October 19, 2009
I haven't posted in a while because this last Saturday my brother Bill had a heart attack. I have just been walking around in a state of disbelief and shock. As you can see in this photo of him this is not the picture of someone you could have imagined just had a heart attack. He is fit, doesn't drink or smoke and eats healthy. He runs regularly and surfs often and is a very successful litigation attorney. The doctor said most likely it was genetic and our family history is the only key. My father had heart problems and my grandfather had a heart attack at 65 but they both drank too much and smoked. Bill never did any of these things so we never could have believed he would have a heart attack at 55. I wanted to write down his symptoms here because they were so subtle and important for everyone to be aware of. He started to have some mild pain about a month ago when he would run. He said he thought it was heartburn, but what was weird is my brother said prior to this he never had heartburn so he didn't really know what regular heartburn felt like. He said the discomfort was above the sternum and felt like congestion and was somewhat painful but not crushing pain at all. Also a couple of times when he was running he would get nauseated all of a sudden, he would stop running and then it would go away in a few minutes. He did go to the doctor a week ago about the pain and they did a EKG. The doctor said there were some mild abnormalities but no emergency just make an appointment with his doctor to check it out. That was definitely a wrong call!! Saturday he started to have the pain and it wouldn't go away (before it always went away). It still wasn't that painful but thought he should get it checked out still thinking it was heartburn. He then called the ER and told the nurse his symptoms and she told him to come in right away. Good call!! She probably saved his life. The doctor told us yesterday that Saturday when he had the continuous pain was when he had the heart attack. Bill said the bizarre thing is the pain never got that severe and it wasn't crushing pain. He had the symptoms that women tend to get not men (that made for a few good jokes from my other two brothers). The next shocker came when the doctor said he had 5 blocked arteries and would need quintuple bypass surgery. We were all just stunned! My brother managed to take all this news in stride. He is an amazing person and has a real love for life which he has not lost even with all that he has he has gone through in the last few days. He is in good spirits and our whole family has been in his hospital room joking around and laughing with him everyday. I have 3 brothers that are hilarious when they get together which helps all of us deal with the stress of this. He has the quintuple bypass surgery in two days which the doctors say he should do really well since he is young and in great health besides the blocked arteries. We are so blessed for that.