(I can’t believe the STUPID way I responded to this situation. I know better! Please…if you EVER even think you might be having a cardiac event…get to an emergency room as fast as possible. It might save your life one day…)
I returned to Rockport last Tuesday after spending 5 days in Big Bend National Park. I drove out there with my friend John Martell to participate in a photography tour led by Larry Ditto and Joe Zinn. It was a great trip, and I feel I made some photographs that could make the portfolio. But…during this trip I experienced a wake up call…an eye opener…an epiphany…and NOT just about my photography.
We didn’t make any images from the pull-outs on the roads on this HUGE park. That was the cache for going with Larry and Joe. These guys knew where to be…and at what time. We did some easy to moderately difficult trail hiking to get to these desired locations. No one in the group was unable to complete these hike-ins, but plenty of us were huffing and puffing along the way!
On the third morning, I thought I was experiencing some TIGHTNESS…not pain…in my chest. I didn’t say anything, but I continued to monitor myself. I spent 25 years in the medical device industry, so I kinda-sorta knew the classical signs of one having a cardiac event. I wasn’t there. However, I did continue to have this tightness in my chest along with some aches in both quadriceps. I didn’t say a word to anyone.
John and I drove back to Rockport on Tuesday. I spent the night at my place there and then drove to Houston early Wednesday morning. It was a long night for me as I was still anxious about what I was experiencing. As soon as I got to the Houston house, I asked my wife…a cardiac nurse…to check my blood pressure. It was off-the charts! I told her I MIGHT be having a cardiac event…and we immediately drove to The Methodist Hospital emergency room. They did a 12-lead ECG on me and everything looked OK. I was not having…and had not had.. a heart attack. The staff drew blood…did chest X-rays …and even did a cardiac CT scan just to make sure. Nothing…
Long story even longer, ER physician called my cardiologist and he wanted wanted me to be admitted to the Cardiac Observation floor overnight for monitoring and more blood draws. Again…nothing! I left The Methodist yesterday mid-day with a LOT of peace-of-mind. My cardiologist did make a minor medication change for the high blood pressure issue.
OK…so here’s the take home message for me. I didn’t have a heart attack…this time! I should have gotten myself to some kind of healthcare professional or emergency room MUCH earlier. I need to REALLY clean up my act. I love my family (1 wife…3 dogs)…and I love my photography. I want to live this wonderful life I have as long as I can. There are SO many things I can do to and for myself to make sure this happens. No guarantees…just bettering my odds!