I had a heart attack: Reflections

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SilentDawning
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I had a heart attack: Reflections

Post by SilentDawning »

In recent weeks I've been very disciplined in doing cardio and weight training at a local fitness center. At the end of my last workout, Black Friday, the day before my 59th birthday, I finished the abdominal crunch machine, and had this pain in my chest, started sweating profusely, felt nauseated, and could barely walk or talk. My heart and left arm throbbed and the pain was significant.

To make a long story short, I was having a heart attack. I made it to the hospital within about 1.5 hours of the onset of the attack (I didn't know what it was at first, or I would have gotten there faster). They managed to put a stent into a 100% blocked "LAD" [slang term -- "Widow Maker"] artery and got the blood flowing again. I was in intensive care for 4 days and am now released and on rest -- no driving allowed, no working allowed. Very impressed with how the cardio team assesmbled quickly (they were on-call and got to the hospital in 15 minutes) and how they were able to put the stent into the artery without cutting me open (they went through a groin artery making only a tiny, tiny hole in it).

I was impressed with how fast everyone worked to prevent death and fix the problem. They told me that based on the level of a protein in my blood, the attack was severe and could have led to death had I not gotten to the hospital as fast as I did.

You would think this would inspire thoughts of getting active in the church again, or a sense of being close to death etcetera. My daughter asked me if I was scared of dying during the ordeal. The answer is "no" to all these things. In fact, recently, I'd been praying that when its time to die, that it will be quick and sudden. For me, getting a testimony, getting on a mission, getting married, and having children were all REALLY HARD THINGS to accomplish in this life. My hope is that dying will be easy.

I guess my TBM testimony has weakened to the point I have confidence that all will be well in the next life even though I no longer pay tithing, hold a TR, wear garments or am active in the church.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

"The wise man has the power" -- adapted from What A Fool Believes -- The Doobie Brothers
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DarkJedi
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Re: I had a heart attack: Reflections

Post by DarkJedi »

Wow, scary experience. I am just slightly older than you, but think about this possibility from time to time. I am fortunate to live within 10-15 minutes of a "cardiac center" that gets regular awards for their care. The tech and treatment have come a long way in the last few years.

I think these sorts of experiences often cause us to "reflect" on our lives and mortality. I was expecting such a story of reflection from you when I began reading this post. I got that, just not exactly how I expected. Nevertheless I appreciate your perspective and feel pretty much the same. I sort of shocked my wife fairly recently when I said to her that death is not the worst thing that can happen. I also recently read a blog post that I won't link here because it borders on anti with its negativity. Bit one of the points was that the church tends to prey on our beliefs in the afterlife and if we don't toe the line now we won't be with our eternal families and/or in the CK. I agree with the blogger, and I'm not particularly concerned. I can't say I'm ready to die, but I'm not afraid of it either (and like you I only hope it's quick).
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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SilentDawning
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Re: I had a heart attack: Reflections

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DarkJedi wrote: 02 Dec 2022, 05:41 Wow, scary experience. I am just slightly older than you, but think about this possibility from time to time. I am fortunate to live within 10-15 minutes of a "cardiac center" that gets regular awards for their care. The tech and treatment have come a long way in the last few years.
I think it's wise to know how to get there expeditiously in case something happens and there is no one to drive you. It had been nagging me in the previous weeks to determine where the closest hospital was, and to drive it once so I could get there fast if need be. I never did it, but fortunately, my wife was available to drive me to a walk-in clinic whose staff called an ambulance and got me there.
I shocked my wife fairly recently when I said to her that death is not the worst thing that can happen.
I agree. Disability, incontinence, indignity, dementia, paralysis, nervous system issues, having to rely on family members for everything -- those things can be worse than death. Upon reflection, I realized how close we all are to death. The Left Anterior Descening Artery(LAD) that was blocked is only about 3.5mm in diameter. That's how far away from death we are when that artery is wide open and working properly!

Upon reflection, I learned what a heart attack is and how you can be sentient and aware one moment, and then dead the next. I used to think that a heart attack was severe pain in your heart for 5-7 minutes after which you either keel over dead or it stops. I learned that it can last for hours (as it did with me) and how at any moment I could go from talking to my wife and the medical people to being dead. At one point I found myself passing out (you know, the weird taste on your lips, light-headedness), but it passed. I was also told that many people call the ambulance and die before it gets there, or get to the ambulance and die on the way to the hospital. Or make it to the hospital but die during imaging of the heart and prep for the necessary procedure. I was fortunate to make it through all those phases.
I also recently read a blog post that I won't link here because it borders on anti with its negativity. But one of the points was that the church tends to prey on our beliefs in the afterlife and if we don't toe the line now we won't be with our eternal families and/or in the CK. I agree with the blogger, and I'm not particularly concerned. I can't say I'm ready to die, but I'm not afraid of it either (and like you I only hope it's quick).
I wouldn't say they "prey" on our beliefs -- that makes it sound predatory and with impure motives. I believe that at heart, the leaders at the top mean well and think they are helping others find peace in this life. But the prospect of death and its uncertainty is a major carrot or stick (depending how you look at it) in the Book of Mormon in particular.

One thing I realized is that I'm ready to pass on to the next world. I have achieved a lot in this life (PhD, several Master's Degrees, several decades of service in the church and community, successful career, held a marriage together, raised two adult kids) and life doesn't seem to have the same allure it once had -- I've experienced everything significant I have wanted to experience. I am very curious about what will happen after death since that has been a major mystery all these years.

