Saturday, July 23, 2022

Life, and Death, is What Gets In the Way When You're Making Other Plans

      So, there I was last Thursday night, having just watched the eighth and latest January 6th hearing. I picked out a short but pithy title, and had even chosen a lead image to use for Friday's post. 

      The chest pains had already set in but I'd had gas pains that were far worse than that. I drank some seltzer water hoping I'd bring up a belch, get rid of some unwanted gas and everything would be all right with the world.

     But this was different and deep down I knew it. The next day, yesterday, even with the AC on, I couldn't stop sweating. The chest pains got worse. I collapsed in the bathroom because my blood pressure bottomed out. I just knew if I didn't call 911, I wouldn't get to write any more blog posts. And it's a good thing I had.

     I had a coronary occlusion, what qualifies as a massive heart attack. One of the arteries feeding my heart with blood was completely or almost completely blocked, damaging the cardiac tissue on that side. Bottom line, a few hours after that 911 call, I had a stent put in, the occlusion was removed and, against the strenuous advice of the staff of the hospital, I checked myself out less than 24 hours later.

     Was it a stupid thing to do? Well, perhaps yes, from a medical standpoint. But I listened to the staff, they read me the numbers from my vitals and I thought this calculated risk was one worth taking. Yes, I wanted my life back, with improvements. But there was another reason adding urgency to my decision to check myself out.

     You see, the local hospital doesn't have a cath lab and several other things you'd expect from hospitals. The cath lab is where they worm the stents through your artery to widen it up and remove the blockage. So they had to send me to a hospital in Worcester. The problem with that was both cath labs in that place were currently being used so they had to send me to another hospital in the city of Worcester.

     When the EMTs were working on me, I asked them if Mrs. JP could come with me and explained the situation to them. They told me in no uncertain terms that was a no-go. All throughout the stabilization process, she didn't have any idea what was happening. And when I told her I'd had a massive heart attack when I came by to discharge her, it came as a genuine surprise to her, even though both my sons were with her much of the day.

     For nearly 13 years to the day, I've been Mrs. JP's person and she's been mine. And, as skilled as I trust they are in all matters medical, I knew that even the staff at the ER to which she'd been sent because she's no longer capable of caring for herself would be a poor substitute for the only person who's been her person, the only person in the world who knows her inside and out and knows what she needs.

     So I checked myself out, took a Lyft to the hospital and got her out. I'm not expecting a pat on the back because, yeah, I personally wanted out of that hospital. Yes, I made an emotional decision to discharge myself. But part of that emotional toolbox was getting Mrs. JP out of that situation in which she was parked in a chair in the ER's hallway and wondering where everyone went.

     When you make a promise to care for someone, as I had to her in 2009, you don't forget about them or toss them to the wayside when they lose a step or two. Yeah, maybe I should've taken that extra day for myself. But that extra day would've been a day of specialized care that only I could give her that she didn't get. So, however much time I have left in this world I will devote to her.

     Because a promise is a promise.


At July 24, 2022 at 9:36 AM, Anonymous Dave Chadwick said...

I heard you had a heart attack and am very relieved to see that you’re out of the hospital. Be well, my friend. Believe it or not, we absolutely want you to stick around.

At July 24, 2022 at 5:23 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

It's going to involve some serious lifestyle changes, Dave. Like quitting smoking, getting my cholesterol level down, etc. It's a process but it will be done. Thanks for passing along your and Danny's kind thoughts.

At July 27, 2022 at 5:54 PM, Anonymous Tim Scott said...

How much did the hospital and ambulance charge?

At July 27, 2022 at 6:07 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

I don't know because I never see bills. That's because I have a very good, comprehensive health insurance plan.

At July 31, 2022 at 4:12 AM, Blogger Stan B. said...

Tad late to the party, glad you're still hanging in with a vow to take better care... I got my first ambulance ride on the 18th for something not half as serious- suspension on them things not quite what I imagined!

Good luck in your 2nd act!

At July 31, 2022 at 4:51 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Jesus, Stan, what happened to you?

At August 1, 2022 at 12:26 AM, Blogger Stan B. said...

Major freakin' embarrassment is what happened. Had a major allergic reaction to a certain kind of... Penicillin (of all things) that ended me up in the ER! You can read the (not so) sordid details on the blog (7/22)!


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