Before my Heart Surgery

surgery heart
Heart Model

Heart surgery – What’s going on? At 3:00 AM, my breathing was painful; Not being able to catch my breath. I sat up on the edge of my bed, trying to catch my breath, which helped a little. Smoking a cigarette made me feel worse. I got up for a minute to get a glass of water. I sat down in my recliner and relaxed until I felt like I could go back to sleep, which I did. The alarm went off at 6:00 AM. I got up, got ready for work, ate some breakfast, and lit a cigarette. Smoking made me feel queasy. I sat in my recliner again and relaxed, waiting for the time to go to work, just waiting.

Time at Work

The workday started at 7:00 AM, and I didn’t feel very well. I did my job for about an hour and decided I should go home for the day. The office was upstairs, going to the office. I wanted to tell them I wasn’t feeling well and found it was difficult to climb the stairs. I sat in a chair in the office, trying to catch my breath. Breathing was still difficult. After a while, one of my coworkers said I didn’t look well and that my skin was an unhealthy grey color. While I was sitting waiting, I decided my discomfort would not go away by itself and asked if I could get someone to drive me to the InstaCare.

Ready for the Hospital

At around 9:00 AM, I got permission from the general manager to have someone drive me to the InstaCare. During the drive, I lit another cigarette. Not a smart thing to do. I could not catch my breath; I threw the smoke out the window of the car. We got to the Insta Care, and they told me it would be awhile before it was my turn. I sat there with my co-worker–Just Waiting.

After around forty minutes, they called me into the examination room and eventually hooked me up to an EKG machine. The doctor performed the EKG test and examined the test output. He said the test showed nothing unusual but was concerned about my symptoms. He referred me to a cardiologist for further assessment.

Cardiology for the Heart

We drove to the cardiologist’s office and went inside. The waiting room was full of patients. I had to fill out all the required paperwork before I could see the doctor. Eventually, I was taken into an examination room and hooked up to another EKG machine. This time, the results were more conclusive. The doctor told me I had a heart attack.

Going to the Hospital

dixie ambulance surgery heart
Dixie Ambulance

At around 10:30 AM, the doctor called for an ambulance. Next, I went to the hospital for treatment. My treatment included nitroglycerin and morphine. The medications relieved the pain, and I could catch my breath for the first time in several hours. After a while, they admitted me to the hospital as an inpatient. Myocardial infarction caused pain.

Time Warp

DRMC surgery heart
Dixie Regional Medical Center

From this point on, time became irrelevant to me, with the exception that it seemed to go by slowly. The hospital in St. George, UT, wasn’t equipped to perform heart surgery. I was life-flighted to Salt Lake City and scheduled for open-heart surgery. An important fact about this event is; to perform an angiogram, they insert a catheter into the femoral artery at the groin. Because the Doctors in St. George weren’t sure if the Doctors In Salt Lake City would need to do another angiogram, they left the catheter in my artery. Leaving the catheter in my artery made it necessary for me to remain as still as possible and flat on my back.

Life Flight

Life Flight surgery heart

The flight to Salt Lake wasn’t eventful, with one exception. I was being given an injection of morphine when the aircraft hit an air pocket. The morphine got injected too quickly. When I arrived in Salt Lake, there were no beds in the LDS hospital; I stayed one night in Saint Marks Hospital. I couldn’t get surgery in Saint Marks Hospital because the insurance wouldn’t cover it, so I–Just Waited.

LDS Hospital heart

Eventually, I was transported to the LDS hospital by ambulance and scheduled for open-heart surgery. The elapsed time for these events was about forty-eight hours.


In this writing exercise, I am supposed to describe my surroundings and my feelings. I don’t think I entirely made the mark. I don’t think anyone who reads this will quite get the utter sense of desperation and anxiety I was feeling at the time of my heart attack. There is much more to this story that I may write another day.

Thanks for reading. I know I’m not very good at writing, but these exercises help me become a better writer.

Additional Reading


Hello. I was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. I lived for a few months in Southern California. I now live in Saint George, Utah. For more information about me, click on My History or About Me in the menu.