I was experiencing what I had come to believe was a heart attack. I had many of the traditional symptoms — a tight chest, blurry vision, trouble catching my breathe, tingling fingers. So much so that when I returned from my morning run I could make it no further than just inside the back door where I had dropped to the floor. It was only then that I came to the realization ... the bottoms of our cabinets were not painted.
In hindsight, I guess this is a strange thought to have at a moment where you thought you might be dying. But the reality was, I never thought I was dying. I mean, I am only 41 years old, too young for a heart attack, right? In fact, I was training for a marathon so I simply thought it was some side effect of a hard run.
Eventually, I knew something was not right. The symptoms seemed to be getting worse. I woke my wife and asked her to call a close friend, a chaplain for the local fire and rescue. My thought was that he was a neighbor and had access to emergency vehicles if needed. Again, in hindsight, it probably seemed to my wife like I was asking for my last rites. That probably did little to calm her nerves about her husband being collapsed on the floor. Ultimately, we thought it would be wise for an ambulance to be called. So, I got my first ambulance ride to the hospital.
Now, my son was not awake yet. Otherwise, I think he would have been jealous. He always wanted to ride in an ambulance. I’ll give the paramedic team credit. Outside of the chest pain, oxygen mask, the questions about insurance and medical history, and needles in my arm, the ride was an utter joy. My son really missed out.
But before they rolled me out on the stretcher to rush me to the hospital, I turned to my wife and, realizing the magnitude of the moment, searched for the right words to say. I came up with, “Don’t put this on Facebook.” Nice touch.
While in the emergency room, I had nearly a dozen visitors, friends and family who were anxious to hear my condition, and had heard about my health scare through means other than Facebook (thanks, Babe). It was quite comforting and a little embarrassing at the same time. I have never been good with that type of attention.
The team on the ambulance and the staff at the hospital treated me great and gave me new respect for the skill in which they do their jobs, and the incredible talent it takes to comfort a scared patient.
Ultimately, the tests found that it was a massive overreaction and there were no lasting concerns or problems. My mom would probably have guessed that from the beginning and my wife might call me a “catastrophizer,” but a health scare can certainly put things in perspective.
I am blessed with an incredible family and friends, a life I love ... and cabinets that need to be painted.
(Editor’s Note: Matt has a family of six — a beautiful wife, a son, two daughters, Tucker, and five chickens. Matt is truly appreciative of all the prayers and messages of support ... and he is already back running and feeling great. Matt’s column appears every other Wednesday in the Cleveland Daily Banner.)