I’ve had a few crazy and scary experiences in my life as a heart transplant patient. Some of them not as bad and some of them pretty life threatening. It can be pretty scary having these experiences especially when they could happen at any moment and even scarier when you have no symptoms leading up to it.
That’s what happened last year during the middle of July. I had just moved to a new town with my family and was exploring the new uncharted area. I found a nice skate park not far from my new home and was going there regularly during the summer, at least when the heat was tolerable. I got home around dusk that day at about 7:30-8:00pm, took a shower, and then turned on Pink Floyd and relaxed. I even ended up falling asleep. My father woke me from the nap to let me know he was going out to pick up my mother and that they’d be back soon.
A little after he left, my stomach began to feel really upset and I felt super light-headed. I’ve fainted before and I know when my body is telling me to sit down or I’m going to fall down and I kept getting that feeling. I knew that my father and mother weren’t going to be home for awhile and my little brother and sister were still downstairs watching TV. I didn’t want them to freak out and panic so I pulled myself together and focused on staying conscious. I sat on my bed listening to Pink Floyd with a plastic bag and a couple of water bottles.
After what seemed like hours (It was about 45 minutes) my parents final returned. I was in the bathroom again and I told them to call an ambulance. It arrived in about 5 minutes. The paramedics were very nice and helped me into a gurney and they got me downstairs and into the ambulance before rushing me to the hospital with my family following behind us in the car. We weren’t very far from the hospital so it didn’t take long at all.
When I arrived at the hospital, the doctors quickly began to try and figure out what was wrong. They checked my vitals and I remember the nurse saying, “Oh my, his heart rate is 25.” Those words echoed in my ear when I heard them. If my heart rate was really at 25 that meant it was only beating 25 times per minute and my brain wasn’t getting the oxygen it needed — that’s why I felt like I was going to faint. This all scared me because they also mentioned that my blood pressure was dangerously low as well. It felt like I was dying and it terrified me. I didn’t know if I was gonna make it out.
The doctors ended up using defibrillator pads to get my heart rate back to normal, literally shocking my heart, and got me stabilized enough to be flown by helicopter to my transplant team where I later received surgery for a pacemaker device in my chest. I was discharged after just a week in the ICU and have had a successful recovery since then. 🙂