Friday, June 06, 2014

It's All In The Timing

Yesterday morning, DH woke up earlier than usual and said "I don't feel well. Pain in my upper back and down one arm, and tightness in the chest." This is a guy who doesn't ever get sick, so we hit the road immediately to the closest hospital, about 8 miles north. At the speed I drove, we were there in just a few minutes. The Twin Cities emergency room staff confirmed in minutes, with an EKG and a blood test, that he was indeed having a heart attack.

Since like strokes, the survival rates for heart attack patients decline the longer it takes to get treatment, with the upper limit being 2 to 2.5 hours. The Twin Cities staff quickly loaded him into an ambulance (all lights and sirens roaring) to the French Hospital in San Luis Obispo (about 30 minutes south by highway) where there's a highly rated cardiac care unit. So within 2 hours from the onset of symptoms, he'd been evaluated, transported to the experts, had an angioplasty, had two stents placed in one artery, and was ensconsed in the Intensive Care Unit wired for sound and lights. He told me that as the stents were placed, he immediately felt the reduction of pain and discomfort, and the resumption of normal bloodflow. Soon after lunch, he felt well enough to ask me to please go home and get his iPad and laptop. That told me that he was going to be okay. (If you know him, you understand.)

Studies have shown that most U.S. hospitals can't meet the requirements for optimal survival of these cardiac events. The ones that do meet the requirements are really wonderfully skilled both in staff and technology. So, please, if a loved one of yours has ANY symptoms that even sort-of, kind-of, resemble heart attack or stroke, if you want to save their lives, act quicly. Minutes count. Even if you don't have a nearby cardiac care unit, yell, scream, do whatever it takes to get local hospital staff to respond to your emergency. You'll be glad you did. I'm supremely grateful I didn't have to yell and scream, everyone involved knew what to do and to do it quickly,

Mind you, DH still has another artery that should be attended to, but it can safely wait until he's recovered from this. As I write, he expects to be home tomorrow.


Laura Fry said...

Wise words. Don't ignore such symptoms.


Connie Rose said...

Whew, I'm so glad he's okay. What an ordeal. Be well, both of you.

Meg said...

Good catch. Good for him to tell you something is wrong. Phew, home in a few days - that's amazing.

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Louisa said...

So glad you caught the situation quickly and could get him to help right away! Some men are not good at admitting to feeling unwell. Best wishes for a fast recovery!

Alettesiriane said...

So glad You Took the signals ! Good thoughts to you both.