May 21, 2015

When My Heart Stopped

Two nights ago I had the second serious chest pain issue within a month, which seriously kicked my ass, sending me to the local E.R.

When my heart stopped and I died for 2:32 minutes on Christmas Eve, 2008, it was a monumental turning point in my life. Although it took quite a bit of time for me to make visible changes to the way I was living, it was nevertheless the point at which I decided to leave my then-husband and start living a fulfilling life.

I spent nearly a year doing everything I was told to do by my doctors, one of which was an impatient and frustrated cardiologist. He had done every test on me that he could possibly bill to my insurance, including an echocardiogram, stress tests and an angiogram. I was diagnosed with a heart murmur and atrial fibrillation.

Over the years I've not seen another cardiologist because of my miserable experience with him. This doctor admitted me to the hospital on Christmas Eve to have me wait until December 26 for my angiogram, which is how I happened to be revived so quickly when my heart stopped. Since then I've had to visit an emergency room from time to time with chest pain, but I've avoided seeing a cardiologist again.

I didn't want to stop traveling, so I convinced myself to believe nothing was wrong with me.

Over the past few years, I had been discounting these episodes as "nothing serious" because I've not had a heart attack. Each time I visit the hospital the doctors explain it isn't a heart attack and send me home. I've completely dismissed their instructions to follow up with a cardiologist, until last night.

Dr. Corson looks stunningly like Bradley Cooper, but with huge, green eyes that matched his olive scrubs. He's an intense man, and as he stood over me as I lay in the hospital bed, he kindly explained with precision the dynamics of emergency room treatment. Over the 8 hour visit other nurses and staff bustled about, meeting my needs and asking pointed questions about how I was feeling. At the end of my ordeal Dr. Bradley Cooper returned to tell me I had not had a heart attack, but there were other symptoms they recorded that needed to be addressed by a cardiologist.

Dr. Bradley Cooper, with his green-eyed severity, seemed to wake me up in a very real way.

After a few phone calls and some records shared, I managed to schedule a cardiologist appointment in San Diego on June 29th.

My summer on the road will take a pause until I get released to freely ride again. I hope to get back on the road by the end of July and head to Sturgis, but I don't know yet. I'm not making any plans other than to stay in San Diego under my doctor's care until I know it's safe to go. My only plan is to leave Boise tomorrow for Pocatello, ID for a night or two, then onto Jackson, WY for a couple of nights. After that we are heading to Dever, CO via I 80, then dropping down through Fort Collins.

I don't know what date we are leaving Denver, or a route from Denver to San Diego yet. We still have plenty of time to think about it. That's all I know about any plans.

I also know that I am heartbroken in more ways than one.


  1. Tina, sorry to hear you've been having heart issues. That's some pretty scary stuff. Do what your doctor tells you...even if you don't like it. You want to be around to watch your grandchild grow up. :-) ~Curt

  2. Good news you will be back in SD soon but YOU NEED TO KEEP FOLLOWING UP WITH YOUR CARDIOLOGIST!!

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  3. Oh, Sash, I'm so sorry. However, I'm also glad that you are going to be addressing this issue, at long last. Take care of yourself, dear friend. See you in SD. :)

  4. Glad your ok....listen to the doc and take it easy so you can finish what you started.

  5. Hang in there Sash! Take counsel from your doctors and be a good girl. You've got a date with ScooterBob as soon as you're up to it.

  6. Glad you are okay and it wasn't a heart attack.

    I am surprised at how far out they scheduled your cardiologist appointment though. But, it does give you more riding in the meantime.

    Take care of yourself. Big hugs.

  7. No more tacos for you young lady! Start eating well. I, too, have a heart problem since my rheumatic fever days. I have been fighting it all my life. Not until recently, have I change my diet to a life term deal. It has now brought all my numbers down and in the good zone. Stroke was inevitable if I did not change. It is all up to you kiddo. Glad you are okay and start the green jeans diet whether you like it or not. Be a good girl ;)

  8. Sash, I understand your frustration at not getting on with your summer riding. I recently took my first long solo journey, and what a resurrection of my middle-aged spirit that was! I hope the cardiologist visit is uneventful. I have a grade 1 heart murmur that fortunately has been static since 1990 and symptomless. Leading candidate for my "real" bike is the V Star Custom, so I've thoroughly enjoyed following your journeys!


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