I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.
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    Jazz Is All's Avatar
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    Default I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    Life is full of surprises, especially as regards our bodies and health. About 15 years ago I had this really weird sudden headache pain where something like a worm was throbbing on the side of my skull and hurting me. I could actually feel it moving and it freaked me out. I guess memories of Alien were more present then, but whatever it was it was abnormal for me and I went to a brain surgeon. She had a brain scan done and told me I was perfectly fine and said it was just a neuralgic headache. I said that I had never had experienced anything like that to which she replied "Well, you've never been this age before." Touché.....because it says it all about getting older. You just don't know what will happen down the road, no matter what you have done or experienced so far. Like Forrest Gump said, Life is like a box of chocolates but while some of them are great, some others are rotten and definitely not a good experience.

    All this to lead into the fact that despite never having smoked past my teen years, not having consumed alcohol for the past 15 years, having low to normal cholesterol, having low blood pressure most of my life and at normal levels now at 73 years old, and never having been diagnosed with a cardiac problem, on Saturday night I suffered a heart attack. I had been feeling increasingly short of breath and having a hard time walking more than 2 blocks without stopping all week, and was too tired to go to the Friday night jam I always attend. On Saturday night I went to a gig of some old work friends and had a great time, but when I walked out onto the sidewalk at midnight I was suddenly hit with stabbing pain on both sides of my chest which made me dizzy, hot, yawning repeatedly with tiredness and confusion. I sat down on a retaining wall and rested till it went away and thought about what it could be because it really was painful and a totally unexpected even having not walked any distance at all.

    I figured it was my Bronchiectasis, but that has never given me real pain, just pressure in the lungs and in fact at this moment I was free of symptoms....no phlegm, no coughing, no choking etc. Part of me said to just go home and go to sleep, but another voice said that it might be my heart and that would be bad if I went home and ignored it. Luckily my hospital was 4 blocks away and I snail walked there and spent the night in the ER being tested every which way. In the morning they said the blood analysis was 10 X higher for some coronary indicator than it had been at admission and they said that it was a heart attack and they admitted me.

    So here I have been since then, taking all sorts of meds like Heparin to thin my blood, something to slow my cardiac frequency, aspirin, and all sorts of other things, plus being on a heart monitor all the time. Sunday night I had such shortness of breath they put me on oxygen and on Monday they did a coronary echograph which showed that it was an artery and not the heart itself. But that test is not conclusive and so today I had a Coronary Catheterization exploration which the doctor said shows that one trunk artery is badly blocked right at the entry into the heart. There may also be other arteries that have some blockage so on Thursday they are going a Coronary CAT scan to see more clearly what is what and which is the best option to repair it.

    There are only really two options, the first is an angioplasty with one or more stents put in, and the second is bypass surgery. Naturally the first sounds more appealing because it is quick, relatively painless, and the recovery time is quite short. However the drawback is that being practically in the entry to the heart it could cause problems and require a second stent inside the first or worse yet, affect the heart muscle itself. So that would leave the bypass surgery with opening my chest and all that invasive trauma and the long recuperation period that follows. Not enticing at all as it will make me an invalid and put my life as husband, father and sax player on total hold. Bother Bother Bother. And here I thought that my lung disease was the worst that could happen to me while in fact perhaps it was connected in some way to the cardiac problem and to the attack.

    At any rate I will have to wait to hear what the doctors recommend and follow their advice since the know more than I do and I do not want to exacerbate my problems due to my lung disease with possible later coronary complications. All I can say is thank god for modern medicine and for my great medical insurance here in Barcelona because I would never have been able to get even this far in life if I had stayed in the States....especially now with you know who doing you know what.

