(WARNING: this piece isn’t about wine, beer, or spirits. It’s about heavy shit, like life and death. Yippee!)
6:30 am on Labor Day, I awoke with chest pains. A gorilla apparently decided to park itself on my pectoral muscles. After an hour of trying everything in the book to relieve the pressure, I gave into my wife’s requests, and we were off to the emergency room at Norwalk Hospital.
Within two hours, it became clear I had some sort of “heart event,” possibly a mild heart attack, but the doctors couldn’t yet be sure. It was apparent that I would not be getting poolside any time soon. In fact, the tests and worries had just begun.
That night, as I lay in bed, head, neck, shoulders and chest bound up in knots, the sounds of patients 30 years my senior filling the hallways until the wee hours of the morning, thoughts of my own mortality swirled through my head. Did I have some sort of rare disease that had chosen our Luau holiday party to rear up on me? Were the glory days of life behind me? A hospital bed is a sobering, lonely place to contemplate such heavy matters, and time stretched to a slow crawl.
All in all, I was admitted to two separate hospitals, a slew of vials of my blood were analyzed, a sonogram was taken of my heart, blood thinner IVs were pumped into holes in my arm, I had countless adhesive diode patches ripped from chest hair, and it all culminated in a lovely procedure called an Angiogram. If you’re not familiar with this modern marvel of science, I was knocked out and a catheter tube was inserted into the wrist, fed through one of the main arteries into my heart, where dye was then pumped in, giving the doctors a perfect 3-dimensional view of the alleyways, byways, and thoroughfares. Luckily, they didn’t find clogged arteries that required stints to be inserted, or any evidence that I had indeed had a heart attack.
What they found were twitching arteries. My heart had gone into a state of trauma and was releasing Cardiac Enzymes (Troponins) all over the place—look at the big words I learned! The cause? Well, that’s the bitch of this whole thing. No one knows for sure. A virus that inflamed the periphery of my heart? A bizarre combination of allergy meds, sugary cocktails, asthma, and swimming pool antics (perhaps a la the Joker’s attack on Gotham City; where it wasn’t the deodorant that poisoned the populace, but the use of the deodorant, then the hair spray, followed by the toothpaste). I will never know.
What I do know, is I was grounded from going to work for a week, and instructed to lay off my wrist which had been penetrated by modern medicine, so no typing, carrying my child or skeet shooting.
And what I do know, is I’m still alive. Hey I, I, I, I’m still alive, yeah.