My Slightly Broken Heart Part 1

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I’ll begin this post with the end of the story. I did not have open-heart surgery.

However, I’m  pretty certain this was the most expensive, complex, and strange weekend of my life.

It all started on Friday when I woke at 3:45 am with a heavy weight in my chest and the sense that something was terribly wrong. Intellectually, I knew we were all fine, so I prayed my way through it. As I lay in bed, I began to think about a very healthy friend who recently had a heart attack and soon I was in the kitchen consulting my favorite physician, Dr. Google. [editor’s note: Dr. Google is second only to my own daughter, Dr. Hannah.]

We had a long consultation which involved one-sided discussions of heart attack symptoms in women, symptoms of pulmonary embolism, and even panic attacks. I finally ate a slice of an apple and a few almonds, and then fell asleep on the sofa. When I woke an hour later, my chest felt the same. Hmmmm…..

I launched into the day, all the while continuing to notice this pressure – not pain, just pressure.  I called Hannah at work, she didn’t answer. I called Mimi and left a message asking if they did ekg’s in the medical office where she works. I called my friend whose husband just had the heart attack. More than anything, I did not want to go to the ER.

[Note #1: Friends, after everything I’ve learned this weekend – forget feeling embarrassed. If you have chest pain/pressure, go to the ER. Your life, and your heart, are worth it.]

As the day wore on and the pressure in my chest remained, I began to think about how this might feel at 1:00 in the morning and all of the drama that would be involved if I needed to go to the ER in the middle of  the night. So I grabbed my keys, told the kids I was going to run see the doctor, and headed into town.

[Note #2: Never drive yourself to the ER if you have chest pain – it’s just plain stupid.]

One mile down the road, I chickened out and pulled into my doctor’s office where Mimi works. I walked in and told her that I thought I might need to see my doctor, hugged her and cried for about 6 seconds. Then I pulled myself together. There had just been a cancellation (God is good) so within three minutes I was seeing my doctor. She talked to me for all of 45 seconds, told me that I needed to go immediately to the ER, and that she was concerned I might have an embolism (since I already have a diagnosed clotting disorder).

I told her that Dr. Google said I would have shortness of breath and coughing; she was not impressed. Mimi was instructed to leave work and immediately drive me to the ER, so off we went.

This story could go on and on, because the night seemed to last forever. It was determined that I was not having a heart attack, but in the search for a pulmonary embolism, something else showed up on a CT, an aortic aneurysm. Soon I was in an ambulance headed to the closest cardiac center, 1.5 hours away. Following behind were Mimi and Michele (who happens to be the smartest nurse I know).

Over the course of the night I was hooked up to machines monitoring my every heart beat and breath. The cardiothoracic surgeon came in to see me, followed by the cardiologist. That night, I was attached to the bed by seven different tubes or machines. When the nurse finally left my room for five minutes, a wave of panic came over me and I thought, “I need to go home. I need to go home right now; I don’t want to be here, and besides, my kids need me.” Thankfully, I dozed off for a little bit and didn’t yank out my IV’s and make a run for it.

 Whew, this is long enough for now. I’ll wrap it up tomorrow. I promise that I’m typing this from the comfort of my own sofa.

Thanks for reading, friends.

[My slightly broken heart Part 2]

Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

12 Comments

  1. Luann Yarrow Doman
    April 16, 2014

    Oh my goodness. Looking forward to the rest of the story, but thankful to God that you're OK.

    Reply
  2. Tracy Barton-Niles
    April 16, 2014

    As always , lifting you in prayer and thank you for your "real" advice. My Dad used to always drive himself, ignore the symptoms….but I personally know I often put others ahead of myself. This is indeed a time to be selfish! God Bless you with healing and comfort that only the Lord can provide. Amen

    Reply
  3. Mary Ostyn
    April 16, 2014

    Praying for you! So glad you are home!

    Mary

    Reply
  4. Julie
    April 16, 2014

    Oh my word! Lisa! Praying for you!

    Reply
  5. Cindy Mc
    April 16, 2014

    Lisa, Don't leave us hanging for too long! Praising God you are alive and home.
    Much love and many prayers for you Sweet Friend! Cindy

    Reply
  6. brianandracheldavis
    April 16, 2014

    Good golly! What a weekend!!!! I am so happy you are typing it from home. Jiminy crickets!

    Reply
  7. Laura
    April 16, 2014

    This is one of those times I wish you had moved from Colorado all the way to Western Washington instead of only Idaho! Thank goodness for Mimi texting late at night to keep me and the rest of the family up to date. Thank our gracious God for good doctors–beyond Dr Google–and good medical facilities to care for you. AND most thankfully that you do not need surgery at this time!

    Reply
  8. Jen T.
    April 16, 2014

    No! It's not long enough! This is a horrible cliff-hanger! Thank you for telling us you are OK, but so scary! God just isn't satisfied with the drama in your testimony, is He? 🙂 He's just making your story more and more exciting. Praying for you today, Lisa!

    Reply
  9. Coffeemom
    April 16, 2014

    Thx be to God you're ok and home. How scary!! Please rest. Please keep us posted. Prayers!

    Reply
  10. Chantelle
    April 16, 2014

    I NEED THE REST OF THE STORY!!! Can't wait!!!

    Reply
  11. kristine barr
    April 16, 2014

    Wow! Glad to hear you are ok. Sounds just like what I would do. Of course I would add minimizing the symptoms and making them seem like the least dangerous diagnosis that Dr. Google had to offer. Can't wait to hear "the rest of the story"

    Reply
  12. Elizabeth
    April 16, 2014

    Yikes, I didn't realize the slightly broken heart being referred to was literal!

    Reply

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