I do hope it doesn't result in more vagueness about our fate after this earthly life is over.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

"The wise man has the power" -- adapted from What A Fool Believes -- The Doobie Brothers
Old-Timer
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Re: I had a heart attack: Reflections

Post by Old-Timer »

I am glad you still are with us, my friend. That is a scary experience. Thanks for your perspective and for sharing it with us.

I am old enough to consider this, especially since my own father died at 19 years older than I am now. It also is likely I will die before my wife does.

I am not scared of death, nor do I look forward to it. It will happen when it happens, and I will try to postpone it as long as possible - depending on my overall health. I have no desire to continue to live just in order not to die.

Will I continue to live as an individual after I die? I don’t know, but I hope so. That is my faith (hope in the unseen), and that is enough.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken
Roy
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Re: I had a heart attack: Reflections

Post by Roy »

I am truly glad that you are ok friend.
SilentDawning wrote: 02 Dec 2022, 08:00 I do hope it doesn't result in more vagueness about our fate after this earthly life is over.
Administrator: Good morning SD!
SD: Where am I?
Administrator: This is the afterlife.
SD: It looks like a cubicle.
Administrator: It is, we believe in staying busy. Idle hands are the Devil's workshop.
SD: What am I supposed to do?
Administrator: Process TPS reports. All the steps are explained in the handbook in front of you.
SD: Wait! What? What's a TPS report?
Administrator: Everything is explained in the handbook in front of you.
SD: What about lunch?
Administrator: You no longer require food.
SD: When do I stop?
Administrator: You no longer require rest.
SD: Am I to understand that the afterlife is an eternity of TPS reports?
Administrator: Everything is explained-
SD: [interrupting]In the handbook in front of me. I know, I know.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13
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SilentDawning
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Re: I had a heart attack: Reflections

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Ha! What you describe above sounds like a version of hell -- particularly for someone like me who has an aversion to clerical work.

What I would like to avoid is this.

You pass on to the next world and find that you do indeed exist beyond death. Therefore, there is some truth to the Mormon plan of salvation.

However, there are still a ton of religions based on the new information, all giving conflicting versions of what happens in the next phase(s) of existence. There is no gold standard of truth, so you are left wondering what is going to happen to you in the future. It's also not clear if you are in spirit paradise or spirit prison. Everyone has a theory, saying what you are experiencing is paradise while others say what you are experiencing is prison, while others postulate there is no paradise or prison.

And so, the confusion continues...
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

"The wise man has the power" -- adapted from What A Fool Believes -- The Doobie Brothers
Roy
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Re: I had a heart attack: Reflections

Post by Roy »

SilentDawning wrote: 07 Dec 2022, 09:04 It's also not clear if you are in spirit paradise or spirit prison. Everyone has a theory, saying what you are experiencing is paradise while others say what you are experiencing is prison, while others postulate there is no paradise or prison.
Right. Nobody in charge. Patients running the asylum. Everyone dividing into preferred camps or "schools of thought."
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13
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SilentDawning
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Re: I had a heart attack: Reflections

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I'm back from the hospital and the gravity of what happened to me weighs heavily on my mind.

Yet another doctor told me I was extremely lucky not to have died given the importance of the artery that was 100% blocked.

My logical mind says that the best thing for hedging my eternal bets is to get active in the church again and try to embrace the religion with the time I have left. But then, my current personality/state of mind says "No". Tithing is a huge obstacle. I feel the church has "wasted" a lot of my time over the years with efforts that don't bear fruit, and I would find it hard to go back to that. I would find it hard to teach classes, which is normally what a fringe member like myself gets asked to do.

My character has changed to the point I can't embrace the gospel as a full-on member. It's sad to have lost that. Being a TBM has its peace and comfort as you feel, rightly or wrongly, that things will be better for you after this life is over. When you have a faith/commitment crisis as I've had, you lose all that, and its very hard to go back.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

"The wise man has the power" -- adapted from What A Fool Believes -- The Doobie Brothers
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LDS_Scoutmaster
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Re: I had a heart attack: Reflections

Post by LDS_Scoutmaster »

Lol Roy!

SD, glad you made it out okay. That is very scary something I think about a lot and I'm sure as our years increase. I think you have a good idea of where your testimony lies and I think I'm about in the same boat as you. I am still active but what I will and will not do in the church have changed a lot in the last few years. I think I think I think I think what I remember now what I was going to say because I was trying to repeat the last stupid thing that didn't get corrected with the stupid voice to text feature... I think it had something to do with going back to church but pretty much saying no to anything and everything that might be asked of you to do. I've recently said no to a talk and doing some of the things in my calling that I just for lack of a better term have lost the energy for.
I still believe in an after life but what that is and how it all plays out his less of a concern on the particulars: whether or not Angels will be standing as sentinels guarding a veil, if Saint Peter will be there with a book, if all my ancestors will welcome me, if a blinding light gives way to a flood of past lives and memories returning, if blackness will be all there is. The latter wouldn't matter as I would be unaware of it, but I have hope in "something" after this life.
As far as church goes, go if you'd like. In my opinion don't let expectations of others stop you from going or not going. I am moving into the area of the 90% that show up and don't really do anything (90%of the work is done by 10% of the people). I'm closer to that 90% that don't do work.

Glad you're doing ok
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6311&start=70#p121051 My last talk

We are all imperfect beings, dealing with other imperfect beings, and we're doing it imperfectly.
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