By Ted Slowik
Around 9 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 17, I started having chest pains. Not sharp pains--more like someone squeezing the breath out of me. I tasted blood. I'd never felt that before but didn't know if it was serious or something like a cramp that might pass. After about 10 minutes, I asked my wife to call 911. I just had a feeling.
When we got to the hospital I heard one paramedic tell the other, "They called it," which I knew meant a code blue. The last thing I remember was being wheeled into the ER on a stretcher and having my chest shaved. Then blackness. Then I woke up at 9 a.m. Tuesday with no memory of what had happened during the past 12 hours.
Mine was scheduled for Tuesday.
So thanks, everyone, for the many prayers and well-wishes. I'm going to get better in time but some serious damage was done and I'm going to have to rest for a couple more weeks. I now wear my own portable AED that's supposed to shock my heart back to life should I have another heart attack in the middle of the night! I'm going to exercise more, eat better and take meds to help with cholesterol and blood pressure, and I'm through smoking for good this time.
I especially want to thank the Joliet paramedics, everyone in the ER and all the staff at St. Joe's who helped save my life. Thanks Chaplain Dan for comforting my family when it looked really bad, and thanks Fr. Brad from St. Ray's for the prayers. Thanks to all my family for their love and support, Kev, and especially Jo, Hannah and Noah for having to put up with me a while longer.
Life becomes a lot more meaningful when you realize every day is a gift.