Standing in my office in early January I was surprised to feel so warm. Most of the managers have offices in the bottom floor of the Interlaken Inn. And in addition to the drafts and lack of manufactured heat it had been a chilly beginning to 2017 here in Northwest Connecticut.
In what felt like a second, I was overwhelmed by my internal heat that I wandered a few short strides to the bathroom to throw some water on my face.
It all went downhill from there.
My legs went limp. Sweat poured from my face and my breathing reached a rapid pace in minutes. Pins and needless attacked my hands and feet while a sharp pain shot through my left temple, and a dull pain rested on my chest and back.
I had no idea what was happening to me. It took me at least a half hour to regain enough strength in my legs to stand up straight and leave the bathroom. We have some small sofas in our lower lobby just outside our offices and I stumbled to one of them and collapsed, clutching the cool hand towel I lifted from the bathroom.
By nature I am a private person, but on some level I reasoned that exposing myself to the lobby would allow me a better chance at getting some assistance than suffering in silence in the locked bathroom would have.
Thankfully one of the more selfless, resourceful members of the Interlaken staff wandered through the downstairs lobby and found me. He figured my blood sugar was low and he had me drink some orange juice. I started to feel better and eventually sat up, another one of our terrific staff members called my wife who rushed over and took me home. We thought maybe dehydration, the flu, even a pneumonia. We would turn out to very bad at predicting illnesses.
After a warm bath and some aspirin the sweating was gone, the pins and needles had disappeared and the headache had been reduced to a mere nuisance. However, the pain in my chest and back began to build. The pressure continued to mount until my wife and I thought it would be best to go to the hospital.
She drove, I watched for potential roadkill as it was now midnight on a dark and empty road, farms on either side of us as we headed toward the hospital. After some tests they felt my heart was having an “event,” but they weren’t exactly sure. After making me comfortable they felt the best course of action was to send me to the Cardiac Center at Vassar Brothers Hospital.
I hitched a ride in an ambulance, was wheeled into a room where a nurse and his crew began the process of testing every part of my body that wasn’t tied down. And the parts that weren’t tied were eventually tied up and tested anyway. Things were moving too fast to be scared, I threw up, twice, met more nurses, some doctors, and answered dozens of questions before being left alone while the results were being processed.
Finally a doctor appeared from behind the curtain.
“You have had a massive heart attack. We will need to get inside and find out just how much damage has been done and what we can do to help you.”
I am 40 years old. Four months ago I married the woman of my dreams, two months ago I started a great new job and we moved to one of the most beautiful areas in the country, and now there is this thing.
My heart was suffering a massive attack, and no one seemed to know what would happen next.