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"I Didn't Know I Had a Heart Attack"

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My Treatment: A Triple Bypass

The treatment options were alarming. At best, I was looking at bypass surgery; at worst, I'd be hooked up to an artificial heart and put on the waiting list for a transplant. I heard one of the medical staff mention the possibility of medevacing me to a different hospital. Another said she was surprised I was still alive. If I hadn't been drugged up on sedatives, I'm sure I would've totally freaked out. Thankfully, my husband got to the hospital just before I went in for surgery. I remember lying on the gurney with flashing monitors and wires all around me before they wheeled me in. Suddenly, Hugh appeared, walking right up to my side. He told me not to die. I said not to worry; I wasn't done bugging him yet.

I ended up having a triple bypass: Two blood vessels -- one removed from my leg and the other from my chest -- were used as pathways in my heart to bypass the damaged arteries and ensure healthy blood flow. The operation was a success, and during my eight-day recovery in the hospital, I felt euphoric simply because I was alive. But when I got home and endured six long weeks of bed rest, the elation turned to frustration and sadness. I couldn't do a thing: Playing with the kids, even lifting my 18-month-old, was impossible -- never mind folding laundry or climbing the stairs. Luckily, my mother and my friend Megan were there to help out.

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