53 year old David Ratima from Tauranga woke in the middle of the night burning up, hardly able to breathe, and with tightness all over his body. He was admitted to hospital and received life saving treatment. He talked to Men’s Health about the whole experience and the harrowing journey that led up to it.
I had been suffering from leg cramps and head aches since 2009. My legs would blow up like sausages and my feet would turn a grey colour. The cramps were so bad I could only walk about 20-50 metres at a time. The pain came afterwards, and it was a full 10 on the pain scale. I also had erectile dysfunction, painful teeth, and dizzy spells. I’d often walk around with no shirt on because I felt like I was boiling up. The whole combination was really scary and I was always tense and worried about what pain was coming next.
I’d explained my symptoms to doctors many times and had gone to the emergency department several times. The doctors at my clinic tried me on a few medications but they seemed to make things worse.
Then one and a half months ago, I woke in the middle of the night boiling hot, feeling tight over my whole body, and could hardly breathe. I managed to wake my partner by knocking the phone off the bedside table. She said, “You have to go to the hospital, you look so white.”
I can’t remember exactly what the doctors told me when I was admitted because I was just trying to meditate and concentrate on finding my breath, but I know they wanted to try something and said they couldn’t guarantee it would work. Well, all I could say was “yes”. They injected something into my tummy and I kind of dozed off, went into some cloudy area, heard some one saying “Thank you Jesus”. Next minute I heard the doctor saying something about worse case scenario, out of 10… I remember three 10s, then a 9, 7, 5, and then I sat straight up saying “Yous would not believe what happened”. They had the biggest smiles on their faces. They even said they not being rude but when I came in I was so WHITE, whiter than them, and it was awesome watching my colour come back.
Two days later I had a stent implanted. I was very scared, yet it was only a simple and painless procedure. They put anaesthetic through the drip line in my arm, then they inserted a colour dye so they could see which artery was blocked, and then inserted the stent through the drip line. I didn’t feel a thing. I was wide awake and watched the whole thing on a big monitor. I was so proud of those doctors and the whole lot of them – nurses, admin, etc.
It turns out I had high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and that had been causing my health problems all along. I’m now on a few different medications to help with my blood circulation and to lower my cholesterol. And I go to a group cardio rehab session once a week. I look like the youngest one there. They go through exercises with us and talk about stress management.
I can’t believe how I feel now. It’s like being new again. I used to feel like I was under pressure all the time. I have no headaches, no leg cramps and no breathing problems.
This whole experience has taught me that when health issues arise, always make sure you get your blood pressure and cholesterol checked first and foremost.
Thanks for sharing your story David.