It is one of life’s biggest ironies that even in the midst of adversity, one way or another there is something positive in all of it — even when you experience at heart attack and your life changes forever.
Josef Solidum was in his early thirties and living a relatively sedentary lifestyle, one that can resonate with plenty of people living in the city, but coupled with an early case of gout.
“I’ve had gout since I was 25, and it just seemed to me a fact of life to be in pain once in a while. The past year was particularly even more painful and I went to the hospital a few times to get new medication, hoping to get rid of it ASAP,” he writes in his health piece on GMA News Online.
But the usual night of powering through the extreme pain of his gout turned into something more drastic.
“I was sleeping on the couch because I didn’t want to disturb my wife while I moaned and sporadically yelled out when I moved my left leg wrong… Fifteen minutes later I felt like something else was wrong. The immense gout pain was still there, but I also felt some sort of indigestion? It was different, something I haven’t experienced before.”
Solidum then called out to his wife who noticed that he sweating immensely, that he was incoherent, and immediately called emergency services.
“Then everything darkened. It was as if someone dialed the dimmer switch all the way down. My eyes strained to focus and thoughts became muddled in my brain. The weird part was when my wife was asking me questions and I couldn’t understand. Her voice was like a cassette tape being played on a low battery Walkman,” recounts Solidum.
When paramedics arrived, Solidum writes that his discomfort eased up somewhat, but then they brought out a defibrillator; you know, the machine used in dramatic movie moments to start up someone’s heart?
“I remember asking what they were for. They calmly said that I was having a heart attack.”
Josef was 36 at the time of his heart attack.
At the hospital, he writes that he remembered thinking his life would never be the same after his experience.
“Now I take around 11 pills of different sorts per day. They keep my blood pressure low, my blood thinner, and to make sure the two stents they placed will not get blocked. They also upped my dosage for the gout. The sooner my uric acid levels go down, the better. I also have with me my nitro spray, just in case I feel any pain in my chest. This apparently opens up my arteries if I have another heart attack. I haven’t used it yet, but it’s good to have handy.”
He now wears stents to keep his arteries open, and along with the additional medications, came a complete overhaul in his lifestyle.
This included ‘low’ everything in what he was consuming — low sugar, low fat, low cholesterol— and a regular cycling exercise routine.
His weigh dropped and luckily, a few months after the heart attack, his cardiologist said he was on the right track with heart health.
“There are times when I look back on this ordeal and wonder if I didn’t get the heart attack, I probably would be eating the same junk day after day. I would have stayed being inactive and not exercising. Because of the heart attack, I now have a new lease on life. Like I was born again.
That my friends, is a silver lining if I ever saw one.”