Briefly, in case rumors and stories abound, here's a quick overview of what has laid me low nigh this past week. You'd almost have to have been there to believe it.
I had no history of heart concerns when I left cold and wet Washington State to join a Habitat-for-Humanity excursion, all part of our team meeting in Phoenix, Ariz., last Tuesday. So, when I started having tight chest and shortness of breath late morning, I thought it was heatstroke and sat down on a gravel pile in the shade to cool and hydrate. I tried working again for a bit but was still having struggles, so I sat in the shade again where I cooled off, drank deep -- and threw up my breakfast.
So, remembering my old Boy Scout training, I figured I had two of three symptoms (no shooting pains) of a traditional heart attack and decided to have myself checked.
At first there were no red flags on the EKG, but then something started showing up, and the local EMTs transported me to Thunderbird Hospital in Glendale. My wife, Debbie, happened to be with me on the trip (and on the Habitat-for-Humanity build). She told me later that they first told her about my needing a stent and I would be out in a few hours. Easy.
By the time we were through I had six bypasses. I have since heard that the hospital I managed to get to ranks among the top five in the nation -- and its record was seven bypasses at one time. Darnnit! I almost matched the record! (Although, I'd just as soon not have been in that particular competition.)
It turns out that the surgeon, too, was one of the best in his field. What are the odds?
If you're interested, here's a quick look at the anatomy of a bypass operation, it's really quite fascinating:
Getting checked out by the EMTs.
Off to the hospital for Rich.
Getting to the heart of the matter, Rich undergoes a sextuple bypass.
Recuperating from bypass surgery.
By the way, if you're among the many designers working on medical equipment, of whatever kind, thanks.