...And so began my late Saturday afternoon.
After driving to CJAD and parking my car in the indoor parking lot, I took a walk to the coffee shop down the street on Papineau to pick up a coffee. That's something I tend to do before settling in to prepare for my weekend show, The Locker Room, from 6-7 p.m.
It was around 3:30 when I picked up my coffee and made my way back to CJAD when I felt a sharp pain go right through my chest: front, to back; a heavy pain that took my breath away.
"Hmm, what's this?", I thought to myself.
I was in front of a police station, next to CJAD, when the pain pierced my chest. I stopped for a moment to take stock of the situation, and I didn't like it.
I thought, "Is this just a bad case of indigestion? Or...not?!?"
I decided the answer was the latter so I walked into the police station on Papineau and told the officer behind the desk that I was experiencing serious chest pain. I asked her to call an ambulance, which she did." In the meantime, I sent my wife, Heidi, a text that read something like:
"Not feeling well, babe. Calling an ambulance." Not exactly the text my wife expected to read while shopping near our home in the West Island.
The pain never let up and I spent several anxious minutes at the police station waiting for Urgences Sante to arrive. The police officer tried her best to make me feel comfortable but I was one hurting puppy.
The ambulance arrived and I was whisked away to the Royal Victoria, but not before the officer asked for my wife's cell phone number so that she could update her on the situation. The officer was one of several angels I met during this "experience."
It was in the ambulance that the paramedic, after hooking me up to a portable EKG, told me:
"Mr. Hefter, you're having a heart attack."
"Swell," I thought to myself. "I wonder how THIS day is going to end?"
The paramedic, in a calm and reassuring tone, continued to give me his assessment of my condition as we continued to make our way to the Royal Vic.
While I was having a heart attack.
I went from the ambulance to the emergency department while a team of doctors prepared me for a trip to the Cath Lab for an angiogram and angioplasty, where doctors would search out my blockage and deal with it. I was wheeled into the Cath Lab; where they froze my wrist, and proceeded to fish a very small garden hose (my medical terminology) up my arm and into my heart.
I was awake the entire time and the doctor performing the procedure kept me up to date during the angiogram/angioplasty, with a play-by-play: (medical terminology is mine, not the doc's):
"OK, the catheter is in your heart. I'm injecting the die...and, yes, I see that one artery is 100 percent blocked. We're going to balloon it open and insert a stent. Now I'm aspirating the clot. And we're...done!"
Heart attack over. I could literally breath again.
Before they wheeled me out of the Cath Lab, the doc showed me the clot that was aspirated. Looked like a little piece of jelly with a red dot in the centre. No souvenirs for me on this day, however.
I was wheeled to the fifth floor of the Royal Vic where an amazing team of caring, compassionate and amazingly talented doctors, nurses, and other members of the hospital medical team proceeded to help me get back on my feet over the next five days.
This blog entry comes to you from home: my first full day at home since my discharge from hospital yesterday afternoon. I'll continue to provide you with updates along my road to recovery and might even weigh in with a sports observation or two.
By the way: Have Bettman and Fehr settled the NHL labour issue yet!?!?!?!
In the meantime, a huge thank you to my wife Heidi, the members of my immediate family, my CJAD family, Summit School, friends, listeners and well-wishers for your outpouring of support, encouragement, and FOOD!!! It has meant the world to me and Heidi.
In the meantime, I'l be out of action four to six weeks with an upper-body injury. I'd love to hear from you in the meantime.