Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Oh My Heart

Apparently I'm a little loopy here.
This is after the procedure to place the stent.
There is my artery, almost entirely closed off.
Here is the stent in place.  Blood flowing freely.

The Story:  Last week, I wasn't feeling too good.  I thought I was just coming down with the flu or something.  I ached, and had a headache.  It took me a few days to put it all together.  At first I thought I had just used my muscles, and they were sore, after helping Roger shovel the heavy snow.  A few days later, I realized that it was only when I was exerting myself, that my upper back, upper arms, and chest were hurting so bad. Just 2 weeks prior, I had been able to do 2.5 miles on my treadmill as usual, with no problems what so ever, and now I could only do about a mile, and my upper back and arms were just killing me.  Strange.   I began to think it might be heart related. I also noticed it when I would walk to the bank and post office (from my work).  Monday morning I didn't think I was going to be able to make it back to the courthouse, and after I got back it took me about 5 or so minutes, to recover.   Monday afternoon I went to the doctor in Morgan, and my BP was 178/118.  Along with all of my other symptoms that I had related, she said I should head to the ER.  While down there they did EKG's, drew blood, and and I was laying there (not exerting), I had another "attack".  Soon after, I was headed upstairs to be admitted.  Rachel Roskelley was my nurse !  Happy thing in the midst of the unfortunate turn of events.  Dr. Tariq Harb was my doctor, and performed an angiogram (which turned into an angioplasty) where they thread a small catheter up through my femoral artery, to my heart, and  there is dye involved, and xrays, and they found the blockage, and placed a small stent.  I was happy to hear later from Mindy, who used to work for him, that she considers him the best.  

An angiogram is a test that uses x-rays to look for narrowing or blockages in coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart. An angioplasty is a procedure that widens the blocked artery.

This video shows what goes on in the Cath Lab.  It is almost exactly what I experienced. Gaylene Kimbal works in the lab at McKay Dee everyday.  She wasn't on call the night I went it. My Angioplasty was performed about midnight on 1/30/17.  They had to call in the Cath Lab techs.  There were 4 of them, along with Dr. Harb. Clint Petty, from Morgan was one of the techs.

Here is picture of a balloon inside the stent (inside the plaque filled artery) .  It is blown up, the stent widens (how does it stay widened?  I don't know for sure), then the balloon is deflated and withdrawn, and the stent stays in place, holding the artery opened for good blood flow.  
I need to go back in a couple of weeks, and have a stress test performed. Apparently there are a couple of other arteries that show some narrowing. I may need to have stents put in these arteries also. I have high cholesterol, and this is hereditary. I'll be on Lipator, for this, and other heart medications for the rest of my life now........isn't that just great? I am grateful that there are medical procedures in place to help me.  Thankfully there has been no heart damage from this, as sometimes happens when you have a "heart attack", and blood supply is completely cut off, and the heart if damaged.  I'm lucky in that respect.  Also, as another note, my dad had his first (only) stent inserted when he was about 60.  I guess I have him beat by 4 years.......  I think my brother and sister better get checked out as a precaution.  I've been eating great and exercising for the past 2 1/2 years, and this happens?  I guess when it's heriditary you need to be pro-active with the Lipitor (or other type of high cholesterol meds).

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