    The real irony of this....a kick in the butt really.....is that just that afternoon I posted a thread asking people who the oldest people still playing out on the forum are. I prided myself on playing at 2, 3 or even more jams a week for he past 4 years and that must have jinxed the deal for me because immediately I am out of action of all kinds. LOL.....God's Great Banana Peel got me good.
    'How far y'all going?' Ruby asked us with a sigh.
    'We're going all the way 'till the wheels fall off and burn.
    Till the sun peels the paint and the seat covers fade and the water moccasin dies'.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    I'm really sorry to hear this. Sounds awful, but it could have been much worse, as I'm sure has not escaped you. I suspect that in the moment you experienced, the last thing you want to acknowledge is that you might be having a heart attack, but you had the good sense to get immediate attention, which is supposed to be a really important factor for a positive prognosis. I hope you are better soon whichever treatment route you wind up following.

    A colleague a few years older than me told me a while ago that he/we have outlived our warranties. It's scary all right, and especially for those of us whose warranties are expired but still have one or more young children.

    Then there's all the other downers life throws your way - deaths of loved ones, tragedies of one kind or another. I've experienced bad enough, but have encountered others who have experienced much worse. A couple who were friends of my parents lost three children to some rare disease. A family friend's 17 year old daughter disappeared 10 years ago and has not been heard from or of since. A couple of family friends got early onset Alzheimers in their 50s and died of it in their early 60s. And never mind the largely built-in miserable fate of the many dispossessed of the earth.
    My favorite music is the music I haven't yet heard. - John Cage

  3. #3
    Jazz Is All's Avatar
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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rackety Sax View Post
    I'm really sorry to hear this. Sounds awful, but it could have been much worse, as I'm sure has not escaped you. I suspect that in the moment you experienced, the last thing you want to acknowledge is that you might be having a heart attack, but you had the good sense to get immediate attention, which is supposed to be a really important factor for a positive prognosis. I hope you are better soon whichever treatment route you wind up following.

    A colleague a few years older than me told me a while ago that he/we have outlived our warranties. It's scary all right, and especially for those of us whose warranties are expired but still have one or more young children.

    Then there's all the other downers life throws your way - deaths of loved ones, tragedies of one kind or another. I've experienced bad enough, but have encountered others who have experienced much worse. A couple who were friends of my parents lost three children to some rare disease. A family friend's 17 year old daughter disappeared 10 years ago and has not been heard from or of since. A couple of family friends got early onset Alzheimers in their 50s and died of it in their early 60s. And never mind the largely built-in miserable fate of the many dispossessed of the earth.
    Thanks for the kind words Glenn. And those at the end help remind me of how lucky and blessed I have really been in life despite all the stuff I have had happen that was no fun. And you are so right about going and getting checked out right away. I already knew that many heart attacks happen at night and when this thing hit me....right after eating a giant juicy cheeseburger and drinking 2 shandies and a NA beer an hour before......I got the image of being in my warm bed asleep which is what I wanted to do and seeing me having another attack, a really bad one that night or one of the following ones. That is really what woke me to the reality that this was an anomalous event and not and attack of my lung disease. So word to the wise, if you ever experience severe chest pain, or arm and shoulder pain (I didn't), hightail it to the ER and get it checked. Better to find it to be nothing but be safe, than unable to be sorry cause you are dead. Men particularly need to be aware of this and even if you have never had heart problems it means nothing. My doctors told me that it is simply due to age, no matter how healthy a life style you think you have lived. That was the big surprise for me.
    'How far y'all going?' Ruby asked us with a sigh.
    'We're going all the way 'till the wheels fall off and burn.
    Till the sun peels the paint and the seat covers fade and the water moccasin dies'.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    Jazz Is All: Best wishes for a full & speedy recovery, Jazz is All.
    George

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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    Michael, I am sorry to hear this and wish you a complete, speedy and uneventful recovery. Take care of yourself, my friend.

    Bill
    Dum Spiro Spero......While I breathe, I hope

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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    Hope everything goes well with the procedure or surgery, and wishing you a speedy recovery, Michael. I'm glad you made it walking to he hospital while having a coronary event! I'm sure after all this, you'll even be more determined to continue enjoying playing the sax. Maybe less gigs, and just play at home with backing tracks for a while. Keep us updated. Good luck.
    Selmer MK VI alto; King Super 20 tenor; Evette- Schaeffer tenor; P. Mauriat 76 2nd ed. Straight DK Soprano;
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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    All the best, Mike...please keep us posted.
    Prayers your way...
    George

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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    I haven't been active on the forums for some time, but after reading your post it only seemed appropriate to reply. Wishing you the very best for a speedy and full recovery.

