While Jenny drove Jameson back to the airport, I started thinking about being home and the profound gratitude I felt for God, Jenny and Jameson. I was particularly thankful that nothing crazy happened in our return flight from Montreal.
So, I could report to Dr. Guy Lalonde – the cardiologist who oversaw my care at Sacred Heart Hospital of Montreal after my heart attack on January 9, 2013 – that we had a smooth experience returning to Atlanta and my house and bed. And by bed I meant one of our beds, chairs or couches.
You see, I had two anxieties staring me in the face: 1) Would I be able to sleep and rest? 2) How soon could I get in to see a cardiologist to change my blood pressure medicine that contained benazepril that was causing me to cough? You see, while in the hospital in Montreal I had forgotten that I was allergic to benazepril. I had discovered this a couple of years ago when my internist at the Emory Clinic had prescribed some blood pressure medicine for me and I developed a cough. This was in my file at Emory Healthcare, but not in my brain’s memory file when I was asked “Are you allergic to anything?” by the Sacred Heart nurses and doctors.
It had been several years since I had been examined by a cardiologist, so, one of the first orders of business would be to let my primary care physician, Dr. Donald Davis, know what had happened. I would ask him for a referral to an Emory cardiologist who could see me as soon as possible.
Of course, there was also the lingering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms that tended to add a layer of urgency to everything I thought or felt.
As I pondered what the rest of the week might look like, I began to realize that I was tired and sleep deprived.
I got up from the dining room table and slowly walked upstairs to our son Justin’s room where I’d likely sleep tonight. Justin lives in Dallas, so his room was available. I pulled the bedspread and sheet back and then went to gather some pillow options for putting together something to simulate a hospital bed, albeit much softer and more comfortable.
I walked back downstairs and took the three pills that were part of my daily regime. At the same time, I was pretty sure that one of these pills was propagating my persistent cough. The dry cough would become a governor to my conversations over the next few weeks and it could’ve been avoided had my memory been sharper a few days earlier. These kinds of “if only” questions can paralyze us if we let them. I’m not above feeling some regret about past mistakes or poor choices, but it would become clear that timing was critical in my cardiologist choice and I may not have reached out for help with such a sense of urgency had I not had this allergic reaction to the benazepril. So, perhaps we will see if my memory lapse doesn’t have a positive result in the days ahead.