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After being pronounced “fit” I thought, “Cool!”

I began to exercise more though not enough to keep my GP happy and thought this ugly phase of my life was over.On

On August 12th I was relaxing in the cell phone lot at SeaTac airport for Jean’s flight to arrive from California where she and her sister had been visiting their aunt and doing some sight seeing. Not long before she called me to let me know to come pick her up at the arrivals area both my wrists started to ache. What the hell? It was just like my heart attack two months earlier but much milder.

Jean called and I drove to the arrivals area. As I pulled away from the traffic clog at the curb with her in the passenger seat I told her, “I think I may be having another heart attack.”

She jumped like she’d been stuck in the ass with a pin and told me to stop. I pulled over, we changed places, and she drove me to Tacoma General. Now I’ve been scolded by multiple sources for us driving to the hospital rather than calling 911. Looking back on it, those scolds are probably correct. But at the time, my reasoning seemed the thing to do. First off, we were in King County not Pierce. I didn’t know if a King County aid unit would take me to Tacoma General where they had all my history. Secondly, the nearest ¬†hospital was Highline General, a place to which I wouldn’t take my dog. At any rate, we drove to the TG ER.

Walking in there confirmed in my mind that I had no recollection of arriving there in June. The folks there took my information, put me in an ER triage room, hooked up an EKG and decided I probably was having another attack. They moved me to another room where I was monitored while they were arranging a room into which to admit me.

Long story made short – the next morning I had a cardiac cath procedure in which the cardiologist determined that one of my bypass grafts had clogged up pretty tightly. Oh great, one of three grafts failed, in effect. Does my insurance get a one-third rebate on the almost quarter million dollars they paid for that event?

We asked him how does this happen? “Oh, it happens.”

What do we do now? “We’ll adjust your medications. I think it’ll be OK.”

Now I don’t want to give the impression that my cardiologist is a rube. On the contrary, he is excellent. I’m merely paraphrasing his responses here to keep things simple.

Oh, and by the way there is another coronary artery that is 70% blocked in which we should put a stint if it qualifies.

I spent, I think, either two or three nights in the hospital during which they doubled up one of my meds, twice, from 3.5 to 12.5 something or other, mgs I guess. The first night there I was having some pretty good chest pain but then it tailed off.

Bottom line was that the cardiologist told us that the area being served by the clogged graft was getting enough blood flow from other sources with the increased dose of that med but he wanted to investigate that one other clog and insert a medicated stint if it “qualified”. He suggested a time frame a few weeks out for that procedure.

Now we had planned, prior to this second coronary incident, a trip to Leavenworth WA in the motorhome with Jean’s sister & B-I-L and, damn it, I wanted to take that trip.

So I asked, “How about if we do it sooner, like this week.”

He thought for a moment then told us, “Let me check. I may have a cancellation.”

We succeeded in getting it scheduled much sooner, soon enough that if they didn’t kill me in the procedure, we could do the trip to Leavenworth.

That procedure was a another couple of night stay back at TG. The procedure was a breeze, they had me loopy enough that I was aware of what was happening but didn’t give a damn and had little conception of the passing time.

Again, when they released me I had to call Jean, wake her up, and ask her to come get me. I was waiting for her outside in the sunshine when she arrived.

After my three stays in TG for all this crap, one thing is true. I have very, very little sense of modesty anymore. That is rapidly stripped from you in the hospital.


The second heart attack left me wondering, waiting. Is there gonna’ be a third? So far, so good. I went thru three months of cardiac rehab – three one hour sessions per week of exercise hooked up to EKG telemetry. I also recently had a treadmill stress test with the cardiologist which I passed. So maybe I’m OK.

It leaves me wanting to do things while I’m here to do them.