Mar
16

Signs of a Broken Heart

By

First, let me say that I had a great weekend! The weather is starting to cooperate, we had great business at Downey’s House, and I made it through a party at Chuckie Cheese yesterday. I’ll complain more about Chuckie Cheese soon. But for now, I have this for you:

I’ll bet you thought that title meant I was going to talk about love.

Wrong.

I received this email over the weekend. It talks about how a woman might feel if she were having a heart attack. I’m 38. There are people my age who have had heart attacks. So, I tucked this information into the filing cabinet in my brain. I hope you do, too. Here’s the email:

FEMALE HEART ATTACKS

I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best
description I’ve ever read..

Women and heart attacks (Myocardial infarction). Did you know that women
rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing heart
attack .. you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat,
grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in the movies. Here
is the story of one woman’s experience with a heart attack

‘I had a heart attack at about 10 :3 0 PM with NO prior exertion, NO prior
emotional trauma that one would suspect might have brought it on. I was
sitting all snugly & warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap,
reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking, ‘A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with
my feet propped up.

A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you’ve been
in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you’ve swallowed a golf ball
going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn’t have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach. This was my initial sensation—the only trouble was that I hadn’t taken a bite of anything since about 5:00 p.m.
After it seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing
motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably my
aorta spasms), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my
sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering
CPR).
This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws. ‘AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling ab out what was happening — we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven’t we? I said aloud to myself and the cat, Dear God, I
think I’m having a heart attack!

I lowered the foot rest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this is a heart
attack, I shouldn’t be walking into the next room where the phone is or
anywhere else … but, on the other hand, if I don’t, nobody will know that
I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in a
moment.

I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics … I told her I thought I was having a heart
attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn’t feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts.. She said
she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was
near to me, and if so, to un-bolt the door and then lie down on the floor
where they could see me when they came in.

I unlocked the door and then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost
consciousness, as I don’t remember the medics coming in, their examination,
lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the
call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we
arrived and saw that the radiologist was already there in his surgical blues
and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was
bending over me asking questions (probably something like ‘Have you taken
any medications?’) but I couldn’t make my mind interpret what he was saying,
or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the
Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angiogram balloon
up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2
side by side stints to hold open my right coronary artery.

I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at
least 20-30 minutes before calling the paramedics, but actually it took
perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St. Jude
are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to
the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped
somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stints..

Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want
all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned first
hand.

1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your body, not the
usual men’s symptoms but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and
jaws got into the act). It is said that many more women than men die of
their first (and last) MI because they didn’t know they were having one and
commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn
preparation and go to bed, hoping they’ll feel better in the morning when
they wake up … which doesn’t happen. My female friends, your symptoms might not
be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is
unpleasantly happening that you’ve not felt before. It is better to have a
‘false alarm’ visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!

2. Note that I said ‘Call the Paramedics .’ And if you can take an
aspirin. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE!

Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER – you are a hazard to others on the
road.

Do NOT have your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what’s happening with you instead of the road.

Do NOT call your doctor — he doesn’t know where you live and if it’s at
night you won’t reach him anyway, and if it’s daytime, his assistants (or
answering ser vice) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn’t carry
the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do,
principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr will be notified later.

3. Don’t assume it couldn’t be a heart attack because you have a normal
cholesterol count.. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated
reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it’s unbelievably high and/or
accompanied by high blood pressure). MIs are usually caused by long-term
stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormonesinto your system to sludge things up in there.

Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep.

Let’s be careful and be aware. The more we know the better chance we could
survive.

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10 people,
you can be sure that we’ll save at least one life.

**Please be a true friend and send this article to all your friends (male &
female) you care about!**

And just as I was typing this, Chloe woke up, came downstairs and started playing a game. I guess she learned a new word. As she was playing she said “Dammit! I almost got the blue one.” Yeah, I’ve gotta go and deal with that.

Comments

  1. moonduster says:

    My mom had a mild heart attack last year. She’s okay now. It shocked us all because my dad was the unhealthy one.

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