January 3, 2008

Before and After my stent in Atlanta on May 26

Saturday, August 25, 2007

RCA is the Right Coronary Artery.
"Before": One can see the results of a 100% blockage. This is what caused my acute myocardial infarction, better known as a heart attack on May 25.
"After": This is the same artery after Dr. Lembo inserted the stent.
How did it feel having a heart attack? Surprisingly it did not happen like one would imagine. I had been in NYC on vacation with my best friend Scotty Hard aka Broadway Sol Goodman partying to the fullest. For a sedentary man on the dark side of his Fortieth decade, I was clearly out of shape and practice when it came to walking all over a city, eating giant steaks at Peter Lugers, drinking and partying until all hours of the morning. In short, we tried to turn the clock back 20 years, and something got stuck. Lodged in my artery.
Was it the pizza or Nathan's Hot Dog from Coney Island? The brisket sandwich from Katz Deli? The fore mentioned steak for two from Peter Lugers, along with the bacon appetizer- a veritable bacon steak itself!
To paraphrase my dear sister Kathy "One night or even several nights of mischief are not going to bring one from zero to 100% blockage overnight". Or did it? I'll never really know.
Obviously, this had been building for some time. The many days of doing the work of many; the long days of commuting with almost 3 hours per day in a car stuck in traffic from
White Rock to Vancouver; TV and ice cream......Clearly I was an accident waiting to happen.
The night of May 24th, BSG and I had walked all over Manhattan, from the docks of the Staten Island Ferry to Ground Zero to Wall Street to Chinatown to CBGB's ( gone but never forgotten) to SOHO and Katz's and the Village for a book launch with the incredible Steve Bernstein and SexMob. I was out of breath and my lungs felt as if they were on fire. The day was hot and humid in that way that only New York can be. There was a tightness in my chest, but at the time I felt it was simply a result of the endless walking.
We rested at the bar for the book launch enjoying the company of Scott's friend Reverend Vince Anderson- a very good musician himself. We had seen the Reverend at Black Betty on the Monday which is his usual haunt. SATAN HATES ME! he sang out, and I guess he hates me too.
Anyway we drank of the free open bar until the band finished and headed over to another bar to watch the blessed Mets. Uptown to catch Tandy, a band and friend of Scott's from upstate then over to the ubiquitous Black Betty for drinks and devils dust dancing in the shadows.
The next morning I get up..........in a cold sweat....Help now. I would massage my chest and the tightness would let up a bit. Still the lungs on fire.
I thought I had come down with pneumonia, as I had picked that up in 1989 on the tailend of another bender. As the morning progressed and we left for the subway to the airport, the intensity of the tightness and burning in my lungs continued. I was running a fever, sweating and feeling generally lousy all over. I did not have the classic symptoms of an elephant standing on my chest or pain running down my left arm, but I now believe that I was undergoing the heart attack. Next up....my plane to Atlanta or how to have a heart attack while flying.
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