Image Kenny Cook © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved
Surviving a Heart Attack
Kenny Cook © Copyright 2010, All Rights Reserved
At the age of 43 I had a heart attack.
Even though I had smoked since I was a teenager and because I had always been thin, ate whatever I wanted all my life, I was still shocked when the emergency room nurse said, (really loud and slow, like I was deaf and mentally challenged) “Mr. Cook, your EKG results indicate…”
I cut her off and said, “I'm having a heart attack?”
She continued, loud and slow, “Yes, and what that means…”
I cut her off again and said, “I do not want to have a heart attack!"
As I said it I realized how much it sounded like a line from a Dr. Seuss book. “I would not like to have one on a train or in the rain, or on a bus…” She explained that I was indeed having a heart attack and then a swarm of people came in the room and started trying to start IVs. The nurse kept talking; telling me what was going on, I guess, I really can't remember everything that she was saying. All I can remember is that I started to cry. Then I realized that getting upset and crying wouldn't help matters any so I thought, This won't help anything; besides, you're a grown man, now calm down.
I became quiet and just tried to look around the room and take in everything that was going on, who was doing what, who was saying, this or that. And then it hit me, I had managed to stop my audible crying, but not my tears. My tears were such that I could feel the wetness down both sides of my face, flowing into my ears (until they filled) then down my neck and onto the pillowcase.
My friend Margie was in the room with me. As everyone converged on me, she had gotten pushed away from the stretcher and was kind of backed up against the wall. At about this time, I caught a glimpse of her face. She eeked out a smile, as if to reassure me but I could tell she was scared. The ER staff was taking off my shirt, putting a gown on me and started to take off my pants. I reached into my pocket quickly and grabbed my cell phone.
Holding it in Margie's general direction, I remember saying, “Here, call my sister and my mom. No wait, have my sister call my mom.”
Margie took the cell phone and reassuringly nodded her head, as if to say, I'll take care of everything.
In what seemed like just minutes, the ER staff was preparing to take me to the Heart Cath lab. They told me that they would do Angioplasty there and hopefully clear the blockages of my Coronary Arteries that had caused my heart attack. The pain in my chest grew worse and worse. For some reason all I could think of was, “What is today's date?” That kept running through my head over and over again.
On the elevator, I must have actually mumbled it, because the person transporting me said, “It's July 15 th , why?” I didn't answer but I realized that if I died, I wanted to know what day I died on!
On the way from the elevator to the Cath Lab, the strongest pain hit. It felt like someone was ripping my heart from my chest. As they wheeled me into the Heart Cath Lab, I couldn't hold it in any longer and screamed, “THIS HURTS SO $%^&& ING BAD!”
Just then a man came up to me on the stretcher and said very calmly, “It's supposed to, it's a heart attack.”
My first thought was to punch him in the nose, but then I thought, Wait, this guys is being honest with me, I can trust him. So I asked, “I'm going to die, aren't I?”
He calmly said, “Naw, you're gonna be fine, we do this every day.” He began to tell me what was going on and what was going to happen, someone came and gave me something for the pain and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in the CCU .
My Mom was standing right there.
My recovered was a little slow. I quit smoking, changed what I ate, and got out of the rat race real estate business that I was in. Now I'm living a pretty good life, surrounded by family and friends. It turned out a lot better than it could have.