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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    Michael!
    I'm so sorry to hear about this.
    I hope and wish you a sound recovery my friend!

    Sonho...

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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    Jazz Is All,

    Best wishes for a speedy recovery and many new gigs. One of my great friends just went through an almost identical situation. He had stents put in and is back to his old self. Wishing the same for you.

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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    Mike, Praying for you. You do a great job telling the story. I'm praying that this will all pass and this will be an entertaining story you will be telling years from now during the breaks at your jams you are leading........ Steve

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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    Your story has an unfortunately familiar ring for me. I got the shock of my life when I had a heart attack back in October. I spent several days in the hospital -- heart caths, EKGs, lots of tests. In the end, it turned out I didn't need a stent or any of those other things you're facing, but it sure was an unpleasant surprise. Good luck with your treatment and recovery.

    JL

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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    Best wishes. I hope everything goes well.

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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    Scarey as all hell but I'm sure glad you are here to talk about it.

    Take care man...lots of things left to do in life..lots of music left to make

    You need to get well cuz I may have to come bug you in Spain

    With all that is going on here me and the wife...who is French are seriously considering moving phil-tone to Europe

    Her family is in French Catalonia

    So get well....and maybe it's time to stop all that clean livin
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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    Sorry to hear this, Mike, but glad that you were able to get to a hospital. Best wishes for a speedy recovery. Please keep us posted.

    Jim
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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    Good lord. I'm glad you are safe for the moment. I hope the surgery goes well and wish you a speedy recovery.

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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    Best wishes & get well soon.

    Dermot
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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    My father in law had a triple bypass a few years ago. He wasn't exactly an invalid when he came home but did have to restrict some activities for a few months.
    The mother in law had her heart attack a few months ago. She has stents. She's just now been taken off restrictions but she's also a brittle diabetic and has leukemia. I wasn't told exactly what form other than it's 'chronic'.
    I have a feeling that whichever route you take you'll be back to 'normal' sooner than either of them.
    Gotta keep a positive outlook for my buddy.
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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    Michael, I'm very sorry to read about this, but also happy to see that you're able to write it here on the forum (which means you're alive!). Things could have been much worse if you wouldn't have gone to the hospital at Saturday evening. But actually this (see quote below) was already the trigger that should have made you go to the doctor for an earlier check:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Is All View Post
    I had been feeling increasingly short of breath and having a hard time walking more than 2 blocks without stopping all week...
    I have a colleague here in the office that already comes for more then 25 years on his bike to work (20 km coming in the morning and 20 km back in the evening). He doesn't smoke or drink and lives a healthy live. Last year he went home at a Wednesday afternoon and got some small pain in his shoulder during the first few hundred meters on his bike. He stopped and rested a bit and just decided to do the full 20 km on his bike back home (at a lower tempo). Telling his wife at home she exploded and they immediately went to the doctor to see what happened (already knowing that it could be his heart). In the end he was very lucky to not have much damage done to his heart and he now is already back at work for a long time and doing well (still coming each day on his bike).

    The important message of these stories is always to not neglect early symptoms pointing to heart issues. The earlier you see a doctor the higher your chances are to recuperate fast and with less damage done to the heart.

    Michael, take care and lots of success coming period with the recovery. We can't miss you here my friend, our Name Game (and other threads) would become boring without your input .

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  20. #20
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    Default Re: I Never Experienced or Expected This. But Then I've Never Been This Age Before.

    Keeping a good thought for your speedy recovery; take good care of yourself.

    John
    When I play, I feel Henri Selmer's presence; trying to rub his name off my horn.
    NostalgiaSmith


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