The Birth Of A Book – Gotta Stop Dying

Brian HaydenAs you can see, there are three entries in just two days. Two in one day! I was clearly trying to cope with my situation. With all the chaos flowing through my mind and my imagination, you might expect that I was confused. I was, and writing down my thoughts was the way I chose to try and get a grip on my new reality.

One of the issues that confronted me was the constant bombardment of new problems. Everytime I begin to get my life figured out – SLAP – from out of nowhere, a new issue arises and I am lost once again. If you read carefully, you can feel the sense of frustration I am beginning to acquire. A frustration that will continue to build  until I hit that moment where I accept an important fact in life. The fact that I am dying. Though still a long way off, that moment will finally brings peace.

In the first post, it mentions an English town. It was the town of Overton, and I must say that it was beautiful, and its citizens friendly. My visit back to Texas was supposed to be temporary, and I was scheduled to return to England. I never did return. Health issues blossomed so quickly, the Air Force decided to keep me in San Antonio.

The second post talks about getting a defibrillator. Nowadays, it slides under the skin beneath your shoulder. Back then, they cracked my chest open for the first time. It would not be the last.

Todays final post reveals the 2nd time in two years that the doctors would be cracking my chest open to fix something. You would think  that cracking a chest open two times is more than enough for anyone and you would be right. Just not for me.

Let the healing begin – or not

April 6, 2010 by brha99 

The next few months are kinda fuzzy. Lets check the time line. My heart attack was on Sep 27th. I spent 2 weeks at the British hospital and another 2 weeks at the Air Force hospital. Once I left the hospital, my good friends Dick and Kathy took me in for a while. I continued to heal. Taking walks in the quaint English hamlet. It was so peaceful. So renewing. Just what I needed. I stayed with Dick and Kathy for a while. I am not sure how long. I do know, however that around the middle of November I was back in South Texas with my family. Not for good, but on leave to continue the healing process. I got through Thanksgiving ok, but a couple of weeks later the chest pain returned. I found myself back in an emergency room. It was all very traumatic because this time my wonderful wife was by my side. For the first time I got the sense of how harrowing this all was to her. But the drama was just getting started. They admitted me that day. I was a patient on the 3rd floor of Wilford Hall Medical Center. This is the flag-ship of the Air Force medical facilities. The third floor housed all the cardiology wards. At first I was in the CCU. This is kind of like an intensive care unit for heart patients. Then they moved me to a monitoring unit. It is here that the story gets difficult. While on a monitor, I walked to the restroom. Very ordinary. Nothing special, except once again, I died.

Dying is getting to be a real drag

April 7, 2010 by brha99 

You see, when parts of the body is damaged, scar tissue forms. Well the heart is no different. I had a major heart attack and scarring formed in my septum (the wall between the left and right side), the crown (the top), and the left ventricle. Scar tissue is interrupting the normal flow of electrical impulses that keep my heart beating. In addition, my left ventricle is shot. The result is a 256 beat per minute ventricular tachycardia, (aka V-Tac). That killed me. Once again, with luck on my side I was being monitored and the staff rushed to save my life. What ensued was a 2 month ordeal. A drug trial blended with heart caths (every week). The goal was to find a drug that would supress the V-tac. One week went by. Into the cath lab I went. They succeeded in provoking the v-tak and they had to shock me back. (death again) Same goes with week 2, week 3 and so on until all options were gone. Finally, my doctor suggested a new devise. It was an internal defibrillator. It’s routine now, but in February 1990, it was quite new, and installing it, quite dangerous. The process the was to attach 2 fly swatter looking patches to the sides of my heart. Then, the generator is placed in your abdomen, with wires going through your diaphragm and connecting to the patches around your heart. So, after more than 2 months in the hospital, and dying at least 5 more times, I was released with a defibrillator in my body.

Life goes on….or does it?

April 7, 2010 by brha99 

For several months, all seemed to be settling in. I went to work, saw the doctor every now and then and all was well. I was, however having chest pain. A pain reminiscent of the crash I had in England. The doctors gave me nitro pills to help control it. Guess what?? Didn’t work. They tried other types of medicines but guess what? They didn’t work either. They do, however cause severe headaches, nausea and other fun things. Then it happened. Chest pain so intense I needed to call an ambulance. I was at work. After hours in the emergency room, and many tests later the doctors decided I had unstable angina. Doctors all agreed that the condition should be treated with medicines. So, headaches and the like became my “normal”. You can just about get used to it except for one added problem. That defibrillator. Remember, they put one of those in me. I thought of it every minute of every day.Will it go off? Every time I skipped a heart beat I stiffened up in preparation for a shock. Consequently I was this ball of nerves with a headache and recurrent chest pain. Add to that, a half dozen ambulance trips and another half dozen emergency room visits that my wife drove me to. That is how I spent my days. That is how I spent the next 2 years. Finally, almost exactly 2 years from the date they cracked my chest open to install the defibrillator, the doctors told us they would need to open my chest once again. This time for coronary artery bypass graft (cabg – pronounced cabbage)


 book cover

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