Tl; DR: Yes, I had a heart attack, but I am ok.
First, some background.
I am fat (~130 kg recently)
I have had high blood pressure for a long time
I have fatty liver syndrome
I am insuline resistent
So, a heart attack is probably not an unexpected thing, but hey, I lived to tell the tale, so here I tell it.
I walk everyday when I come and go from work, around 20 blocks each way. That is good, and is something I need to do! However around august 23 I started having some chest pains when I did. I walked a few blocks, chest pain started, I stop, pain stops. Not a horrible pain, maybe a 4 in a 1-10 scale.
Because I am nothing if not good at ignoring messagesI don't want to get, I blamed indigestion, or whatever. It was mostly some discomfort. Who cares, right?
It turns out at some point before then I had had a freaking heart attack, and what I was feeling was lack of oxygen in my heart because of insufficient blood flow. I did not feel the heart attack, I was feeling the sequels of it.
BTW: coworkers! That means I went to the office a few days after I had the heart attack :-)
In any case: it turns out something between 30% and 45% of those who have heart attacks don't notice because of whatever reasons, and only figure out they did when they suddenly die (yes) or go for a routine check and the doctor says "dude, you had a heart attack at some point and didn't notice".
So, I kept ignoring this, but on the weekend my blood pressure was high. How high? Run-to-the-ER-high. 190 over 120 high.
I took my pills, it would go down a little, but on the next measurement it would go back up. So I would take my pills, it would go down, and then back up.
So, on monday I went to the ER. Got an EKG and troponine assay and ... "dude, don't worry about it, let's call an ambulance and take you to a hospital that has a coronary unit. You know, because you had a heart attack. In the meantime, here is some IV nitroglicerine"
I get carsick a lot. Riding an ambulance, lying down and looking backwards ... not good for me. But anyway, they took me to the Sanatorio de la Trinidad in San Isidro.
There I got more EKGs, more blood tests, and indeed it looked like I had had a heart attack, so they told me I would need a procedure. "It's not surgery it's just a procedure" ... and doubled the amount of nitroglicerine.
Funny thought: who was the first guy that decided to see if injecting unstable explosives into your veins may have a good effect? Because it does! It does a kickass job of opening your arteries thus lessening the chance of you dying right away. Also gives amazing headaches.
I got a nice room, got hooked up to monitors, IV, BP cuff, Rosario got a nice couch, and got put on hold.
If I were having a heart attack right then, then they would have done the procedure right away. Because I wasn't, it could wait a day or two. I will not go into the indignities involved in bodily functions when you can't move. There are a bunch of them.
I was having a killer headache, they were injecting anticoagulants in my belly, my hand had a IV hanging (which hurted), and they were drawing blood every 4 hours, so my OTHER arm was hurting, and the BP cuff was inflating every 15 minutes ... so, not a very restful night.
Next day they tell me I will get "the procedure". It involved opening the radial artery in my writst, slipping a hose into it, wiggle it all the way back into my heart, inject a liquid that would make my blood opaque to X-rays, then look and see where it went. If there were obstructions and they could be treated, they would do it right away.
A nurse gave me a quick bath (there was a chance they would go through my groin instead, so it was the polite thing to do).
I waited a few hours, and they took me to the hemodynamics room. Fancy monitors hanging off robot arms, nice chat with the anestesyologist, and then they gave me the paperwork.
It's a huge list of bad news.
The procedure involves continuous X-rays and it may be necessary to use high intensity.
All that radiation has side effects, so let us do it
Possible side effects include permanent depilation of the chest (really)
I signed off (because what's the alternative?) and they tell me "move a little to the left in case you fall asleep you don't roll off". Because yes, you are awake. Ok, awake-ish, at least I was in a drugged haze all through it.
I seem to have fallen asleep at some point and woke up just to tell them "my arm and my chest hurt a lot!" which they answered with "well, yes, we are poking inside your heart, dude" and sme gesture which I interpreted as "just put this guy to sleep already" because I woke up in my room.
They put three stents in my heart, because I had a bunch of obstructions, including one in the main cardiac artery, so, good thing they invented those.
Back in the room, I feel awesome. Really. I blame the drugs.
They slowly started cutting down on the nitro, so no more headache.
By that night I was well enough I could start playing canasta with Rosario (via an Android app: no need to deal a ton of cards, no way to cheat by making up rules, so awesome), watched a couple episodes of Forged in Fire, slept on and off.
Next day, wednesday, boring.
Next day, thursday, I was allowed a bath! I could walk to the couch and sit down! I could wear underwear! Almost civilized.
Thursday afternoon I was discharged. The dollar had gone up 30% while I was not looking.
Special note for my US readers: there was no hospital bill. My job's health provider (OSDE) took care of everything, I needed not pay a dime. I was just put in a wheelchair, wheeled to the door and told to have a nice day.
We went to buy all the medicine for my new regime (12 pills a day).
There is a anticoagulant pill I need to take for a year, and if I skip it I die. There are pills to control the BP, which if I skip I may die, there is a pill for the pain, which if I mix with another pill I wil die, and there is aspirine just because they needed something a little less dramatic.
Went home, and in the next couple of days had a couple more checks with a hospital cardiologist and with my cardiologist, a nice and wise lady who I should pay more attention to.
All through this my wife was by my side, a friend took care of our kid, and everyone at work was cool about it, asking how I was doing and in general being their usual awesome.
So, those are the events. What happens now?
I need to stop being fat, so I suppose I will try.
I am in sort of the same situation as Aeschylus. There was a prophecy that he would be killed by a falling object, so he tended to stay outdoors. Then he was killed by an eagle dropping a turtle on his head, because it looked like a shiny stone.
I sort of know I will die of this. But there is no rush, and I will do my best to avoid it for many years. I will try to avoid the obvious ways, like Aeschylus. And if fate deems it necessary that an eagle drops a turtle on me, at least it will be a funny story.
Best Stephenson in years.
Best Stephenson in years.