January 23 2012, began as the worst day of my life, my dad suffered a major heart attack. On this day, around 10.30 East African time in the morning, I received a terrifying call from my brother. “Rita, dad had a heart attack. We are at the Heart Institute in Mulago Hospital, doctors are doing everything they can to save his life” I sat up in my bed in shock and disbelief, thousands of miles away from home in Scotland UK my heart hurting and my head spinning.
This can’t be real, I thought. Not my dad. Not my mentor, my friend. We love him too much. Everyone loves him. He is just too important to too many people. I prayed to God to give him a second chance. Please Lord Not my dad, not now I prayed.
About an hour after the first call my brother called again saying “Dr. Lwabi (My daddy’s cardiologist) came out of dad’s procedure room and explained to us that dad’s heart attack was bad, and that he placed an emergency pace maker in his heart, he reassured them that he was going to be ok. My heart was simultaneously filled with joy and fear. Joy that my dad was saved. Fear that dad was a patient, a heart attack patient. Was he going to be okay? Was there still a chance he might die from this? I tried to stay strong, but the tears trickled down my cheeks. Being a nurse by training I knew how close we were to losing him.
The rest of the week was a blur, dad was lucky enough to be moved from ICU in 48 hours to a step-down unit, and discharged from the hospital four days after the event. January 23 2012, ended up as the best day of my life, it was the day my dad survived a major heart attack and got a second lease to life. I am so thankful for the Uganda Heart Institute they saved my dad’s life.
The journey to recovery after hospitalization was very lonely and scary for dad, mum and the rest of the family, there was no support of any kind, very little information about living with a pace maker and dad didn’t know anybody else that had survived a heart attack let alone living with a pace maker it was a very anxious time for him and mum who often said “Dad has a machine in his heart which can stop working at any moment”
On 15thMay 2017, fate stuck again this time it was my mum, I had breakfast with my mum and left my parents’ home to drive to work, five minutes into my journey I got a phone call from my cousin that mum had collapsed and seemed unconscious, I couldn’t believe my ears, I was just having breakfast with her a few minutes ago and now there is a chance I might lose her I drove straight back to my parent’s house calling for an ambulance from the nearest hospital.