Chest pains

February 10, 2013 at 10:49 PM 21 comments

I had a very interesting weekend, to say the least. Let me start at the beginning.

On Friday, Feb 8, as you all know we had the beginning of a huge snow storm that lasted all Friday and into the night. That morning I got up and went outside to shovel snow and get the vehicles cleared off. I started to clear the snow from behind the car De-Ann drives and then she came outside and had to leave. After she left I continued to clear away all the snow on that side of our driveway. Then I did the walkway and stairs. Went inside to get the kids dressed and ready to go to daycare.

We looked outside only 20 minutes later and you couldn’t even tell I had shovelled the driveway. That’s how much snow had fallen. Crazy!

After the kids were all dressed in their winter gear we went outside to a very warm van. I continued to clear away the snow from the walkway and the stairs so the kids wouldn’t slip. Then we all quickly got in the van and took off for daycare.

On our trip to daycare, the wipers started to accumulate ice on them. About 5 minutes into our drive I stopped and knocked off the ice from the wipers. This was my first episode of chest pains. It was sharp but only lasted for a thirty seconds. I had skipped breakfast so I thought to myself, “this is what it feels like to not have breakfast.” I thought to myself “note to self, never skip breakfast again. This feels awful.” I jumped back in the van and continued on our way. Further down the road the the ice started to build up again, so at the next stop light I go out and knocked the ice of the wipers again. This time the pain hit me so hard I started to feel like I couldn’t breath. Again it only lasted thirty seconds or so and I was off again.

Meanwhile the kids both had brought some card games with them for “show and share” at their daycare, and both of them had opened the packaging and had the cards all over the van. Faith was telling on Shawn and Shawn started to get upset. It was chaos. But I continued to travel to the daycare.

When I arrived at the daycare, I got out of the van and opened the door on Shawn’s side and saw he had let all his cards but four fall all over the floor of the van. By this time the pain in my chest was becoming unbearable but I pressed through it to help Shawn clean up the cards and pick him out of the van–even though he didn’t want my help. Then I told him to go to the sidewalk and wait for me. He didn’t want to, but finally he listened. Then I went over to the other side of the van to get Faith out and of course she had let all her cards out of the packaging and they were half on her lap in her chair and on the floor. I really wanted to sit down but I knew I needed to get her out of the van and into her class. I rested by holding onto her carseat with both hands and leaning my head on it. She proceeded to pat my head. Eventually I got up enough strength to help her collect all her cards and lift her out of the van and I got them both to walk to the front door of the daycare. Punched in the code and walked in the front door. The pain was more than I could handle by this time and I felt like I couldn’t catch my breath so I sat on the chair right by the door. I told Faith to go get undressed herself and I would be there soon. I was breathing very quickly and erratically and the pain in the chest was getting worse. The manager of the daycare saw I was in stress and asked if she could call an ambulance. I told her no, that I just needed to catch my breath. [Boy was I wrong!]

By this time Faith was all dressed and came back to where I was sitting to say good-bye. She gave my leg a hug. Shawn the whole time was standing right beside me holding onto my leg. The manager knew I needed help even though I didn’t want it and called 911. By this time other teachers from different classrooms showed up to help and took Shawn to his classroom. He didn’t want to go, but I was thankful they took both kids to their classrooms.

The pain was impossible and I could barely sit anymore and I finally asked the manager of the daycare if I could lay on the floor in her office. Of course she allowed me to.

One thing I don’t want to forget to mention, one of the mothers asked me which van was mine and went out and turned off the van and brought me the keys and my cell phone. That is so amazing because if I had not had my cell I wouldn’t have been able to text and call the people I did to inform them about what was going to happen next…

The next thing I saw was a fireman starring me in the face asking me all kinds of questions. Then the paramedics showed up and next thing I knew I was taking my first ride in an ambulance [I can mark that off my bucket list]. They took me to the nearest hospital as I was connected to an ECG machine and oxygen mask. My paramedics were amazing, Kevin was the guy who worked with me as Audra drove. When we arrived at the hospital I wasn’t in any pain anymore but they wanted to make sure I was admitted into the ER. I laid on that stretcher for a bit more than an hour. Of course I took the time to get to know my paramedics. They are two amazing people, Kevin is a full time fireman and does the paramedics job on his days off and obviously a work-aholic. Audra has been a paramedic for 24 years and still loves doing it.

