By Tedler D. Depaynos, MD
Our engineer coffee mate whom we have not seen for quite some time apparently has lost weight and his handsome face appears thinner and his neck seems to have grown longer. When we ordered coffee for him he preferred a bottle of alcoholized water because he said he missed it for quite sometime. It was still early morning so nobody accompanied him.
He then started relating his story.
He was then in Metro Manila accompanied by his wife attending a conference trying to earn some points so he could renew his PRC license. He mentioned some negative comments against Sen. Antonio Trillanes who authored the law making this a requirement. He was hoping he will get incarcerated!
He has been experiencing very slight right chest pains from time to time lasting for a few seconds which he never minded. While driving, he suddenly had a severe chest pain radiating to his neck and left arm. It was his first time and he initially tried tolerating it but then he found out that he could not breathe! He was then rushed to a nearby Medical Center with his wife taking over the driving of the car. He was lucky they were near a Medical Center and was glad his wife knew how to drive because that was precisely why she forced her to learn. In case of emergency, the car would be useless if no one could drive it.
In the emergency room (ER), he was immediately given O2, intravenous fluids, and blood was extracted from him for lab examinations. After a pain killer was injected, an ECG and later a chest x-ray was done. Although he appeared losing consciousness, he was very much impressed how fast and detailed the ER personnel took care of him.
He was diagnosed to have a “heart attack” with probably a “blood clot” blocking one of his coronary arteries. The heart cells or muscle deprived of O2 (ischemic) may then die within a few hours so that an emergency catheterization with injection of dye or “angiogram” of the coronary arteries must be done. If a blood clot is confirmed it may immediately be removed using the same catheter. To insure the patency of the coronary artery, a stent may be placed. The procedure is then called “angioplasty”. He was, however, immediately thinking of the expenses!
He was given a second choice where IV “thrombolytics” would be given to dissolve the blood clots but then he was advised that his case is an early occurrence and aggressively removing the blood clots and placing a stent is the ideal procedure before any complications occur. He was assured that the procedure is just ordinary for the well trained cardio specialist MDs. With the encouragement of his wife who was in tears and his two children who arrived later, he gave his consent.
He underwent the delicate procedure and when he regained consciousness, he was at the ICU with his wife and children alternately giving him company. He was later transferred to a private room where he stayed for several days before being discharged. He was extremely glad that his recovery was unremarkable. His heart recovered well and he developed no major complications like congestive heart failure and his breathing returned immediately to normal.
He was prescribed medicines to make his blood thinner to prevent blood clot formation, medicines to control his lipids and cholesterol as well as his hypertension and diabetis. He was advised to be careful with his diet and to start a gradual light exercise. He kept emphasizing the modern facilities of our hospitals now with young well trained MDs who saved his life. He consider himself a very “lucky heart attack patient”.
He spent a lot of his time at home recovering and started going to church often giving thanks to the Lord. He said the incident was a major warning.
Upon hearing his story one of our table mate suddenly took his unfinished bottle of alcoholized water and finished it for him. Actually, it was suppose to be his first bottle after hospitalization and likewise it is his first time to go downtown all alone.**