Last year my two wonderful children gave me an amazing birthday present! Two tickets to any sporting event for the following year. After much deliberation, I decided to go to the opening NFL game between the LA Chargers and the KC Chiefs this past Sunday at the Stub Hub Center in Carson, California. It was a great game and the good guys won. However….
With two minutes left before halftime, a sudden rush of pain and pressure hit me in the midsternal area radiating to my back. I could NOT take a deep breath without experiencing alot of pain and pressure. It felt like something very heavy was sitting on my chest. I have experienced similar events in the past which turned out to be heartburn and regurgitation but nothing quite like this. It usually has passed before after a few minutes and some serious belching and burping. But not this time. I was hoping that if I went to the restroom, the symptoms would go away. When I got up from my seat, I felt alot of weakness in my legs and was very lightheaded. Somehow, I managed to get to the bathroom and back to my seat. The symptoms subsided a little bit so I sat in my seat and watched the entire second half.
When the game was over, I tried to get up and start the journey back to my car but this never happened. I was extremely dizzy and very weak in my legs. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by 10 paramedics and emergency personnel. I was evaluated in the emergency area of the stadium, hooked up to an IV and on a heart monitor. I was in supraventricular tachycardia, heart rate at 200(normal 60-100), blood pressure down to 100/60 and troponin levels(cardiac enzymes) elevated. I was having a heart attack and rushed to Harbor and UCLA trauma center in Torrance by ambulance. I spent the next 6 hours there being evaluated. My kids when they heard rushed to the hospital teary eyed and full of love for their father.
This hospital wanted me to stay overnight and have a cardiac catherization the following day. I felt very uncomfortable with this idea since I did not know any of the medical personnel. I requested transfer to Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley where my cardiologist of 30 years practices. I was transfered there by ambulance and arrived in my room at 12:30am Monday morning.
The following morning at 8am I met one of Dr. Greenfield’s partners who was on call and does the coronary angiograms for this group. He told me that I indeed had experienced a heart attack and would need a cardiac catherization to fully evaluate this and why I went into supraventricular tachycardia the previous day. Unfortunately, the Catherization schedule was full on Monday so the earliest time for me would be 9:30 Tuesday morning. Thus started for me a full day of panic and despair! I wasnt happy to have the catherization knowing that there are some risk factors but I was more nervous knowing that they may find something very serious!! I started flashing back to all my possible risk factors: my age, a 30 year history of smoking which stopped in 1989,some medical issues, a strong family history of cardiac disease…. I started to experience suicidal ideation, maybe homicidal too, but I was definitely depressed.
I would have been soooo happy to have had an angioplasty, maybe one stent, be placed on medications and go home. But I was having serious thoughts of open heart surgery, being cut open, having 3 or 4 vessel involvement!! Yikes I was in miserable shape. Then I thought about our very own Brian Reiss who had open heart surgery a few months ago and was back at the Club the following week!!! I got some comfort from this but not much…
Finally Tuesday arrived and I was set for 12:30. But there were delays and I didnt go forward with this until 2pm. I was told that the procedure would take 90 minutes. I almost had another heart attack when after 20 minutes I was told it was OVER and all of my coronary arteries were clean. There was NO blockage, no obstruction, no nothing. I could not believe this knowing all of my risk factors, how long I had them and knowing that I have been a binge eater my entire life. I have an appointment with my cardiologist at 3:45 today to discuss all this but I was discharged last night and feel normal as I type this wonderful Blog.
I have NEVER felt such love as I have experienced these past 3 days. I have received alot of texts and phone calls from family, friends and most of my Scrabble buddies. I have been overwhelmed by all this and couldnt possibly thank each of you individually so I have chosen this forum to do so. I do want to pay my love and affection to a few of you. I was only in Orange Coast Memorial for 2 whole days but Paul Trachtenberg came to see me THREE times; Lorry Higgins once. Alan Stern called several times to voice his concern. I will never forget this!! Karen Sturm texted me from New York. Richard Stein who left us in June to move to Seattle to work for Microsoft wrote a very nice text and promises to see us in December.
I was especially taken aback as to how my children reacted. I know they love me but this much?? They were with me every step of the way and gave me alot of love and kisses. I am an emotional kind of guy but very seldom do I cry. I let out alot of tears these past two days!!
Well thats enough of this!! Now onto Scrabble news. We had another good turnout yesterday with 20 and 13. Im very happy about the evening turnout. During the day I received a text from new member Liz Graef. She told me she was trying to get to the Club but had to turn back because of traffic at 2:45. She was a little bit confused about our times. When I told her we meet at 1 and 6, she was very surprised. Much to my delight, she made another attempt from her home in Dana Point and came to the evening session at 6. She even won one of her games. She will be a regular member of this club and a great addition. She even told me she plans to bring her sister at a future event.
Because of the events of yesterday. Lorry canceled her pizza party and rescheduled it for October 23 so circle that day. It will happen between the afternoon and evening sessions. And DONT forget our club championship for the next two Tuesday afternoons. Donna Dwaileebe has dropped out; Amnon Meyers will take her place. He will be in Div A so I will make some adjustments to keep each divison at 8 players. I will send out another blog announcement in next few days with the final sets of players.
See you all next Tuesday for the beginning of our Club championship.