Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Here is the story of one woman's experience with a heart attack.

A nurse has heart attack and describes what women feel when having one:
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!

FEMALE HEART ATTACKS

I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but this is the best description I've ever
read. Women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have ... you know, the
sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor
that we see in 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 trauma that
one would suspect might have brought it on. I was sitting all snugly and 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 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 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 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 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 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 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) who you care about!

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