Your Heart Attack

Old 04-14-2019, 09:20 PM
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Default Your Heart Attack


NEVER say " not me".
I am now, luckily, a walking talking example of a person that was never suppose to have a heart attack, but I did.
61 years old, Low BP, low cholesterol, not over weight , reasonably fit, I didn't fit the profile.
So before I bore you with the details of my HA remember, IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU.
And if it does, rapid treatment can help change the outcome. Waiting around in denial for 30 minutes or an hour could make a big difference.

Here is a overview of what happened on Thursday morning about 5:00am.
If you don't want to read it, fine. But remember, IT CAN HAPPEN TO YOU.

Natures call woke me up at 5:00. I felt fine.
No pain at all.
Approx. 2 minutes later, time it took to walk to the bathroom and take care of business, I was returning to bed and suddenly felt strong pain in my upper chest that grew rapidly in intensity.
Having had indigestion many times before, this was not the same. Located higher, more spread out over my chest and more intense.
I did not have any of the other classic signs.
Nausea, arm or shoulder pain, sweating I had none of these.
3 minutes had now passed since I got out of bed.
I decided to get a glass of water from the kitchen knowing that if this was the cheeseburger's revenge from the night before, it would help to put out the fire that was continuing to grow in my chest.
4 minutes past.
Water did nothing to extinguish the flame as well as the building pressure mid way up my sternum.
It was then that I first thought of a heart attack.
NAW, not me I thought.
Suck it up. Go back to bed and you will be fine.
5 minutes past since getting up.
I have walked back to the bedroom with pain still building along with that damn fire.
One more time I think, NOT ME.
But by now, pain was in the redline area, easily 11 on a 10 scale and I woke up Traci.
Less than 10 minutes have passed when I first got up feeling fine.
NOW, if you don't read anything else. Note how quickly this came on.

Within a minute or two I said we need to go to the hospital.
We have BP cuff at home and put it on just to check.
190/93. Yup, time to go.
Since we live very close to a hospital, we knew we could get there before EMTs would ever get to our house so we took the car.

Not much happening in the ER at 5:30 in the morning. We walked in, Traci had just given a receptionist my name who quickly realized I needed help.
It only took about a minute for the nurses in triage to come to the same conclusion. BP 193/103 if I remember correctly.
I had 2 IV lines put in me, fed baby aspirin and moved to a room rapidly.
Somewhere over the course of the next 10 minutes, a EKG was run. This confirmed I was in the middle of a Stime MI. Heart Attack with a full blockage. All of this I learned later.
I believe it was there that pads were attached to me chest to help shock me should I go into afib or full blown arrest.
About 45 minutes had now past since I first woke up feeling fine.
As luck would have it, we had gone to the wrong hospital though. They did not have a "cath lab" to unblock the problem.
A critical care ambulance was called to transport me to Moses Cone across town.
Lights on and siren wailing the entire way, Traci said they ran every light as she followed in the car.

I would not see her again to after I got out of the Cath lab. I knew she would be pissed about this and warned them if they didn't let me see her.

In the "lab" a line was run into my wrist and up into my heart to work on the problem area. I was awake and could see it on a large monitor just beside my head. I had been given several meds by this time including blood thinners, Morphine, and Versed.
At the time, the doctor was not able to locate the problem. After the procedure, he actually told Traci that I had not had a HA but may have a problem with a heart chamber.
I was moved to a ICU as my pain level started to subside though out the remainder of the day.
Late in the day, it was determined that I did indeed have a blockage, as seen in the picture. Blood test also confirmed the attack.
It was hypothesized that I could have possibly had a larger blockage further " up stream" and by ether quick response or just plain luck, it had dissolved and moved where it finally stopped.
3 days in ICU feeling pretty good after all of this, I was allowed to go home with firm instructions to lay low for several weeks.
But for about 2 hours on Thursday morning, things got pretty tense.

So what is the take away ?
1. It can happen to you. Believe it.
2. Time is everything. Don't wait. My outcome may be a result of getting to help quickly.

If my story and advice helps just one of my hard headed friends or one of their friends, it was worth telling.
Better to be wrong and alive than wrong and gone.



Last edited by Lrivenbark; 04-14-2019 at 10:01 PM.
Old 04-14-2019, 09:39 PM
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We’re you stroking out when you typed all that?


OK, just kidding. Glad you beat it.
Old 04-14-2019, 10:30 PM
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Glad you are doing good.
its stories like these that scare me.
Guys that don't fit the typical HA victim
Old 04-14-2019, 10:53 PM
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Good thing you acted wisely. Most men wait about 3 hours in denial before calling. Did you get Thrombolytic therapy...clot buster? ACLS, advanced cardiac life support training has advanced tremendously in the last few decades. STEMI alert, ST elevation MI, is a one morphology that will get you pronto treatment and a cath lab is a must for survival. As a fireman/medic for 34 years, having worked hundreds of codes and pre-hospital events, I can tell you survival rates are incredibly higher than ever, but early recognition and treatment is key.
Just wanna say Happy Birthday.
Old 04-15-2019, 03:46 AM
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Thank you for sharing!
Old 04-15-2019, 04:05 AM
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Glad you made it!

