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My heart attack.

posted Dec 11, 2018, 10:30 AM by Upali Salpadoru

       My heart Problem.

         It was a Saturday, and a student were to come for help in Physics.  It was with pleasure that I undertook this activity; yet I was feeling bad that day.  I did not know actually what was wrong, A wee bit dizzy, weak and some pressure on the sides of my head.  I kept my wife aware of it.   “ Let’s cancel the tuition”, she suggested.   “No need I’ll be OK in a minute. It’s not so bad. Am only a bit uncomfortable. I should lie down for a while.” I said.  On second thought I said, “Nevermind, cancel it. I feel I must rest.” She also had informed a niece who quickly appeared and persuaded me to visit emergency services.

          After thirty minutes of waiting time, a nurse performed some preliminary medical tests and sent me to a doctor. The doctor, after listening to my symptoms and history, ordered an ECG and a blood test.  Examining the electrocardiograph she said. “You have had a heart attack. We  are sending you to the Wellington Hospital.”  The nurses gave me a hospital gown to wear and inserted an IV cannula in my arm. In a jiffy I was lying flat inside a speeding  ambulance with a friendly paramedic and my niece . My wife followed us in the car with my son.

           Without much delay a doctor examined me, checked the pressure and ordered another blood test and an ECG. Due to the presence of a particular cardiac enzyme in the blood they confirmed the earlier diagnosis,  myocardial infarction, as correct. The matron gave me strict orders not to leave the bed. I slept soundly except when a nurse irritated me from time to time performing the routine tests. As the next day was Sunday, I had to suffer bed rest under business class hospitality.

       My nephew had given me a book to read. It was a true story written by a Sri Lankan lady about her ailing husband. He had entered a hospital in Chennai for a coronary angiogram. While performing the test the doctor has said, “Oh My God !”  ..”Why?”  “The catheter has snapped. A piece of it is floating inside an artery. If it blocks a vital organ…”  I don’t prey but I wondered.

           Monday dawned with an offer of a breakfast platter with bacon and eggs, which I politely refused. After the formal medical examination of me by the ward doctor  a young girl came and sat at the edge of my bed. I assumed her to be a student nurse but on careful scrutiny I saw the badge. Dr. so and so, Assistant Cardiologist.  She said, “It looks like a heart attack, we are going to get an echo cardiograph.  Depending on the results of that, my boss will decide whether you need an angiogram”.

         After a while, the senior Cardiologist examined me and said “ It’s not serious you will be all right. We have decided to perform an echo test. Depending on that we may go for an angiogram.”. By this time they had restricted my meals, when I said hungry they brought some toast and jam. As I was waiting to be taken to do the test, a technician came to my bed side pushing the machine. He took several photographs to be read by a specialist. In SL this is generally performed by the specialist, himself.

       After they had decided to perform the angiogram a few of the staff became quite active. One male nurse inserted another IV cannula on my other arm.  He  took a blood sample and asked me whether I have any objection in receiving blood. Another girl came and put a white sheet under me and started shaving my arms and around the groin. Two or three parties explained what they were going to do in detail.

       A male helper wheeled my bed to the theatre. The people there gave me no confidence. There were sophisticated monstrous machines covered with, discoloured cellophane.  After a few minutes a smart young man appeared and got into his surgical attire. “We are going to insert a dye into your system and photograph your heart.” The surgeon was partly hidden by a metal sheet. He was avoiding some rays, which I was getting in full blast. I got a tickling feeling on my wrist. The camera was moving above my chest. An assistant was holding my leg. I tried to raise my head and see what they were up to. Then the doctor shouted “U…. pali, keep your head down”. After irritating my wrist for some time he said, “Three of your are badly blocked” “What are you going to do?” I asked. “We are unable to put stents; its too narrow. We are going to drill using a diamond drill”   Which is better I wondered, “A block or a hole in the heart”.

        After a tense and anxious ninety minutes, I was wheeled back to the ward. Nurses were at beck and call. Wires plugged to various parts of my body were connected to a Wi-fi  device. Nurses could obtain my biometric data, without disturbing me. But how could anyone sleep with all those wires and a transmitter attached ?

        Next day the surgeon and the cardiologist showed me the X’ ray photographs and explained how two constrictions of my arteries have been corrected. The cardiologist discussed my impending flight to Sri Lanka. He said that the airlines request at least two weeks rest after an ailment as mine. He also advised me to refrain from driving , climbing and lifting heavy objects strictly for two weeks.  In the evening I profusely thanked the hospital staff and returned home armed with discharge reports and a lot of tablets.

             My friends said “You become ten years younger with stents”. I was feeling fine. I knew that my circulation has improved. So I step by step started my exercises and routine jobs at home. As the electric blanket in our bed was displaced, I began to change the bedding. Layer by layer; duvet, valence, sheets, etc. I  removed  with an effort. With a  greater effort, I  replaced the new covers. I became dead tired. I have never, ever felt like that. I lay sprawled on the bed for a few seconds panting. I had been asked not to do this. So I got up pretending as if nothing had happened, took a few steps. That’s all I knew. When I gained consciousness my wife was screaming with a phone in her hand. 

           Ignoring my reluctance again they took me to Kenepuru. Fortunately for me the doctor on duty was our member Kamala. As she was our friend I expected her to send me back home; instead she said “You can’t go home. I have checked your ECG but we are unable to confirm without a blood test. As we don’t do blood tests here I’ll send you to Wellington hospital in an ambulance.”

           The lesson I learned here was that, as of yet, no surgical operation can reverse the ageing process.