Al Patel, who founded the ICCHA/Wish Fund, continues with his efforts to have a catheter lab installed at Royal Inland Hospital.
It is difficult, after suffering a heart attack, to wait in Kamloops for that golden ticket to Kelowna to get a test that is 100 per cent accurate in assessing a blockage in the heart.
The stress my family endured in 2012 was harrowing.
At that time, I had eight events during a 10-day stay at RIH, most with troponin leaks. A heart condition called ventricular tachycardia was causing the cardiac events.
I had a MEBE test at RIH that was negative. As I got off the table, another episode of ventricular tachycardia occurred followed by a heart attack, which led me to my first of two stays in the hospital’s intensive-care unit.
On the 10th day, a cardiologist from Vancouver was doing rounds in my room as another event began. She quickly got me hooked up to an ECG.
Just like you see on TV, a team of nurses and doctors rushed me down to ICU for the second time. They then called for a helicopter to rush me to Kelowna, but none were available, so a team of three specialized heart nurses accompanied me to Kelowna late that night.
An angiogram was done the next day and the cardiologist behind the glass noted 90 per cent and 80 per cent blockages in the main artery.
Options were stents or open-heart surgery. Two stents were inserted and I was discharged the next day after passing a treadmill test.
The nurses and doctors who looked after me in Kamloops were amazing and I would not be writing this without their care.
They could only work with the tools to which they had access.
I was told the MEBE test is only 85 per cent accurate, whereas an angiogram is 100 per cent accurate.
Those reading this, or someone they know, will experience heart disease. If I had been in Kelowna during my first heart attack, I would have suffered one event, not eight.
I have not yet met Patel, but I hope to attend the ICCHA/Wish Fund Gala at the Colombo Hall on May 24.
I want to give a huge thank you to Kamloops Fire Rescue, BC Ambulance paramedics and RIH nurses and physicians who helped me, my wife and my family through a very harrowing experience in 2012.
Please join Patel and the ICCHA/Wish Fund and contact your MLA to kelp bring a long overdue cath lab to Kamloops.