Life 2.0 – beginning again

The second half of the first day, and the beginning of his new life :

After he arrived at the second hospital around 1:30 and was taken by the paramedics directly to the operating room, the family and I  had a brief moment with him in the hallway as he was wheeled past us. Once in the operating room, an angioplasty was performed to clear 100% blockage of his front artery and 4 stents were installed. A balloon was inserted through his femoral artery to help his weak heart to keep pumping. He was strapped down to the bed, intubated and was sedated until around 6:30pm.

Just before he arrived at the hospital, the cardiologist met with me and told me what procedures they were going to do. I was also advised to prepare for other possibilities since he had technically died and they weren’t sure if there had been damage to his organs or heart. I was warned that he could come out of the surgery with liver damage or even brain damage. Twenty minutes of CPR was a long time to have your oxygen flow interrupted.

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Where it began

Our story starts on January 10, 2017.  It was a normal Tuesday morning, my husband left for work as usual  but around 10am he started to feel “odd”. He was sweating profusely and his wrist hurt. He had always heard about pain in the arm being a warning sign for a heart attack – but for him, it was his wrist.  He went into the restroom but the strange feeling worsened so he walked past everyone straight out the door and drove himself to the hospital which was about 15 minutes away. His father had had a heart attack 2 years prior, but delayed going to the hospital – by the time he finally sought medical help, too much damage was done and unfortunately he did  not survive. J wanted a much better outcome and took the symptoms very seriously.

He arrived at the Emergency department and was prepared with all the appropriate paperwork. He told the admitting nurse he was having chest pains but she told him to take a seat in the waiting room (we’ve since been told he should have said he had ‘difficulty breathing”). He wasn’t in the waiting room chair for more than a minute when he apparently collapsed in full cardiac arrest. An emergency team was on him immediately starting with CPR and defibrillating multiple times, working fiercely for  20+ minutes to save his life – his heart stopping multiple times –  it took about 2 hours of emergency measures to stabilize him enough for transport We’ve since learned from the head of the Emergency Department that there were basically out of options, a final measure was to try  sodium bicarbonate to stop the lactic acidosis and helped with the stabilization. Months later, he said to us “it was a long shot, last-ditch effort – it wasn’t supposed to work”. We’re thankful they tried it anyway and that it worked.

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