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FEMALE HEART ATTACKS

November 17th, 2008

Subject: FEMALE HEART ATTACKS

 
 

  NURSE’S  HEART ATTACK EXPERIENCE

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  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 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  ministering 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 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  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)  you care about!**


 

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