Thanks to heart attack, no Tennessee game
By Doug Halberstadt
“The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” Nothing closer to that truth could describe my Labor Day weekend.
The plans were to take my 9-year-old daughter to her first-ever big-time college football game. As many loyal readers to this column know, she and I were supposed to be watching the Tennessee Volunteers open their 2010 football season in Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn., Saturday evening, Sept. 4. Those were the plans.
We left Friday evening after work and made it to Indianapolis before calling it a night. We were up bright and early Saturday morning, and we finished with breakfast and were back on the road actually 3 minutes ahead of the mental schedule I was on. Everything was going smoothly.
It was a beautiful day, and the forecast for the game that evening was perfect. Then, all of a sudden, somewhere between Cincinnati and Lexington, Ky., a dark cloud came over us. I started not to feel well.
My daughter, Meredith, said: “Dad, are you OK? You are sweating.” The fact of the matter was, I was not feeling OK. Now, some 30 hours later, I learned I was having a heart attack. I had the classic symptoms—dizziness, rapid heart rate, tightness in my chest, and tingling in my arms and fingers. Thankfully, I had heard these were signs of heart trouble.
I was in an unfamiliar area. I had no idea where the nearest clinic or hospital was. Fortunately, the very next exit had a blue sign with a white “H.” I exited immediately, and followed those signs and drove straight there.
When I went into the emergency room, they instantly saw something was wrong and put me in a wheel chair and wheeled me back into a room all the while trying to get information from me. They were awesome. A whirlwind of activity ensued. There was a team of nurses and the emergency room physician right by my side within seconds.
They started an IV and administered a drug to slow my heart rate from 257 beats per minute back down to 72 beats per minute all within about 90 seconds. They suggested I be transported via ambulance to the bigger hospital in the county.
That is where I’m writing this column from, I’m in my room No. 1125 at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Edgewood, Ky. After a battery of blood tests and EKGs, I was told I had a myocardial infarction, more commonly known as a heart attack.
Meredith and I never made it to Knoxville yesterday. According to the cardiologist, that was a good thing. He said had I tried to continue on, I could have caused a lot more damage or even worse.
Tomorrow, I’m having an angiogram to determine the next step in the treatment plan.
I did hear that Tennessee won 50-0. That has a certain way of easing some of the disappointment.
So, there aren’t any pictures of Meredith standing on the huge T in the middle of the field or any close-up photos of the team to go along with this column. But the good news is, I hope we’ll get to try again some day!
Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at Dougster61@aol.com.
From the Sept. 8-14, 2010 issue
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