How Friday the 13th Ended up Being My Lucky Day

By Ricky Sandiford

In the past, when I heard folks joke about Friday the 13th and bad luck, I just laughed.  However, on Friday, July 13, 2018, I had a bout of the worst – and best – luck I’ve ever experienced.

I Recognized the Signs and Symptoms

That morning, I woke up and started my usual routine.  After I got dressed and made a quick call, I began to experience a feeling of slight pain in the center of my upper chest.

I shrugged it off at first thinking a pill I’d just taken was stuck in my throat. But as I went downstairs, the pain began to intensify.

My dad was home and I told him I wasn’t feeling well.  He suggested that I call in sick to work and go lie down.  Before I could make it very far, I felt nauseous and got sick.  Then, the pain really amped up.  It started moving into my left arm and that’s when I got worried.  As a man, I’d always heard that if you feel tight pain in your chest and left arm then a heart attack is imminent.

While I didn’t want to alarm my dad, I asked him to drive me to an emergency center as soon as possible.

New to My Community

Memorial Hermann’s new Convenient Care Center in League City had recently opened and was only about seven minutes from my house, so we went there.  When we arrived, I walked in under my own power and told the triage nurse that I was having chest pains.

She and others quickly snapped into action and put me in a wheelchair for transport to a room.  I was asked to remove my shirt and get on the bed.  As soon as I laid down, I got tunnel vision.  I was going into cardiac arrest.

At this point in my journey, I only know what others have told me.

When I got to the room, my dad stepped out.  He walked a few feet away when he heard them call a Code Blue.  Out of nowhere, physicians, including Chris Wang, MD, and nurses rushed into my room and began CPR.  They worked on me for 15 minutes and during that time, I went into cardiac arrest three times.

Once I was stabilized, they transported me by ambulance to Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital.  In the catheterization (cath) lab, affiliated interventional cardiologists Dr. Al-Azzeh and Dr. Tayyan discovered my heart attack was a result of coronary artery disease, which they treated with coronary stenting.

My Heroes 

Nearly seven hours later, I awoke to discover I’d had a massive heart attack.

Looking back, I am so thankful for choosing the Convenient Care Center that day.  Since it is affiliated with Memorial Hermann, the transition from the Convenient Care Center to the hospital was seamless, which saved time and ultimately my life.

While many of my friends and family have given me credit for recognizing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and seeking care, the real credit goes to my heroes at Memorial Hermann.  On a day notorious for bad luck, I also experienced good luck thanks to the doctors and nurses who jumped into action to save my life.

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