It turns out that Aberdeen’s road network is very efficient at 02:00 on a Sunday morning (shame about the rest of the time!). We arrived at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary in next to no time.
Daughter No. 1 was at a sleepover. Fortunately, Daughter No. 2 had slept through the excitement. The in-laws were en-route, thank goodness! Louise was to follow later so Daughter No. 2 could sleep through.
It was clear that the initial tests performed at the house indicated that I was having a heart attack… when we arrived at the hospital the Catheterisation Laboratory (Cath Lab) was already fully prepped and buzzing. I was wheeled in, transferred onto the bed and the team went to work…
There were approx. 8 people in the room… electrodes were applied to my chest together with defibrillator pads (in case of more emergencies!) and my right wrist was prepared for the procedure. (I’m sure there was a lot of other stuff going on too!).
I was awake throughout… a small incision was made in my wrist to gain access to an artery into which guide wires, balloons and stents were eventually inserted. Having had a look around, the cardiologist identified a severe restriction in my Left Anterior Descending (LAD) artery – it wasn’t completely blocked, but was getting there. The balloons were inflated to expand the artery and two stents were inserted to keep it open. While they were there, they checked out my other arteries too… no cause for concern.
The whole thing was quite surreal. It’s obviously not something you can prepare for. I just had to try to relax. I was in the hands of professionals, they knew what they were doing, and I had to let them work. The fact that it was my heart they were working on was almost incidental.
I had the occasional sense of something happening inside me, but I’m not sure how much of that was in my head… it certainly didn’t hurt. The only real sign of action from where I was lying was the camera moving around my chest, a robot whizzing around to look at my heart from different angles.
Within about 40 minutes it was all done. Fixed (at least as much as I could be).
I had had a heart attack and an invasive cardiac procedure (“we don’t call it surgery”). Things were going to be different.
Transferred back to a standard bed, I was taken to the recovery room ready to be moved to the Cardiac Care Unit (CCU). I rolled past Louise and John (Thanks John!) who had recently arrived having successfully navigated the abandoned shell that is ARI at 3 am on a Sunday…
“I told you I was having a heart attack!”
Not the best brag ever. I was right, but nothing to be proud of. What do you say to your loved ones when you’ve just been saved from a heart attack? Hopefully you’ll never need to answer that one!