Chris, as he likes to be called, comes from a family riddled with heart disease. His grandmother and grandfather on his mother’s side died at 42 and 41 respectively of heart attacks. His mother, who was diabetic and had lupus, passed away at the age of 53. He had two uncles who both died of heart attacks at early ages. So, it came as no surprise to Chris when he began having heart trouble in his early 20’s. At the age of 22, he suffered his first heart attack.
At the time of his first heart attack, he wasn’t sure exactly what was going on. He was at home watching TV when he began to feel bad. At first he that he had an upset stomach and needed to use the restroom, and then he began sweating profusely. He recalled having heavy chest pains and pain radiating into his left shoulder. Then it moved into his neck. He got up from the sofa and drove himself to Group Health in Burien, WA. He parked his car in front of the ER entrance and left his car running. The ER staff examined him and determined that he had pneumonia. They gave him a prescription for antibiotics and sent him home. After driving himself back home, he called his first wife at work and asked her to come and take him to a pharmacy. She told him at the time that she was working and couldn’t take off to come home. So, Chris drove himself to the pharmacy and it was there while standing in line that he collapsed and the paramedics were called.
All of his heart attacks occurred at his home. His second happened as he entered the hallway to go to the bathroom. He recalls that he woke up in the hospital with a cut on his head. The third occurred while he was in the shower. And the 4th happened while he was working in his yard. Twice, when he was having a heart attack, he had an out of body experience and witnessed people administering CPR and loading him into an ambulance. He described it as though he was positioned above himself and seeing things as an observer might expect to see things. Afterwards, he knew things that he shouldn’t have known, such as what people were doing that were near him and what efforts were taken to revive him.
He underwent open heart surgery for a Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG x3) on October 18, 2017, on his 45th birthday. His surgery was performed by Dr. Kevin Koomalsingh of UW Medicine. It was a planned surgery. By the time he had his bypass, he had already gone through 9 stent procedures. During his surgery he suffered a number of mini strokes that he believes resulted in nerve damage to his left eye. He complains that he has trouble processing numbers and a difficult time understanding things people are saying. He is quick to anger and feels highly frustrated when attempting to communicate. He has plans to see a neurologist in the near future. Meanwhile, he is under the care of Dr. Zachery D. Goldberger, a Cardiologist and Director of the Electrocariogaphy/Holter Laboratory at Harborview Medical Center.
Chris has never drank, smoked or used drugs. He has never been over weight. He did not have diabetes or high blood pressure. He lacks a lot of the normal risk factors that are associated with heart disease. Still, he does have a long history of having high cholesterol, always above 400, and a family history.
Chris states that the recovery from his surgery was difficult. He describes it as the worst pain he was ever in and still, six months post surgery cannot look at his chest due to the anxiety he experiences.