I finally was admitted to the ER and they put me in a bed where I had my first of 12 needles that weekend [I like to call them pokes]. By this time De-Ann had arrived from downtown. Unfortunately when she got the call I was going to the hospital she was just getting off the train. And the next train or bus was going to be at least 30 minutes. So she took a taxi which was the fastest way to get to me and the most expensive.

The two of us waited for the results of my first test or blood work. We met with the ER doctor and he told us that usually the first test will show very little and we would be repeating blood work again in six hours! [Yes, you heard that right. Six hours!] But he did say that with the story I described and the results from the first test, the second test would not show anything and we would be free to go home. We did the second test six hours later as he suggested. Then an hour later he told us the news. Not what we expected at all, and from his reaction, not what he expected either.

The results where that I had enzymes in my blood quite a bit above the level I should which usually means something is serious going on within my heart that needed to be looked at. He told us this news and then said “I am sorry but you are not going anywhere.” I was floored, I was thinking we were both going to go home and relax until we needed to pick up the kids. [Again, I was wrong]. Next thing you know I am being admitted to the hospital, not for a day but for four.

I almost forgot, the nurses in the ER were amazing but the poked me another four times before I went upstairs to my room. I waited for a bed for another four hours. While I was waiting I had both of the paramedics come and visit me before I was shipped upstairs. Great to see them both again and get a chance to introduce them to De-Ann.

The story from here gets interesting. I find out that I am going to do some more tests and meet with a cardiologist. I think by this time I am feeling like I am in the Twilight Zone. The whole idea of being in the hospital for my heart was surreal. I have no other way to describe it.

After a restless night sleep I am greeted by a nurse who wants to take my blood again. Then a few hours later I finally have the conversation with the cardiologist. Nice enough guy but not good news. He told me that they were going to schedule an angiogram for me on Monday and until then they are going to monitor me and continue to do blood tests. Uggh. As I am writing this I have had 12 pokes and I feel and look like a pin cushion. Even my daughter, Faith, was pointing at all my marks where they poked me and said “Daddy are those boo-boos?”

I saw the cardiologist again this morning (Sunday) and he had good news and bad news. Good news was that he did one of the many blood tests on me to see if I had a blood clot in my lungs. The test came back proving I didn’t [yeah]. The bad news was that means my issue was either a heart attack or a blockage in one of the arteries of my heart. He was leaning toward the blockage. But again this was an educated guess. The truth will be found when he does my angiogram. So I wait.

Here I am the night before my angiogram and sit here sharing with all of you my adventure so far. Please pray with me as I go into this procedure and try to be at peace.

One last thing, I was so blessed by so many amazing people during this ordeal, all the medical professionals (Patrice, Ashley, Blayne, Sophie, Patricia, Jan, Sheryl, Crista), my neighbour (Ryan) as he cleared our driveway with the help of one of my friends (Glen) from our small group who drove all the way from Brampton. Another neighbour (Michelle) who drove with De-Ann to go get the van from the daycare. Still more of our neighbours (Paul, John, Ryan) who helped De-Ann get through the snow to park the van. One of our special friends (Denita) who took care of the kids while De-Ann visited me in the hospital and ran around getting the van, my stuff, etc. Another one of our amazing friends (Glen & Nadine) who took care of the kids while De-Ann visited me today (Sunday). And of course all the staff (Deric, Max, DJ, Aaron, Donnette, Denita, Diane) at the church I work with, they have been so supportive and loving and shown me true care and love. And so great to have them all visit me this weekend. Not to mention all the amazing people at my church who called, emailed or texted me during this whole adventure. And continue to do so. And last but certainly not least my family, my Dad, sisters Joy and Linette and my brother Paul and Phil. And of course my own family, my two kids Faith and Shawn and my best friend in the world, love of my life and my Sweetie: De-Ann. I am so blessed to have such an amazing wife!

Entry filed under: City Centre, Family, Friends, Our House, Small Groups. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Dead balloon Chest pains updated

21 Comments Add your own

  • 1. followersjourny  |  February 11, 2013 at 7:44 AM

    What a story! We are praying for your recovery my dear brother. Love you! P

    • 2. Andrew DeGraaf  |  February 14, 2013 at 2:13 PM

      Thank you Paul. So glad to have you both visit the other day. I just loved your prayer. It meant so much.

