On August 22, 2004 I went to visit my good friend Al Sanchez. On my way home my car stalled at a stop light at Mississippi and Santa Fe Dr. I tried to push the car out of the intersection onto the parking lot of a restaurant on the corner. It was too much for me but a couple of young strong Chicanos came to my rescue. They helped me push my vehicle into the lot. By the time we were done and left I was short of breath and seemed to be having a heavy heartburn attack. I called Al to see if he could give me a ride home. By the time Al got there I was hurting pretty bad. Thinking I just had heartburn he gave me a Pepsi for the gas. I drank it quickly but it didn't help. As we were driving home I commented that the heartburn was getting so bad I could barely breath and that it felt like a giant snake squeezing me to death. We were just approaching the Sixth Avenue exit when Al asked if maybe we should go to the hospital. He said that I better make up my mind quick which way to go. At first I said no and that I was OK but then that little voice within said Maybe I better make sure. So I told Al to head to the hospital. By the time we got there I was a lot worse and was having trouble walking. I was pretty sure I was having a heart attack. When I got into the hospital some jerk sat me down to fill out application forms. I told him that I was having a heart attack as people gathered around concerned. That ass poo-pooed me and said the forms had to be filled out before they could do anything. “After all we have to know who to send the bill to.” he said with a big smile. I passed out.
When I woke up I was being loading into an ambulance to take me to University Hospital. While I was out, Al went to my home to pick up Arlette and the boys. They were there as they were loading me. I quickly pulled out my billfold and keys and gave them to Arlette as they closed the doors. The next thing I knew I was in intensive care weaving in and out of consciousness for the next twenty four hours.
There are two types of heart attacks. The kind most people know about is the tingling in the left arm then pain in the jaw and neck and then pow in the chest. I had the second kind. It's called a silent heart attack. It starts like a bad case of heartburn and slowly progresses until it feels like a snake squeezing the air out of you. Slowly and quietly. It doesn't hit hard and then it's over. No. A silent heart attack can linger. The doctor told Arlette that mine lasted two days. That two days is what this writing is all about. Not about the heart attack itself but what happened to me spiritually in those two days.