Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Thing That Wouldn't Die.

Last Monday I went and saw a cardiologist, because I had what is called 'calcium score' done. It determines the amount of calcium (ie: blockage) currently in your heart. Normal is 100 or less. Anything over 300 is bad, anything over 400 means you're headed for a heart attack. Mine was 422.

After a couple of EKG's (to be sure of results) and a sonogram of my heart, my Cardiologist told me I had had at least one minor heart attack already, probably two. (I was busy living and didn't notice). I was scheduled for an angiogram on the 25th of this month. That procedure is done with a catheter inserted into your heart via artery from your wrist or thigh. Dye is shot in and x-rayed to show any blockage.

I'd been experiencing mild but regular chest tightness, and was anxious to have this done. However...last Thursday, I experienced light headedness, confusion, a spreading ache down my left arm and up into my neck. It became hard to draw a breath and I thought I would faint. I knew I was going to lose consciousness sooner than later.

Luckily, my friend and business associate, Jenny Bender, was here and insisted I call 911, walked me down the stairs and stayed to make sure I was awake until the EMTs arrived. I now have no doubt that this saved my life. (Thanks Jenny!)

The EMT's worked on me during the ride, keeping my vacillating blood pressure stabilized, and continued to do so as I was checked into the ER, where the ER staff took over. It took a couple of hours, but they got my heartbeat and pressure under control, and I was admitted overnight.

The angiogram was performed the next morning (by my own cardiologist who has rounds there, lucky for me), and it was determined that, besides that damage done to my heart by previous heart attacks (I wish they'd left a note), one of the four arteries in my heart was 90% blocked. They applied angioplasty and a stent on the spot. (Angioplasty is the insertion and filling of a balloon to open closed arterial passages. A stent is a tiny cage inserted to keep it open.)

This was all done through a catheter inserted into the artery in my right wrist, requiring only a band-aid for recovery. I was kept over night again, and released Saturday afternoon, feeling much better than I have in a year. My prognosis is that I could easily live another decade or more ( I am now 60), if I take the proper medications and stay away from drugs and alcohol, something I've done pretty much for the last ten years. The staying away, that is.

The only blockage has been dealt with, although the issue of low action to my left ventricle, due largely to being a wild ass druggie and booze hound for 30 years, (Bolivia owes me a statue, I think. You, too, Kentucky bourbon country.) may or may not correct itself in time. In either case, I am on these medications anyway, so I'm taking it day by day, doing my diligence, and hoping for the best.

In short, I'm back, stronger and mentally sharper than I have been for a year, infused with a new desire to wring every moment out of life, and, having spent a night, alone, contemplating that it may be my last, find myself unafraid of what comes next. I am convinced this epic journey we experience does not end.

When the time comes, I intend to ride that final flush of DMT into my dying brain right on through to the other side. In the meantime, there is no longer any fear of death in me. Only a desire to get a few certain things done, and continue to monitor this amazing thing we call life, the science behind it, and those who would attempt to control it in the rest of us.

For the time being, I am still here, still creating, still watching.
The moral of this story is simple:

You are who you are and nobody can take that from you unless you allow it.
Be free, experience love and life whenever possible.
Nurture compassion and acceptance in yourself and others.
Contribute to your community, in terms of personal effort, your own creative vision, and the monitoring of those who steal these things from all of us.

Be unafraid, my friends.
We Will All Die.

It's how you choose to live that really matters.
Do it now.

1 comment:

mighty termitey said...

i'm so sorry to hear about this. prayers and love to you my dear friend.