Saturday, February 24, 2007

First Drawing

For months after the heart attack, I was afraid to go to sleep at night, thinking that I might not wake up in the morning. As long as I stayed awake, I figured I could watch to see whether my heart was going to be attacked.

Because of scarring to the heart, I am at risk for sudden cardiac arrest, where the rhythm that runs the heart goes haywire because the signal can’t take it’s normal path. (This is quite different than a heart attack, where the arteries are blocked. It is like the difference between the electrical system in the house and the plumbing in the house.) We bought a home defibrillator that I put next to the bed.

I also bought one of those blasting foghorns that boats use; I figured I had about six seconds to use it before I would lapse into unconsciousness if my heart went into ventricular fibrillation. I made sure that nitroglycerin tablets and aspirin were next to the bed, in my wallet, in the glove compartment, where I worked at the computer.

Although family and friends responded to the immediate crisis, within about three weeks the calls and concern dropped off; I had experienced this pattern before with the previous hospitalizations. I seemed to be better, I could walk, I could make jokes. For me, however, the crisis was still at an extreme level. Didn’t they understand I how much I needed their continuing support?

In retrospect, I think for several months I was at the emotional level of a two or three year old: I felt extremely vulnerable to a world that could smack me at anytime, I was anxious all the time if someone wasn’t near by, I could cry at anytime, I couldn’t put into words what was bothering me.

I had no previous experience with drawing, but felt that it might help to express what was happening, since talking about it wasn’t changing much. I found some computer drawing programs on the Internet, and began to draw whatever came into my mind.

The drawing at the beginning of this blog is the first drawing, done about a month after the heart attack.

My Zimbio
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