Last week, I reported to you guys that I had suffered multiple heart attacks. Three heart attacks in less than a week. Today, I want to update you.
There is good news… and there is also more good news! No real bad news that I can think of this week!
I came home from the hospital on Saturday, July 2, a little after lunch time. I was so happy to be home, I can’t even tell you! Being tied up in a hospital is just not comfortable, and if you ask me, it kind of shows the healing process! It is hard to get much sleep in a hospital. The nurses are constantly waking you up to find out things like how you are sleeping, or to check your BP or whatever the reason. I just want to get some rest so my body can do some healing! Being home gives me the opportunity to rest up and get more relaxation. So, as I said, I am so happy to be home.
3 Heart Attacks in a week?
As I explained last week, I had chest pain on the night of Tuesday, June 21, but did not think it was a heart attack. Next, I had another night with chest pain on Thursday, June 23, much more severe, but still did not really think it was a heart attack (I am a very smart person, after all!). Then, on Sunday, June 26, I had the strongest chest pain of all, and I rushed to the hospital. I’m glad that I did. I should have done that on an earlier event.
So, after being admitted (as they call it here, confined) to the hospital, when I saw my doctor, I asked him how it was that I had never had even a bit of chest pain in my life and suddenly without warning I had 3 heart attacks in the space of a week? He explained to me that I actually did not have 3 heart attacks. My heart started giving me a problem with the first event, then on each recurrence, I was all part of the same heart event. So, really, it was all a single heart attack that was spaced over nearly a week.
After being admitted to the hospital, they were doing EKG tests on my several times each day. If they could see changes from on EKG to another, that would indicate that my heart was still unstable, and the heart event was still ongoing. Luckily, though, my heart quickly stabilized and that was the end of any chest pains, shortness of breath, etc. That heart attack is now finished. If, for example, I had another heart attack tomorrow, that would be a second heart attack, as it has been explained to me, because my heart has already become stable now.
When I got home
When I got home, I felt very good, heart=wise. No chest pain, all of my vital signs were very good, etc. But, I was in severe pain. Muscle pain, stiff neck, etc. I could hardly move, especially my head. I thought it was from the bed/pillow at the hospital, which I found to be very uncomfortable. I also thought that after a day or so, it would disappear. Well, after going through Saturday, Sunday and Monday at home, the pain was only getting worse! So, yesterday, Tuesday, I decided to go back and see my doctor. I had a combination of:
- Muscle Pain in my back and shoulders
- Very stiff neck
- a fairly persistent dry cough
- general feeling of sickness
Well, the biggest problem to me was the neck pain. The doctor explained to me that since I am not accustomed to staying in bed for a week, laying there day after day in an uncomfortable bed was hard on my body. He gave me tramadol for pain relief and some muscle relaxers, and I started taking them early today. As I type this, my neck pain is probably gone by 75% or so, and I feel better than I have in the past few weeks.
My doctor surprised me when I asked him about my other pains. “You have the flu” he said. The flu? I thought this was related to the heart attack? Nope, it is the flu, which is kind of going around right now in Davao. I have a couple of friends with the flu as well. Well, the way I feel right now, I feel that my flu is dissipating. I’m glad about that too! If I can get rid of the neck pain and kick the flu in the butt, I think I will be feeling very good!
In terms of treating my heart problem, right now my team of doctors and I have decided to maximize the drug treatments and to observe closely to see how that goes. All of the tests came back in the normal range, except the test for the heart attack enzyme, and my 2D Echocardiogram. Things that are usually strong indicators for heart problems (like cholesterol) all came back below normal. So, at this point, we want to watch how things go with the drugs that I am on for this.
One thing that is very important is to keep my blood pressure very low. When I had the heart attack, my blood pressure was in fair control (usually about 140/80 or so), but now, my GP and Cardiologist want to keep my blood pressure much lower. Right now, my blood pressure is usually around 100/60 or so. I really feel good at this new BP level, we’ll see how things develop.
I know you have questions
I have literally received hundreds of email questions from readers. I guess the biggest most frequent question is “how much does it cost for heart treatment in the Philippines?” Well, I have answers, and will be writing future articles on things like that. I have health insurance through PhilHealth, but it would have been nice to have a lot more insurance. I will be explaining all of that in the future. I do think it is important for people who are thinking of moving here to be aware of medical costs, and what you can do about insurance (or what you can’t do).
So, anyway, today, I am feeling much better! Looking forward to the future. Glad that I still have a future!
Thanks everybody for your support, prayers, well wishes, etc. All of that has been greatly appreciated.