real nervous. First surgery that I would be awake through, all of it cause they can't revive you when you're passed out. I was introduced to the surgeon; I told him I needed something to relax me or my anxiety would go through the roof. The time had finally come, I wish that they had classic rock music to calm me down. All my life music has been my friend, my Savior. So, guess what, next thing I heard was AC/DC Highway to Hell and knew right away I was going to be fine.
As they hook me up to the IV pole, my right hand from the heart attack, they somehow made my veins clasp. I had the size of a baseball on the outside of my right hand. So, during surgery my left hand had the blood pressure cup, which meant they had to go through my hip up to my heart. I could feel him scraping the valve, back and forth. Next came the stent that was placed in my left artery. Wow! What a surgery! I applaud everyone in the room. Great job on music and the surgery.
The next morning the doctor came in to inform me everything went fine and they we would be moving me down today to the 8th floor. Oh my God, my next nightmare. As I got settled into my room, not more than an hour later the doctor came in with his monitor to check my heart overnight. I asked if I could go home tomorrow and said "we will see, you just had surgery." I thought to myself, if I walked around enough to get enough data he would let me go home tomorrow. I made it through the night with hardly any sleep but wanting to go home. The doctor came in the morning, checked my charts and my monitor, and said everything looks fine. I told him I would like to go home where I can rest and recover. I said look at my socks which I only put on two hours prior. They were black. Kill them with common sense and they can't dispute it. Reluctantly he said yes, but, I was to stop half way home and walk around. Jumping with joy I called for my ride. Here in less than 2 hours, I was fatigued but still wanted my bed. As we made our way home I stopped like I promised, I know what he meant now by stopping.
Home at last June 30th 2010, just remembered July 1st was tomorrow and I have to stay at home. First year ever I don't celebrate, but I did celebrate I was still living, well on this side of the dirt that is lol. My experience with a massive heart attack is so different and yet just as challenging as Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. Our footprints that lead us down this passage, link how health and life can kick the s*** out of us, literally! How doubts, misgivings, complaints can lead you to nowhere, merely because it is the easy road to take! Live life to the fullest! Positive instead of negative! As time passes, 2010's gone, not much till 2015 to 2017. Have my ups and downs but must push on. Life is beautiful when you embrace it.
Crohn's/UC Warrior since 1988