I’ve been released by the cardiologist to return to work today, for all I know it will be my last. I missed several weeks in May and June due to a suite of confusing and worrisome symptoms after surgery to correct a serious ailment. At first I seemed to be recovering well. But beginning in late April I started having periods of dizziness, intense weakness, for several days I could barely crawl out of bed. Sometimes it would feel like my heart would jump or gurgle. Blood pressure was all over the place, soaring as high as 160/100 to as low as 100/60 over a period of an hour or two. The only time I would feel halfway normal was when I would walk a mile or two on a treadmill per doctors orders. Finally one morning in May, right after I got out of bed feeling extremely weak to go to the bathroom, I found myself suddenly staring at the ceiling; I had passed out so fast I didn’t notice the blood gushing out after my skull had apparently cracked against the ceramic toilet seat on the way down.
The last time I had symptoms like this, back in December, I downplayed them and kept working. Mostly because my employer ruthlessly penalizes absences regardless of the cause and I was terrified of missing work. But the symptoms persisted, eventually got evaluated by a specialist. That’s when I found out the effort to try and keep working over Christmas was probably the worst decision I ever made: I was suffering a massive heart attack, the kind where the first and most common sign of a problem is often instant death. [Read more…]