Sunday, February 14, 2010

Good For All Women To Know…..

My sister in law and brother sent this email to me recently and I wanted to share it with all you women. As you know, it happened to me….somewhat like this. I had a lot of nausea and jaw pain.


This has been  passed on from an ER nurse and is the best description of this event that she had 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 trauma 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
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 spasming), 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 footrest 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
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 lay 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 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 20-30 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 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). MI's 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.


Evansmom said...

Thanks for sharing!

Eva Gallant said...

Wow! thanks so much for passing that on!

Shelia said...

Oh, Debbie, this is frightening and thank you so much for sharing this. I'm so thankful you're doing so much better.
You are a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Kathleen said...

Debbie, wow, what a story. I am a nurse, and I didn't know all this. I am so thankful that you shared your story with us. All I can think of is how scared you must have been. I'm so glad you have a great Hub who was there to help you out. How's that rehab going, girlfriend? Hope all is going great! Hugs, Kathleen

Dawn said...

Oh my goodness.... thanks for sharing.

Michelle said...

Oh my gosh, Debbie I had NO idea!! Thank you, thank you for sharing this information. What a scary story. I'm going to forward onto my friends as well! Oh my gosh, you are too young to have a heart attack but I guess you never know. :(

Debbie said...

Thanks everyone for commenting and I hope that by posting this it helped someone to recognize the silent symptoms. I wish I had known...but now I do so that's a blessing.

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