I didn’t make it to Brisbane, Fraser Island or Whitsundays. Our planned road trip didn’t happen. I didn’t even make it out of Sydney airport. Instead, I spent four days in hospital.
When we got to the airport I started to feel nauseous and because I’d drank quite a bit over new year I put it down to a hangover. I couldn’t remember the last time I was sick from a hangover but these things happen, so I didn’t think much of it.
After checking in, I vomited again and thinking that was the last of it we went to our departure gate…to find out our plane had been delayed by 2 hours. Then I had to vomit again and it all started.
I had sweat pouring off me and I was dizzy, nauseous and had some pains in my chest and after being in the toilet for about 20 minutes eventually made myself get up, find my friend and find some first aid as I knew something was up.
My friend thought I was having a panic attack due to the plane being delayed and we’d been rushing about earlier to get to the airport. I wasn’t convinced, but whilst I was sat with the first aid person I was getting worse, I was short of breath, the pains weren’t going away, I was still nauseous and even with an oxygen mask on I was struggling to breathe – so they called an ambulance.
The ambulance came and they hooked me up to an ECG and took me to hospital. Once I got there, the first couple of doctors said to me that I was showing signs of a heart attack, but “it can’t be a heart attack, you’re too young, fit, healthy etc”. They thought it was an inflammation/virus of the sack around the heart – like a flu virus - so they done more tests; ECGs, echos, ultrasounds, ultrascans…everything.
Eventually another cardiologist came in and stood there with about 8 people around him waiting to whisk me away. They were going to do a angioplasty procedure to rule out a heart attack. They took me upstairs to the cardiologist unit and slapped some resuscitation pads on me “in case you do anything silly during the procedure”.
They gave me a local anaesthetic and they cut into my groin and sent a tube up to have a look at the arteries. Whilst they were doing that they found I had a blood clot in one of the main arteries of my heart – which they cleared and put a stent in the artery to keep it open. I was awake whilst they were doing this and felt them doing it inside of me – even heard my heart monitor stop for a second too.
The blood clot had caused me to have a heart attack.
The doctors still don’t know why it happened. They’re still waiting on results of blood tests to see if I’m prone to blood clots. My blood pressure and cholesterol levels were a bit higher than normal but not remarkable so. The doctor said that nothing I’ve done in the past or have done caused this to happen. It was all in my genes and it was like this from when I was born, it’s just been waiting to happen and I was lucky it happened when it did (with people around/close to hospital etc). If that plane hadn’t have been delayed and I’d been on the plane, he said I wouldn’t have made it to Brisbane.
I’m back home now and I will make a full recovery. I’ve already been out and about for a few (very) slow walks. I’m like a pensioner at the minute and I’m wondering if I can nab one of them mobility scooters from somewhere (I’d love a go on one of them). But aside from all the tablets I need to take I’ve got to go and see a cardiologist in a month and to attend a cardiac rehabilitation program for 6 weeks (starting next week). Have just been told to take it easy for the next 4-6 weeks – and as long as I don’t exert myself I’ll be fine. I’ve got to reduce the risk of it happening again, so I’m off the booze for the foreseeable future (if not indefinitely). The doctor said I couldn’t have sex for two weeks, to which I replied “that’s ok, 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years, it’s all the same”. He didn’t find it as funny as me.
I’m just relieved it happened when my friend was here, she’s been amazing and I don’t know what I would’ve done if she hadn’t have been around. We’ve got the same sense of humour, so we’ve found the humour in everything – from me off my face on morphine in the ER, to walking around like a pensioner. When something like this happens it makes you realise how far away from family and friends you are.
Because it’s so rare for this to happen to someone of my age, the doctors have took my charts to use to teach other doctors and they’ve also put me on a research program as well.
I still haven’t got my head around it yet, but it’s all been very surreal week. I’m 33 years old, no history of health/heart problems, relatively fit and healthy and I’ve had a heart attack. It just goes to show, it could happen to anyone, at any time.
It’s time to put my feet up and get through a shitload of movies and TV. What a start to 2013.