Letter: We are in good hands

For all the seniors in North Renfrew, and everyone else as well because no one is immune, if you have a heart attack, this is the best place in Ontario to have one.

At 89, it never occurred to me that I was a candidate and I did not see it coming until it did.

Since I was completely unprepared for a heart attack, I found what happened extremely interesting and thought it would be worth sharing with everyone in North Renfrew who probably do not know how well off in this respect we are out here in the bush – so here is what happened to me and Margaret, my wife of 61 years.

At 7 pm June 15, we had just finished supper and as usual Marg went to the TV room.
I stood up to clear the kitchen but my right arm did not follow.

As I stood there with my arm hanging down, an off-the-scale pain started in that arm.

My voice refused to work so I staggered down to the TV room and told Marg I was in incredible pain.

Since my right arm is a mess anyway, neither of us thought heart attack so I swallowed enough codeine to help the pain.

We went to bed but about 1 am, I woke Marg up and said call 911.

When she told them what had happened they immediately concluded heart attack and the paramedics were at 11 Banting in about five minutes with all their machines, slapped defibrillator pads on me, lifted me on to a stretcher and drove to Deep River and District Hospital emergency where they were already set up.

After about 20 minutes for paperwork, they told me I was going right back in the ambulance and on to the Ottawa Civic Heart Institute, which was then preparing to receive me.

On the way in, the paramedic hooked me up to the screens you see on TV where your heartbeats are little spikes, so I could watch that.

Then the run started and the siren came on many times.

Several times my heartbeats went into fibrillation but the machine took over and they came back to normal.

When we arrived, I noted that the run had taken 90 minutes, about an hour shorter than I would have driven it.

They backed me out of the ambulance and transferred me on to a hospital stretcher which went directly to the operating room where they slid me on to a cold steel plate.

The doctor said, “relax – don’t move – turn your head left as far as you can. We are going to do an angiostent which is not pleasant. Do not move and don’t tense up.”

For the next hour I could feel things scurrying around my arteries and at one point the pain in my right arm stopped.

Then it was over and the doctor came and said – “my friend, you are a good man. They brought you in here in terrible pain. You did everything I said and never moved or made a sound. Not everyone can do that.”

“We put in three stents. Will have to do another but not a critical one and it can wait.”

The entire process from the attack took 12 hours.

The paramedics were so fast and so professional, DRDH emergency equally so and I found the efficiency with which the Heart Institute people completed the night’s work hard to believe.

People – we are in good hands here.

Friday, June 22, our 61st wedding anniversary, they sent me back to Deep River in an Ottawa ambulance where I spent one night and am now home getting back to an active life.

Not a bad week’s work.

Al Rose