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  • 09:45:02 am on October 4, 2008 | Comments Off on RN provides an up close and personal account of her heart attack….
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    NURSE’S HEART ATTACK EXPERIENCE – Smitty sent me this article in which an RN provides an up close and personal account of her heart attack….

    I am an ER nurse and this is the best description of this event
    that I have ever heard. Please read, pay attention, and send it on!


    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 :30 PM with NO prior exertion, NO
    prior emotional traum a that one would suspect might’ve 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 had n’t ta ken 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 spasing), 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 about 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

    I lowered the footrest dumping the cat from my lap, started to take
    a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself, If this
    &nbs p;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 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 unbolt 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 m edics coming in,
    their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into
    their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude E R on
    the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the
    Cardiologist 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 stents to hold
    open my right coronary artery.

    ‘I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must
    have taken at least 20-3 0 minu tes 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 stents.

    ‘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 comm only m istake 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!

    1.  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 d oesn’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 service) 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 hormones into your system to
    sludge things up in there.

    Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep.  Let’s be c areful
    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!**