My first hint of trouble came while playing a game of lawn tennis on January 2nd 2013. I started feeling as though I had indigestion and exhaustion at the same time. I did not even suspect that I was having a silent heart attack. Nevertheless, I got off the court and decided that that was enough tennis for one day. – G. Boodram
The next day I decided to visit my doctor as I was still not feeling well. I was told that I needed to do a stress test and a Transthoractic Echocardiogram to determine what the problem was, as it turned out that there was indeed an arrhythmia issue with my heart. In the meantime, I did some blood work and this showed sufficient amounts of a certain enzyme to confirm that I had in fact suffered a heart attack. An ECG and angiogram at St. Clair were scheduled and finally a comprehensive diagnosis, which stated: my left main coronary artery was calcified and bifurcated (by 50%), left descending coronary artery 80% blockage, circumflex 70% blockage, right coronary artery 80% blockage. So in a nutshell, I had blocked arteries. Angioplasty was not a solution so the obvious decision was that I needed to undergo a CABG (Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting) procedure at Mt. Hope on March 7th. This began my journey into uncharted territory. I must say though, from the onset I felt safe and comfortable; CHCm (Caribbean Heart Care Medcorp Ltd.) handled me with absolute professionalism and civility. I thought to myself that if I had to have such major surgery I was lucky to be having it done by them.
For the next two months I prepared for surgery by following a series of well- orchestrated activities outlined by CHCm to enhance my chances of success. I will just name a few: taking different medication, giving blood so many times (you get to know the word, “phlebotomist”, whether you want to or not), meeting with various personnel such as dietitians and physiotherapists and the actual surgeons who will eventually operate on me, as well as doing ECG’s and chest X-rays. After a while, all my anxiety started to abate because I couldn’t help but appreciate how thorough and professional things were being handled to ensure my operation was a success.
I was admitted into Mt. Hope’s Hibiscus Suite the day before the actual operation to prepare mentally for the surgery. I also had to shave off all the hair on my body. The next day I was wheeled into the operating theatre where about five masked doctors began preparing me. They hooked me up to various computers and stuck and inserted various tubes and syringes all over my body. To be honest, at this time I felt like a pin cushion and lamented the fact that I allowed myself to be put into such a compromising position all because I refused to stop smoking – which was a major factor which contributed to the clogged arteries. Next came the anesthetic, I was told to count backwards from twenty. I remember thinking …well if the next time I open my eyes and see a ceiling then I would know that I had made it …if not …well …I never got to that other option so I don’t know. I remember reaching seventeen and then nothingness, I have no memory whatsoever of anything after that.
I did see the ceiling of the ICU about three hours later so I knew, “I made it.” I felt no pain just a slight numbness in my chest. I looked at the bandages on my chest and then as the effects of the anesthetic began to wear off, everything came back. The nurses and doctors were superlatively kind and thoroughly professional and I recall telling someone there that their gentle, reassuring voice sounded like an angel, as this was the first sound I heard in my semi-drugged state after coming out of surgery. The Chief Surgeon visited me and assured me that everything had gone well and that I had nothing to worry about. This was indeed music to my ears! Certain procedures were performed on me including a good ‘sponging-off’, doing exercises for the physiotherapist and much to my relief the removal of certain apparatus from my body. I was then wheeled to the HDU (High Dependency Unit) to complete my recovery.
At the HDU I again experienced the workings of the well oiled and rehearsed machinery of CHCm. Everything there was geared up, in every possible way, to aid in the quick recovery and convalescence of its patients. I cooperated fully with the staff; they delivered food on time, administered medications round-the-clock and generally gave loving care to all the patients who were in recovery. I didn’t even flinch too much or cry out too loudly when they stuck the needles sadistically (maybe too harsh a word) into my stomach to administer the liquid iron medication.
I began to feel I will be able to go home soon and continue my recuperation, before long the day came when I was discharged. I was given a load of medication and instructions, a final thorough examination, an EEG and a session with the physiotherapist. All the rest of it was dealt with by my loved ones for I was just yearning to get home and couldn’t be bothered with details at that time. On reaching home I had my first real bath and after sitting around and chatting with my loved ones I knew that my ordeal was finally over.
With respect to the team of doctors and other personnel at CHCm, I guess that I can sing their praises in many ways but to make things simple and succinct I would say this, “If I had to do any major heart surgery again and had the choice of any medical team in the world I would choose them without a moment’s hesitation. End of story! Thank you CHCm.”