Jan. 21 ER Visit
February 23, 2017
Saturday, Jan. 21 could have been the worst day of Joel Webster’s life. He woke up early in the morning to work on cleaning up some things from around his home. He loaded up his trailer and hauled away a load of furniture and other discarded items. He stopped at the Holiday gas station to get a cup of coffee and returned home to start on his next project of cleaning up the yard. He tended to his chickens and loaded up various debris in his wheelbarrow. It was then, late morning, that the chest pain hit him. And hard. He walked up to the house and sat down on the couch. He was sweating and his skin was getting clammy. Joel’s wife Linda was home and he told her that they needed to go to the emergency room. Joel walked downstairs and took 2 aspirin, then made the decision that they couldn’t wait any longer, they needed to leave quickly. “Let’s go now,” he said.
Joel and Linda arrived at the Ridgeview Le Sueur Emergency Room at 11:30 a.m. Three nurses, an EMT and the ER doctor were working that morning, and at the time Joel walked in, they all jumped up to help. Joel remembers being on his back on the bed in the ER with two IVs in his arms within 3 minutes. The nurses administered morphine while the doctor ran an EKG. The doctor informed Joel that there was a blockage in his heart, and they administered a full dose of clot buster. Within 60 seconds, Joel reported that his pain went from a 10 to a 7. Within minutes, his pain was down to a 4, and he could finally breathe again without gasping for air.
Once he was stable, the Ridgeview health care team determined that Joel could be best served at the Minneapolis Heart Institute at Abbott Northwestern in Minneapolis. Because of the foggy weather, the helicopter could not be safely used, so Joel was transported via Ridgeview Ambulance. The doctor assured Joel that he would be in the best possible hands at Abbott and that the ambulance would arrive quickly. The ambulance team rushed Joel to Abbott where he stayed for 3 nights and underwent heart surgery on Sunday, Jan. 23.
When he left Ridgeview LS Medical Center, Joel’s pain was at a 0, and he knew the health care team’s quick action saved his life. He remembers thinking that the stars all aligned perfectly to save his life that day. Linda was at home to drive him to the hospital, the ambulance arrived to the ER quickly, all of the members of the health care team at Ridgeview were available to care for him, and they all offered consistent and clear explanations about the steps they were taking and the medications they were administering. At one point, Joel was sweating so profusely that he asked one of the nurses to remove his socks. He laughed when he recounted her response, “We have to save you first, Joel.”
Joel returned home on Jan. 24, and was back to work two weeks after his discharge. He celebrated his 55th birthday on Feb. 18. Joel and his 16 year old son had plans to go ice fishing on Jan. 22, the day after Joel’s heart attack. They were able to reschedule their trip for Feb. 12, when Joel caught a 39 inch Northern (pictured). Joel remembers reeling the fish in and thinking “There’s my makeup fish.”