One of the many things that struck me about my classmate Cado's heart attack story is how advanced the health care system of first world countries is. It also reminds me of something that happened only last March to a local doctor, BGS, who had a heart attack while attending a medical conference in Egypt. Immediately, from the time of diagnosis, Cado and Dr. BGS had stents inserted within hours of the myocardial infarction. If either of the guys had the heart attack in Dumaguete, neither would have survived as we just do not have such capabilities (angiography and stenting) here at present. And I am thinking, even if the MIs happened in Manila, the harrowing traffic (without emergency lanes) would significantly decrease the victim's chance of reaching the hospital alive.
We in third world Philippines, especially in the provinces, have a long way to go in terms of health care technology and economics. Sharing here again are more of Cado's MI event, diagnosis, treatment and recovery, in his emailed reply to my asking him permission to share his experience in my weblog.
...OK ra kaayo!
I actually would like to spread my personal experience around and make people start realizing that our hearts do need our TLC, as well. I just happen to be in a country where the medical care profession/industry is quite advanced. Otherwise, I know I would have been a goner in another place! Let me enlighten you regarding Canada ’s Health Care System. We pay our health care premiums, but if you work, the company pays for it. In my stay in the hospital, the Cardiologist/Physician, the room/ward, the meals, the ambulance, the MRI, the different tests I had, the medicines, were all paid for. I only started to pay for the medicines when I got out, everything was taken out of the health care insurance. I’m not trying to brag here, just to let you see the picture. I had a friend who has leukemia and everything’s been taken cared of, she doesn’t have to worry about a thing. Delivery of babies is free. You can even take home some disposable diapers on the way out.
Actually, we did have an alternative at the time of the incident, it's calling 911 Emergency services. The ambulance would have been on my doorstep within minutes. But because I didn't anticipate I had something extremely wrong, it never even registered on my mind to use it. So we ended up waiting in line on the Urgent Care Clinic till it opened up (very bad) ;-(
If I remember correctly, the angiogram and angioplasty was done in less than 40 minutes. I myself was quite amazed at how fast the operation went. It was only after the doctors told me they had inserted the stent did I even think of the Lord and realized how He could have changed things, but instead, He gave me another chance in life. Still trying to figure out what my purpose is, though ;-o)
Melinda emailed me shortly, too. Apparently, Hector Katada was her Uncle. I managed to speak with him for a short while, they were heading home within the hour when I saw him. He had a mild one, but he had other complications, too. He had diabetes. So his case seemed much more complicated than mine.
Anyway, feel free to use this letter of mine, and hopefully somebody would benefit from it in some way. I have taking time off work, this would be week 1 of 4 and taking it easy, dealing with constant blood tests (every three days, down from two) for my INR to determine the correct dosage of warfarin (blood thinner) to take. Even while simple gardening, I get dizzy spells when standing up because of lowered blood pressure from the drugs. Although still very agile, I definitely have lost energy and stamina compared to before. And I am more conscious everytime there’s a slight pain on my chest, I keep the nitroglycerine spray handy. If I feel any chest pain, I have two instances to spray it at the back of my tongue in 5 minute intervals, and after 10 minutes, if I still feel discomfort, that’s when I call our emergency services, 911. Hopefully, I would get back stronger in time.