By Tehniyet Azam
Heart disease is something that is not taken seriously until it hits home. Personally, I took it very lightly until I was wheeling my grandmother in the emergency room with all kinds of machines attached to her; the paramedics told the emergency room doctors that she was having a massive heart attack.
May 31st, 2011 was one of the most horrible days for us because that was the day when all the problems started for my grandmother who I was very close to and at that time I couldn’t imagine my life without her. That day I learned to never take any symptom lightly and especially for women; heart attacks are silent killers. I went to visit her in Chicago as she called me two days before and told me that she misses me and wants to see me. I took the next flight out and was there in no time.
She had not been feeling herself when she called me to come visit her and in the morning of May 31st she was feeling very lethargic. She complained about having no energy to do anything which wasn’t like her. My grandmother was the type of person who was always energetic, who would get dressed up, have her makeup on, and was on the go but that day she wasn’t feeling it. She didn’t even go to the table for her breakfast; she wanted me to bring it to her in her room… I asked her if she wants me to drive her to her doctor and get her checked out. She refused. She just wanted me sitting with her and not to go anywhere. As the day progressed she started to feel stomach cramps. At that time she just took her stomach medications and didn’t let me or my uncle take her to the hospital. She thought it was food she ate last night. Her stomach pain continued and she started gagging and passed out. That’s when I had to call the ambulance and get her to the ER.
To this day I feel bad that I let her do what she wanted instead of calling for an ambulance sooner. She was having heart attacks all day and this one was massive. As soon as the paramedics arrived they hooked her up to all kinds of machines and I went to the hospital with them in the ambulance. The doctors tried their best and had to take her for an emergency CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Graft). Her heart was damaged and it was becoming difficult for the surgeons to fix it. They had to keep her open because she had a sternal infection that came up and she was in medically induced coma for days. I couldn’t leave her bed side because I knew that this was the last time I would see her. She later developed complications, contracted ARDS (Acute Respiratory Destress Syndrome) and on August 19th 2011 she left for the heavens, leaving us behind.
The last thing she told me before she passed out was that she wanted to see me before she left this world and I was happy to have been there for her. Heart disease is a killer, please take care of your health and your loved ones because when they leave that’s when you realize who they were and how much they truly meant to you. It has been more than six years and I still feel guilty for not calling the ambulance at the right time.