Life is a Contact Sport


Last Sunday I suffered another heart attack. Around 9am I felt that tightening in my chest. I was home out on the porch watching the serenity unfold around me, morphing into bird calls and the hummingbird ballet. My pain was great enough for me to retreat to the bedroom.

I turned on the TV and was watching an episode of Daniel Boone I hadn’t seen before. My pain increased, but honestly I wanted to wait until the  show ended to witness it’s exciting conclusion.

Then I told Nancy I needed to be driven to the hospital. This is a hospital we’d not been to, but I knew where it was. As she drove, Nancy did her best imitation of my driving style. She passed a neighbor with her emergency lights on and her headlights flickering on and off to get their attention. Then she channeled my spirit as she passed an RV across a double yellow line, repeating this action, speeding past a truck pulling a boat.

Needless to say, as I slumped in the passenger seat, we arrived in a timely fashion to the hospital. The emergency room entrance was hidden, but we eventually found it. There was a button to press and a voice responded with the question, “Can we help you, what’s your emergency?”

Nancy told the receptionist I had chest pain. They opened that steel door  quickly and admitted me, as Nancy gave them all the necessary insurance cards.

Dr. Howe and nurse Dawn responded swiftly placing me on a gurnee, setting it up with fluids, testing my vitals, and securing me for the EKG test. Everything happened in literally a heart beat… the efficency was surprising for a small rural hospital.

After the EKG Dr. Howe determined it was necessary to call the flight for life service offered in most rural areas in Idaho. I asked the insurance person, Jess, if my insurance covered the flight for life. She said it didn’t but that we could sign up right now and it would cover the flight.

I asked, “How much would it cost?”She said,” Seventy Five dollars.” Then I asked, “How much would it cost if I paid out of pocket for this life saving ride?” She said, ” It would cost twenty-five thousand.”

Needless to say I went with the seventy-five dollar charge. Within an hour the flight for life crew was on the helipad, ready to transport me to one of two hospitals. Either Sacred Heart in Spokane or Kootenai Heart Clinic in Coeur D’ Alene. I asked Dr. Howe, “Which hospital would you choose?” He said, “They’re both quality facilities.”

Well, between the two, weighing safety for Nancy and the better restaurants, I chose Coeur D’ Alene, and so the 45 minute life flight began.

The helicopter touched down on the roof of the Kootenai Heart Clinic in Coeur D’Alene. I was then put onto a portable gurnee and whisked away to my room at the hospital.

The single room was beautiful with a view of the trees quiet and relaxing. The doctor came in immediately with two nurses. The doctor, Dr. Jones, told me that he wanted me to be without pain. They gave me some painkillers that stopped the pain. I was amazed at the quality and speed of their attention to my health.

Later that afternoon I asked Emily, the nurse, if I could have some food. She gave me a menu with 40 items to choose from. Everything from Wild Caught Salmon to pasta, and a Mediterranean salad were included in the choices.

Anyway, the next day I had the surgery around 7:45am. The doctor afterwords told me he placed a stent in my widowmaker artery thereby unclogging the clogged artery.

That same day the doctor offered an option for me to stay or leave the hospital. Needless to say I left and went to a hotel in Coeur D’ Alene and then to a restaurant, just like nothing had happened.

Don’t take life for granted. You never know when circumstances can change placing you at Heaven’s Door.