Oops Honey, It’s Happening Again!

It was in 2004, just two years since they arrived in Canada. She was only forty-two back then and she didn’t have this condition before, you know…like a blood pressure of 204/130. Hypertension. She still remembers where they used to work, they had a yearly general physical check up. Well, back then her medical results were perfect, such that she doesn’t even have high blood pressure, or anything. And then, that cold winter morning in 2004, it happened for the first time. She felt cramps. Not in her tummy but in the middle of her chest. It will come then it will go away. Early on, she remembered that Friday afternoon, the chest-cramp-feeling was of short intervals making her feel very tired right after each cramp. During that weekend, it got even worse that after each “cramp feeling” in the middle of her chest, she felt very weak and would put herself to sleep after each cramp because of extreme pain and tiredness. Every time she woke up she was very thankful to God, because it just meant she’s still alive! Finally, that cold Monday morning she told her husband what was happening to her. So, he brought her immediately to the hospital. At the emergency room, they took her vitals and did some tests. Well, the results must have been very bad because they took her in immediately.

The medical staff immediately connected her to those wires; gave her an IV, then a doctor approached her and said, “You had a mild heart attack. We need to do an angiogram on you so we may know what’s happening to your heart. He added, If we see blockages while we’re in, we’ll do an angioplasty on you.” She was just listening; those words were totally new to her. She was scared it might hurt. That’s her main concern back then that she was sixteen years younger. Thank God, the procedure went well. The after-procedure tests and all those medications were accepted by her 110-pounds body. Yes, she was from the very beginning in the “slim” end of the scale. But, still, this happened to her.

One may say that this is her second lease on life. She said “it’s not”. Because really, it’s her third. Her mom told her that she was born very sickly and very tiny that she would fit into her six and a half shoe box. Not only that, she also had a big lump on her neck that gave her difficulty breathing when she was a baby. Despite of her health condition when she was a baby, thank God, she lived.

Anyway, after her first episode of angioplasty, many years past by. Twelve years, to be exact. You can just imagine that a lot of things had already happened. Her son who was only nineteen years old then is now thirty-one and married. Her youngest who was only thirteen years old then is now twenty-five, married, with a child. Yes, her very first dear grand child. Well, her eldest, she’s still single but it doesn’t matter because she grew up to be a fine and independent young woman.

Well, life was generally good. There were some heart-breaking things that happened last year and this year as well. But, thank God, she coped. Then that dreaded cold early November day of last year came. She remembered it was the very first day of the Day Light Saving Time. At first, she was in denial that “it” is happening again. She remembered hearing that it will happen again. But, she ignored it. She said to herself, “I will take care of my self better this time so it won’t happen anymore.”. But still, it happened once again.

Like the first one in 2004, the initial pains were tolerable. This time, the pain was like a fist clenching inside the middle of her chest. A week earlier, she noticed herself having too much rosy cheeks and red ears. Well, she thought it was something good because she didn’t need to put on make-up. As the days go by that weekend, the pain got longer and more intense. The pain is no longer in her chest area only. She felt the pain radiating to her jaws. It felt like she was also having a toothache every time the pain comes. That Sunday morning the pain was too much for her to bear. She felt too tired and too weak. So, she sat on the left side of their bed, which was actually her husband’s side of the bed. Then she told him, “go ahead to church, I will just go with the kids a little bit later”. The husband asked, “why, what’s happening, how are you feeling?”. She remembered not answering anymore, and from a sitting position she lied down. Closed her eyes….eyebrows close together because of the unbearable pain. The next thing she knew, she was hearing her husband talking to the 911 operator on the phone. He was telling the 911 operator of what’s happening, until her husband told her that the paramedics are arriving in five minutes, that she had to dress up. She remembered she was only wearing her under garment at that moment, but she was too tired to move. And so, her husband needed to dress her up. The paramedics came, they were asking some questions like if she took her medication this morning. She recalled she was too weak and too tired to open her mouth and respond. But she tried to. She was conscious though her eyes were closed all the time. Then they gave her this medication that they sprayed under her tongue. She was also given a few of those tiny round aspirin pills. She felt like she cannot chew or swallow the aspirins anymore, but one of the paramedics said, “You are having a heart attack, please chew these until you no longer can”. Because she wants to live, she did what they instructed her to do. She was also injected something to make the pain in her chest go away. She was hauled into the ambulance truck not through a stretcher but through a while big blanket. She thought it was because the passage way going down from the room where she was, was too narrow for the big standard sized stretcher that they usually have. She was taken to the nearest hospital where there was an available Cardiologist on that early Sunday morning. Everything was ready for the angiogram and the angioplasty that they will be performing on her once again. “Oops, yes, it’s really happening again.” The same as twelve years ago, her husband was made to sign a waver, basically saying that there is a one percent chance that something bad might happen during the procedure, like another heart attack or something else that may be fatal.

This time, the catheter went through her right wrist going to the blocked right artery of her heart. She knew because she was told before she was given the anaesthesia. Her understanding was that, the reason why her blood pressure was frighteningly low and she was extremely weak, and her heart rate was unbelievably slow, because this time it’s the artery in the right part her heart that is blocked. They explained that they will need to put a balloon stent again in this blocked artery so the blood will flow properly through her heart and throughout her body. In her recollection, twelve years ago the catheter holding the balloon stent went through her groin. Quickly after she was given the anaesthesia she totally blacked-out. If something bad will happen to her during the procedure, she wouldn’t know. It felt like she had a very long sleep. But, her husband said it was not even an hour. Then the doctor woke her up. She opened her eyes. As the doctor was telling her that the procedure was successful, in her mind, with all her heart, she was thanking God for giving her a fourth chance in life.

And today, exactly three months after her medical procedure, she is sharing her story, hoping that we all shall be reminded of how precious life is. Live it wisely. Live it nicely. Live it kindly. Live it with love. Most important of all, live it in accordance to God’s will. We never know what’s going to happen tomorrow. No one knows what lies ahead. Today is what’s important and what matters the most.