My name is Rob, and my dad is a boss.
My step-mom scared me the other day. Like, really scared. This isn’t unreasonable given that that the last I had heard from Dad was that he was waiting to speak the cardiologist.
“Looks like I may have had a very mild heart attack. Right now there’s nothing to worry about. I’ll let you know more as soon as I find out.” is what he said to me. When my dad says there is nothing to worry about, there’s nothing to worry about. So I wasn’t worried.
Then, a few hours later, Tina called me.
He was in the hospital.
I lost it.
She explained to me what was going on, and that he was fine. He was set to have a heart catheterization the next morning to determine the next course of action. The doctor had even given him the option of staying at home that night. Knowing my dad, he opted to sleep in his own bed. But Tina gave him the stink-eye, and so did the nurse practitioner at the office. You can’t argue with two of those, it’s an unwinnable battle. So, he stayed in the hospital that night.
I went to visit him that evening. He was restless, bored - but not worried. I was given a more thorough explanation of the series of events leading up the hospital check in. Here’s how it played out:
He decided to go on a pretty hard bike ride on Saturday morning. He went up and over Cecil Ashburn Drive (those who know that road, know you don’t want to do it on a bike). On the way back, he started to get pretty winded. This ride was kicking his ass (read: heart). He managed to make it back home in one piece, but was completely drained. Maybe it was too hot? Maybe he didn’t hydrate well enough? All plausible excuses.
The next day he didn’t feel any better. Nor the following day. Maybe he’s got the flu. He showed all the symptoms. That’s an excellent cause for that bike ride to hit him so hard.
The next day he went to the doctor’s office. Fortunately they had done an EKG a few months prior for his physical. Comparing the two, Doc said “Something happened, you need to go see a cardiologist. Like, now.”
“Yup, you had a heart attack.” said the cardiologist after the examination. An echo-sonogram confirmed that there was, indeed, some blockage. We just didn’t know how much until the next day.
He was scheduled for the procedure at 11:30 am. It took longer than expected. Tina, some friends of the family and I were all anxiously waiting to hear what was found during the procedure.
Around 2:00 the doctor came out and gave us good news. They put in a stent and that he was gonna be just fine. No angioplasty. No open-heart surgery. Excellent. Excellent news. They even had a picture of the blocked vessel before and after.
You don’t have to be a professional to see what’s going on here. I know, because I’m not one. This wasn’t just a mild cardiac event. This was a serious fucking heart attack. ⅓ of the blood flow to his heart was going through that vessel. It’s amazing that he survived, and absolutely, mind-bogglingly... just, astounding that he was riding his bike up and down and up and back down one of the biggest hills in Huntsville while the whole thing happened. Due to diet and the level of fitness my dad had attained, blood was able to find a way around that vessel to keep his heart intact. He was strong enough to have a serious heart attack, and all but just shrug it off like it was the flu.
This is why my dad is a boss. Now, where did I put my aspirin?