*I hate whine posts, so I’m going to try to avoid that.*
Very early Thursday morning I woke at about 2:30 a.m. in a cold sweat. I felt like someone had punched me in the chest. My first thought was indigestion, so I sat up for a moment looking around until I was more fully awake. I went to take some antacids and realised that I was dizzy. I went back to bed instead. I drifted back to sleep and woke again about 10 minutes later with tachycardia. Once more, I tried to go back to sleep. The third time I woke up, I couldn’t go back to sleep again. It felt like someone was sitting on my chest, and the pain then branched out and radiated into my jaw, my right arm and down my neck and into my lower back. The breaths were short and painful.
This is when I thought–I could be having a heart attack. I immediately followed that thought with another thought. I’m only 32. There’s no way this is a heart attack. The symptoms continued to get worse over a spread of a few hours. The chest pain and pressure would come and go, the arm pain would come and go. The feeling of lock jaw was then joined by waves of nausea, extreme dizziness and confusion. For a bit there, I didn’t even know where I was. I took four baby aspirin and tried again to go to sleep, thinking that I was having some sort of panic attack.
The symptoms went away, for the most part.
I got up around 8 and tried to begin my day. I felt like a limp noodle. No energy, confusion still present, massive headache and sweats and chills. I couldn’t stop coughing and my hands were alternating numbness. My heart was still in weird rhythms. I slept most of the day, waking every now and again with various issues mentioned above. When I got up it was afternoon. I felt tired, but okay.
Then I went to talk to a neighbour. My right arm began to tingle and the uncomfortable sensation spread to my jaw and spine. My heart began beating erratically again. I went down, face first in the drive. Off to the ER.
Without boring you to death with all the minor details, not that this hasn’t been boring enough, I went to the hostpital, got hooked up to every monitoring device know to man, had a series of blood tests done (I’m immune to Vampires.) X-rays of my chest and EEG, EKG, ECG as well as other tests I don’t even have an abbreviation for.
The labs came back during the ECG/EKG. Want to talk about timing? I was already in the midst of the SECOND HEART ATTACK when the labs came back confirming the first. You know–that thing I ignored really early that morning. Turns out a blood clot was responsible for the first one. Since I didn’t call 911 and I didn’t move fast to get help, there is now damage to the left chambers of my heart. And that is my fault.
The second one was more of the same, but I was there and they were able to help me. I will now be on blood thinners to prevent this from happening. I also get a cocktail of downers (Adavan and such) to keep my stress levels and anxiety down. I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, so meds for that too. I will see a specialist next week to decide if the 40 percent damage I did will require surgical intervention.
Now here’s the important part:
Ladies, (Sorry men but you guys have different symptoms.)
I am 32 years old. It happened to me.
If you feel any of these things happening to you and that voice inside your head says “Something isn’t right,” get to the hospital right away. Don’t wait. You aren’t being silly. You aren’t overreacting. Reacting will save your life. It is better to be wrong and be safe, than to not go and suffer worse consequences.
It is not always a “movie heart attack” that will strike you down. I really had very little pain, mostly just discomfort.
One more important thing.
This cardiac room had lots of machines, including Fred, my heart monitor and newest pet. I have to take him on a leash everywhere I go. That wasn’t the important thing though. This room has no telly. That wasn’t either.
Okay really. This made me put everything in perspective. We stress out a lot about little things in our lives that we turn into big crisis. We show anger before we show love and affection. We take for granted the ones who are closest to us and offer us the most support. We are never guaranteed a tomorrow. Never.
Think on that.
If you need me, I’ll be blowing up gloves and making balloon animals.
Love you guys. Sorry about the typos. My right hand has no strength yet, so typing is taking forever.