My Story with Mount Washington

October 2016 | Blog

When I was 25, on little more than a dare, I hiked up Mount Washington in New Hampshire. My hiking buddy, a college friend named Bill Green, and I were completely unprepared; we did this, mostly, as a lark. Naturally, we got separated, left the trail and had to both separately maneuver over the overhanging lip above the bowl. Somehow we both made it, summited, and lived to tell about it.

So on Oct. 15, I returned to the mountain with my family. We decided to hike up Mount Washington to celebrate Gabi. About halfway up I started feeling punk – short of breath and sweaty. Before long it felt like a clenched fist had landed in my chest. I summited and took the shuttle back down. The next day (Sunday, Oct. 16), we went for a short hike and I still felt bad. My daughter Talia demanded that I get to a hospital, which I did – the North Conway Memorial Hospital. Naturally, I was having a heart attack, and had been having one for the last 24 hours.

I was taken by ambulance to the Catholic Memorial Hospital in Manchester, NH, where I learned that my left anterior descending artery (known in the business as the widow maker) was 80% blocked. The incredible doctors and nurses at the hospital stented the vein on Monday and today I am out of the hospital.

I’m not out of the woods. I will be on a battery of medicine the rest of my life. And though my risk factors were pretty good, they obviously weren’t good enough; there are things that I will have to do better.

On my discharge, my doctor said that if I follow the rules and live right, there’s no reason I cannot be back in 6 months for a third attempt at Mount Washington. I’ve decided that isn’t going to happen. The mountain has come close to killing me twice, and there’s no reason to think it won’t take another shot at me if I try again.

I am so grateful for the fantastic professionals at North Conway Memorial and Catholic Memorial. Thank you from the bottom of my repairing heart.

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