Posted by Ralph on 11/15/2022
Me and my wife
My life saver was walking right behind me

Reading the stories from you people still make me burst into tears regularly and that is okay. I'm just thankful I've found a community that understands what I'm going through and where I can tell my story and know I'll be understood. Any do's and don'ts, tips, tricks or advice and experiences are more than welcome and greatly appreciated.

My long (winded) story:
History: I'm a non overweight male from 1974, height 187cm (6'1 / 6'2) my weight is about 78 kilos (172 pounds?). My bad cholesterol was fine, my good cholesterol was low. My dad has had an ICD for 18 or 19 years and saved him quite a few times now.

On March 23, My circumflex artery (left back, that feeds the left side) was found to be irreparably closed. This attack was missed by the nightcare practitioner in the hospital over the phone in the early morning of a Saturday. I just read back the transcript and 2 times I asked her if I could come by at the hospital to be checked out for the pain in my chest, neck, shoulders, head and my dizziness. I literally said "since its going so much worse in the last 24h" and "I just can't take the pain anymore." Listen to our advice, take the painkiller, if your complaints don't get better within 24h call us back. Of course the tramadol took away much of the pain...

So after taking 2 or 3 tramadol a day on March 19 and 20 I stopped these meds. The pain was gone but I was so tired. I spent Mon and Tues at home with a tramadol hangover, so I assumed, pain was gone, so no reason to call any doctor if you follow their advice. When I woke up on Wednesday I thought I felt okay. My wife took the dog for a walk and when she came back she found me on the couch, groggy but alive. The okay feeling had gone from walking from bed to couch and drinking something. She then called our GP, immediately went there, made a cardiogram, say something was off and called ambulance.

In the hospital Wednesday 23 March: 1 of my clients (a cardiologist who I didn't even know was an angioplasty doctor) came in the operating room saying: "R, What are you doing here? The whole left backside of your heart is not working!" He tried to help me in the hospital. After consultation with 2 experienced colleagues it was decided to leave it that way, because my heart tissue was long dead so blood supply would cause more problems than good, When I was released from the hospital the told me my EF was 48 or 49. I can live with that. After that it went pretty well with medication. I complained at the hospital the way my phone call was handled. They said sorry and can we use this for training? "Sure you can, that's the reason I called in the first place"

Then about a month later I got an MRI and EF turned out to be 33 (half of what it was). We complained at the night care per email and their reaction was really unsatisfactory. "At first you seemed happy and now you're not."

The story only just began:
Oct 21 I went for a walk in the field close to our home with our doggy, hadn't been feeling well for weeks because of what they say a tricky pneumonia. I myself do not believe that I have had pneumonia despite the inflammatory value being slightly elevated and the picture showed something. From a pneumonia you normally don't go from bed to the couch and eat with your head in your hands. 2 different antibiotics treatments later.

So walking the dog 21st of Oct. Around 11:35-11:45 o'clock I fell due to cardiac arrest. Big luck 1: Apparently someone walked behind me (angel no1) who knew how and also dared to resuscitate. Normally nobody walks there around that time, could take 10-20 mins. He immediately started and call 112 (911).

Trauma helicopter could not land in that area where I was walking (still don't understand why), fortunately the police and minutes later the ambulance were able to reach us, they resuscitated me further and transported me to the hospital (with a 4x4 ambulance?) Still need to hear the whole story from them how and why.

3 days ICU (induced coma, cooled etc, they checked if I would come back (angel 2), I did and put me back under again), 2 days CCU (heart monitoring) and then to the regular cardiac ward for about a week. MRI scan during ICU or CCU showed that I had no (visible) brain damage miraculously (angel no3).

Once in the heart department, I made great strides, started remembering being alive again, partly thanks to my relatively young age. Physically I have nothing, just out of shape and lost 12% of my old weight. I got a pacemaker/ICD now and I trust this thing thx to my dad's experiences.

Fine motor skills are a bit off. Writing/typing, screwing a screw etc. Mentally of course I had a huge bang but probably no consequences in the long term they tell me. Doesn't feel like that yet, but they also told me it takes time.

I've been home since Nov 3rd and now struggling with the state of my head, being my own boss without personnel (so no income and no insurance). The no income is not an immediate problem but having the feeling "abandoning my clients/I'm fine;" weighed heavy the first days. I got over that now and I finally understand I have to get back to myself in order to be able to help them. Still it's difficult to ignore requests from people who havent read my Facebook post explaining.

Mentally: Impatient, short term memory, my empathy is basically gone, I react without thinking / how its going to sound/come across. Useless discussions about the stupidest things. Angry/sometimes even aggressive feelings (no aggressive actions to loved ones). At Burger King (I was dying for a burger released from the hospital) my wife backed up her car a tiny bit, the car behind us beeped his horn (aggressively??) and I had already loosened my belt, opened the door to give him/or her hell. That is not me. Thank god my wife stopped me from getting out. That used to be me, but as I got older I tamed those actions and kept the impulse under control. Now it feels I'm back where I started. I guess the correct word is impulse control (had to look that one up).

When there are a lot of contradicting thoughts in my head I get a sharp headache which I NEVER had in my life. For the moment I'm focusing on my bodily health (eating on time, meds, sleeping, napping, etc.) and try not to think about the rest until my rehab starts next week. Ergo, psych, physio, etc etc. They already know what help I need and I'm not letting them "release" me until I feel much better and back to where I was.

Thank you for reading this, respect for not losing interest.