Scary day yesterday (Sunday),
              I am back in CT after a very scary ordeal in Woodsville NH on Sunday. While taking over driving the car for my wife on Sunday, about an hour after we had breakfast and only 5 minutes in to my turn at the wheel, I suddenly began having severe chest pains. My mom was with us, as we just went up for an overnight stay Saturday, after my Tolland photo shoot, for a little sight-seeing on Sunday. The chest pain was so sudden and severe that I stopped the car and jumped out of the driver seat. My mom and wife started insisting they call 911 as I eventually collapsed to my knees behind the car in the road, unable to take deep breaths or speak loudly enough for them to hear me. My wife tried dialing  911, but I told her to stop and just give me a few minutes as maybe it was caused by what I had eaten at the diner for breakfast. It only continued to get worse. Intense sharp pains in the center of my chest right through the spine and into my back. I began hyperventilating as the pain was becoming unbearable and seemed never ending. I hobbled back to the car and fell into the back seat while clutching my chest. The pain seemed to pulsate every time my heart beat. I told my wife to go ahead and call 911, as I think I am in serious trouble, but she started getting upset as she lost the cell signal. She began racing the car down the road trying to get a cell signal or to a pay phone, or store or anything. I asked my wife and mom if they had any aspirin with them but they did not. My wife found a pay phone and ran to it, as my mom jumped out of the car and pleaded with a couple passing bye if they had any aspirin. They ran to a local pharmacy and came back out with the aspirin. I remember seeing a hand and arm reaching into the car through the opened right rear door. He handed me the aspirin and told be to take and chew it not just swallow it, per the pharmacists directions. A policeman arrived, opened  the left rear door and helped me to sit up and stroked and patted my shoulder, trying to comfort me and asking me to try and slow my breathing and just hang in there. He reassured me that the ambulance was not far away. My wife had spotted a road sign 'H' and was headed toward it when she saw the pay phone, so we were closer than we realized to the hospital. The paramedics arrived and transferred me to the ambulance. I was still in great pain as they raced me to the Cottage Hospital ER which was not far away. My wife Deb told me later that she was a liitle concerned when the ambulance pulled up to a building that looked more like a convalescent home than a hospital. My blood pressure was higher than normal and they had me on oxygen. After about 10 minutes at the hospital the pain started to subside but had also moved into my left shoulder. They took an xray, an EKG and drew some blood. When the doctor returned with the results of the xray, he said it looked OK, but if I had a heart attack the enzymes that are produced don't show up for about 6 hours in the blood stream, and asked me to stay there until the could draw blood again in 6 hours for testing. I don't remember him even saying that he was looking at the xray to see if my aeorta had split apart, which I think killed that news commentator on 'Meet the Press'. My wife told me about that on the ride home.  On Friday before our trip to NH, I had seen my doctor and asked her to change my hypertension meds as they caused me to urinate too often; and I was not taking them anyway on the weekends that I had a photo shoot. She prescribed another med that I began taking Saturday evening. Sunday morning, I neglected to take my regular Hypertension med (because we would be sight-seeing all day) that my doctor wanted me to continue taking along with the new med until she could gradually increase the new med dosage and after I used up the old med. But skipping my old meds for a couple of days still should not have caused my severe symptoms. So after lying in the bed with oxygen and a heart monitor for 6 hours, they drew the blood, took another EKG, and said it was not a heart attack or pulmonary embolism. My sugar levels were very high, but they later dismissed that to the stress and trauma that I had endured. By all accounts that I had previously heard from heart attack victims, I did actually think I was having a heart attack. Man!...I can't even imagine how horrific a real heart attack must be. The problem now is, even if I do have a heart attack some day, I won't let anyone call 911, as it probably will just seem like this episode and I'll dismiss it as forgetting to take my meds or just something I ate, rather than face the embarassment of wasting everybodies time and insurance companies money, not to mention ruining 1/2 of a weekend of sight-seeing and possible photo opportunities.

  Sometimes when we see the police, or a following or passing police car, or an obscured police car parked off to the side of the road or highway, many of us tend to worry a little bit, check our speedometer, try to remember if we properly signaled when changing lanes, etc. We may think that they are just waiting to nail us for any little infraction, so they can write us a ticket. But there is another side to the men and women in blue that many of us may never see; a fellow, caring and compassionate human being trying their best to minimize our fears when we are hurt in an accident, suddenly become ill at the wheel, or are a victim of a crime . It was so comforting to have the officer holding and patting my shoulder and helping me to control my breathing. I think about it often now, after the fact, and with a little guilt about the way I have sometimes negatively stereotyped those men and women in blue. I don't remember whether or not I thanked the officer for his help, as I was transferred to the ambulance that day. I hope somehow he sees this story.

  And to the couple who listened to my mom's desperate pleas for help, and ran to the nearby pharmacy to procure the aspirin and bring it to me. Although it was later determined that I did not have a heart attack, I still consider you both heroes, and I feel confident that you will be there for someone in the future as you were there for me, a total stranger. Thank you.