Hey y’all. So, I had a heart attack and bypass surgery. Here is the full story.

Friday (3/31) and Saturday (4/1) nights I had chest pain that I thought was acid reflux. On Sunday morning, the pain returned. I checked my blood pressure. It was 170/103. I took some anxiety meds, gas x, and aspirin. An hour later it was still high.

So we went to the ER. Blood work showed troponin in my blood. “When heart muscles become damaged, troponin is sent into the bloodstream. As heart damage increases, greater amounts of troponin are released in the blood.” I was then admitted for observation and further testing.

On Monday (4/3) morning they performed an echocardiogram. There were some abnormalities. They then performed a heart catheter. I had 90% blockage in at least one artery. And blockages in several others. I was immediately transferred to UAB hospital.

Later that day I met with a surgeon. After discussing it with him, we decided to do bypass surgery. The long term success rate with this surgery at my age is better than the alternatives. Surgery was booked for Thursday, April 6.

On Tuesday (4/4) and Wednesday (4/5) I just hung out at the hospital. I could have another heart attack at any moment. Going home was not an option. Friends and family visited. I had some hard conversations with family about what to do “just in case”. Those conversations don’t phase me. And the family I spoke to were very practical about it as well.

Early Thursday morning, before dawn, I broke down a little bit. The reality that I could not wake up was hitting me. I knew it was not likely. These procedures are done every day. My doctor would probably do several that day alone. Still, it could have happened. It’s normal for me to have these emotional outbursts alone. The first time I remember it happening was with my great grandmothers death when I was 15. It’s been the same with all my other grandparents’ deaths as well. It’s just how I deal with it.

Then it was time to go. The family that was there followed us down to the waiting room. Once I was in pre-op and settled they said I could have one person come back. They let two coke back. The nurse said we seemed like solid people. I don’t remember a lot about that time. I do remember Deedra deciding to read my chart. Haha. The staff walking by was confused. Then I was off. While still rolling me in, I started to feel woozy. And then black.

I wake up very confused with some voices I know and others I don’t know. I understand their instructions but don’t know how to follow them. I need to breath. Ok. There is something in my mouth. Oh it’s the ventilator of course. They can’t remove it until I breath. There are two people I know there. My ex wife, and mother of my six children, Robin, coaching me on what to do. Good I need that right now. And Amy, my platonic life partner, speaking to me softly and encouraging me to breath. Man, I really need that approach too. If you had asked me what two people I would want in that moment, I would probably not have chosen either of them. And yet, they were the perfect combination at that time. Some (I assume) nurse said “good job” and out came the ventilator. Based on when I knew I went into the OR and how long the surgery took, I would say this is around 2pm. People say they visited with me in recovery. I believe them. Still, I really don’t recall much until 5AM on Friday morning.

Friday was confusing. It’s like my mind was still trying to figure out what happened to my body.

Between Friday and Tuesday (4/11) I had good times and bad times. I eventually got to go home. That is where I am now. My strength has slowly been recovering. The last device attached to my body came off yesterday. It will be several weeks of very limited activity. Mostly I just can’t lift things or drive. Slowly that will be allowed more and more. Then once all restrictions are removed, I can start building up my strength again.