  • 3. followersjourny  |  February 11, 2013 at 7:45 AM

    Praying for you my dear brother! P

  • 5. Lynn Van Halteren  |  February 11, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Oh Andrew! That truly was an ordeal! Brought tears to my eyes thinking of you and your lovely family. Praying for God’s blessing in all of this and for you to have peace in the process. Thankyou for sharing with such a caring thankful heart. You are a very special man.
    Love and Blessings to you and your family.
    Lynn Van Halteren

    • 6. Andrew DeGraaf  |  February 14, 2013 at 2:10 PM

      Hi Lynn. Thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, it was quite the ordeal, but I am glad it was caught early and I was taken care of.

  • 7. benreed (@benreed)  |  February 11, 2013 at 10:56 AM

    Praying for you right now!

    • 8. Andrew DeGraaf  |  February 14, 2013 at 2:11 PM

      Thank you Ben. I do appreciate your prayers. They made a great deal of difference along with the many others who prayed.

  • 9. Samantha  |  February 11, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    Hi Andrew & De-Ann,
    Praying for you during this time – I know you are trusting in God and I stand with you believing that He is in control and that He will give you peace. Tough situations like this one can really shake us up but they also give us a chance to see how many people truly care! I pray for wisdom for your doctors and nurses and that you will feel so very loved during this time that there won’t even be room for worry, just thankfulness for the blessings around you and a renewed perspective of how precious life truly is! Praying for a good report and a speedy recovery.

    • 10. Andrew DeGraaf  |  February 14, 2013 at 2:16 PM

      Thank you for the encouraging note Samantha. As you probably have figured from my most recent post I have been showered with care, love and support by so many people. I truly feel cared for. Thanks for your prayer too.

  • 11. denise  |  February 11, 2013 at 11:20 AM

    Glad you are being cared for so well. I am thankful to be off work and able to come to visit you. You are in our prayers. Lots of love, denise

    • 12. Andrew DeGraaf  |  February 14, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      Your visit was so amazing. I told De-Ann after you left “I just love those guys” and she said “yup, me too.” I am so glad you guys are finding your way in this next chapter in your life. I’ll be praying for Paul. Love you both.

      • 13. denisedegraaf  |  February 15, 2013 at 11:11 PM

        Your words were a blessing to us too! Thank you. Hope you are taking it easy and enjoying this time to be set apart. I have been thinking about the “discipline of rest” as we have had this time off. God has this time carved out for you – so enjoy it and rest in the everlasting arms that are underneath. hugs, denise

  • 14. B & L & E & B & J  |  February 11, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    Thanks for the update….praying for Drs wisdom and quick recovery…

    • 15. Andrew DeGraaf  |  February 14, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      Thanks for your prayers guys. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my blog. Come back again.

  • 16. Cathereine McGlashing  |  February 12, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    That is quite a story,and very thourough! I had a heart attack years ago and spent two days in the ICU at Brantford General hooked up to machines! My hubby drove me up in our car! I like all the smart people God placed at your aid even at the school! You have a journey ahead of you,but God has already got you through the worst! Will keep praying for you and your family!

    • 17. Andrew DeGraaf  |  February 14, 2013 at 2:23 PM

      Yes, I refer to the whole experience as my God-story. God had worked everything out so that I would not be at home by myself (the daycare was the only place open even with all the snow). I didn’t have the heart attack until I reached the school. And the manager of the school was smart enough to call 911. Thank you for your prayers.

  • 18. Betty Maini  |  February 12, 2013 at 10:58 PM

    Hi Andrew, sorry to heat of the medical issues you are dealing with but glad you have good people around you so you are here to tellus about it. My thoughts are with you.

    • 19. Andrew DeGraaf  |  February 14, 2013 at 2:25 PM

      Thank you Betty for your comment. I am just thankful the issues are over and I’m on the road to recovery.

  • 20. lista de email  |  March 11, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    thanks very much for this great post! i had a lot of interesting thoughts while reading this which i might just put into action right away. thanks. lista de email lista de email lista de email lista de email lista de email

    • 21. Andrew DeGraaf  |  March 17, 2013 at 6:21 PM

      I am so glad my post has been helpful. Please stop by again soon.


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