“The call comes in mid-afternoon on a Friday. I’m at work. It’s my husband. He tells me he’s in the ER and the doctors think he has had a heart attack. I start spinning in my office. Where’s my damn purse, where’s my keys, which hospital are you at? I’m on my way! Freaking out, panic, all those thoughts that wash over your brain. I don’t even ask permission to leave, I just shout at the front desk and tell them I’m leaving for the hospital.
It’s December 2013, we never expected a heart attack.
We both knew he had a bad liver. He had Hep-C. He never knew exactly how he contracted it, but he believed it was either from his years of drug usage or from dirty needles used getting his ‘jailhouse’ tattoos from all the time he did behind bars. We always figured his liver would fail one day, but a heart attack, really a heart attack? For months Mike had been feeling under the weather. His skin color was different. He was more tired. He and I just believed it was his liver and he was in an active flare of his Hep-C.
I get to the hospital and they send me to his cubicle. You know the ones with a bed with the curtain wrapped around it. He looks miserable. His blood pressure is off the charts. I’m mad, really really mad. Not just because he’s had a heart attack but because the stubborn man that he was drove himself to the hospital. I can’t argue with him – he’s not doing too good. The doctors finally come in; they tell us they are going to keep him over night. They need to stabilize him and try to figure out what’s going on. I leave to go get some things from home as it looks like this is going to be a long night and weekend.
Before I left, he kept telling the nurses he was hungry and wanted a double cheeseburger and fries. Yeah, like that was going to happen in his current state of affairs. But damnit, when I returned, he was, in fact, eating exactly that. Such a schmoozer!
I didn’t stay long. He kept insisting I go home and get some rest. He said there was no need for me to stay, the doctors and nurses could handle it all. So, I went home and tried to rest. Yeah not happening. I went back in the AM and find him feeling better and being the jokester that he was. They made him stick these antibiotic q tips up his nose to keep infection away, and this is what I found.
Saturday and Sunday come and go. The doctors are still struggling with his blood pressure. The doctors believe Mike has a complete blockage on the right side of his heart. What! Wait! It took you three days to figure this out. What in the name of God?
I call work and tell them not to expect me. Mike’s having a heart catheterization done Monday. I’ll touch base later.
The nurses come get him and wheel him back. I’m expecting a long stressful and fearful day. About an hour later, there he is, he’s being wheeled back into the room. What is going on? This can’t be good. I brace myself for devastating news. You know, ‘We’re sorry, there’s nothing we can do,’ or some other feeble words. Mike and I wait and wait and wait. No one will tell us what’s going on. We must wait for the heart surgeon. Tick tock tick tock… FINALLY a face I haven’t seen enters the room and introduces himself as the surgeon.
We each take a deep breath and steal a look at each other. The surgeon says, ‘I want to tell you how miraculous the human body is.’ The best they could figure was Mike’s heart attack on Friday was a second heart attack he had that week. The doctor explains he put the scope into Mike’s main artery to find the blockage and insert stints. What the doctor finds, is yes, there is a complete blockage.
‘There is nothing more I can do to help Mike’s heart,’ he says.
Here’s the great part! It seems Mike’s heart knew it was in trouble, so from the left side of his heart, the heart began to grow veins to the right side of the heart completely bypassing the blockage and getting blood and oxygen to where his heart needed repair. The doctor said Mike’s heart did its own bypass! Mike’s heart had healed itself!
WOW! I mean WOW! Are you kidding me. The heart healed itself. Amazing. Miraculous. Awesome. WOW! Just WOW!
He still has a heart issue and will need to be monitored. He will need medication and rest to completely recover. But he’s going home. I’m telling you, we couldn’t get out of that hospital fast enough.
We felt so very blessed. What a miraculous event. Everyone was rejoicing at the outcome.
He calls work and tells them he will be back in 4-6 weeks. He starts his medication and we believe he is on the mend. But we were wrong. This was just the beginning of a long journey for all of us. That story is for another day.
This day though was a day for remembering what it means to live each day the best we can. This day mattered. This day was a day for holding on. This day was for loving.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Cindy McMurray of Idaho. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
Read Cindy’s backstory of falling in love with Mike, who was in addiction recovery:
‘I told her, ‘I’m looking for a ‘suit.’ He’s an ex-felon, an addict, covered in ink, going through a divorce, currently unemployed. Yeah, No!’ We married just 3 months later.’
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