Even though you think you can “drive” there faster, it’s best to call 911. EMS will have things all set up in route, EKG, meds, IV lines, most importantly... the cath lab will get activated, and staff and physician will be on the way. Driving in will always take longer even though you may get there a few min quicker.

There’s a 20min rule for how far you can live from the hospital for STEMI call, however as you can imagine it often takes longer. And, If you driven in, They won’t get activated till you show up in the ED, prepped, and get an EKG


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Old 04-15-2019, 05:11 AM
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Scary stuff, you always think you will have symptoms first but I have found that isn't the case. Good friend of mine died about 6 months, no signs of any heart problems but died in his sleep at just 52.

Strokes are another scary thing, one of my fishing buddies was driving to one of his rental properties and had a massive stroke. He was in the hospital for 3 weeks but he lived. He has no use of his left arm and likely never will.

So glad you made it to tell your story!!
Old 04-15-2019, 05:22 AM
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Glad you're OK. As a 58 year old guy living alone, this stuff scares the crap out of me. I had a kidney stone last year and it was the worst pain I had ever felt. Couldn't get in touch with my sister, and finally called a friend who came over and took me to a free-standing ER. I was able to Google the symptoms and figured out what it was. It didn't come on fast, but when it did it did.
Old 04-15-2019, 05:23 AM
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Tell me about it, I was 17 in good health.
Old 04-15-2019, 05:31 AM
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Glad to hear your gonna be fine.
Old 04-15-2019, 06:12 AM
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That's why ,unless there are contraindications everyone should take a baby aspirin daily.
Old 04-15-2019, 06:40 AM
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Thanks for sharing the info,it will likely save someone else's life.Glad you made it.
Old 04-15-2019, 06:41 AM
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Walked around for a whole day with chest pains, thought it was indigestion. The stupid part is I am a certified first responder. Denial, stupidity. Finally went to the ER the next morning. Took one look at me and Life Flighted me to a trauma center. Ended up having 3 stents placed. I was 48 at the time and am now 61. Had another heart attack at 51, this time on the left side of the heart, the widow maker, one more stent in. Since then all has been pretty good Doctor told me it was actually a good thing I was only 48 as if I would have been in my 60's at the time it would have killed me. Never ignore chest pains, it could be the difference between life and death! Funny thing is I never got a bill for the helicopter flight.
Old 04-15-2019, 06:48 AM
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Two things you should have done differently, if you think you're having a heart attack you should take an aspirin and you should never drive yourself. Call 911 and let a professional take you to the correct hospital. This is a conversation everyone should have with their doctor; what to do if you think you're having a heart attack.

Glad you're OK.
Old 04-15-2019, 07:06 AM
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Been there done that. Almost exactly the same events and timeline. I woke up with the pain, didn't think much of it, toughed it out. Then it went down my left arm. Got up took an aspirin, pain subsided. I woke up my wife (a cardiac nurse) and off we went to the hospital. I took mine a while to reveal itself, my troponin level didn't show a HA. Then it started rising through the night, by the morning it was at the level indicating an HA. So off to a stress test, pain returned and off to the cath lab. Found the blockage on left side artery, commonly known as the widowmaker, inserted a stent. All has been good since. This was labor day weekend 2015.

P.S. - Note to self, when you have chest pains a few days before the above events, treat them with aspirin, but fail to tell your wife the cardiac/open heart surgery nurse.....Oh boy....that was a fun conversation....
Old 04-15-2019, 07:12 AM
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Thanks for sharing!
Old 04-15-2019, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by mikefloyd View Post
Two things you should have done differently, if you think you're having a heart attack you should take an aspirin and you should never drive yourself. Call 911 and let a professional take you to the correct hospital. This is a conversation everyone should have with their doctor; what to do if you think you're having a heart attack.

Glad you're OK.
x2 on the ambulance ride. A year or so ago I had a similar thing happed but wasn't a HA. Got up at 5 to take a leak and when I turned away from the toilet the room started spinning but not like any spinning I'd ever experienced before. This was gyroscopic to say the least. I got down on all fours hoping it would pass. It didn't, so I decided to get up and get back into bed and hope it passed. Big mistake since I was apparently in full AFIB and passed out, hit my head on the counter on the way to the floor, where I hit it again. Doc figured it was caused by taking a couple of hits from my albuterol inhaler followed by some dextromethorphan cough syrup. Wife grabs cordless phone (yes, we have a landline) only to find she didn't properly terminate her last call. Luckily her cell phone was close by. By this time I'm starting to come to and can hear her talking to the 911 operator and telling her she's not sure if I was breathing or not & bleeding all over the place. She'd just completed a CPR course but was in borderline panic mode by now. Amazingly the EMT's were here in less than 10 minutes and had me hooked up with a pretty good idea of what was going on. Sorry for the hijack OP and glad your outcome was a positive one. Curious to know if you'll have this in the back of your mind when you're on the water? I know I was leery about it for a while afterwards but it's in my rearview mirror now.
Old 04-15-2019, 07:53 AM
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Thanks for the good vibes guys. We are all ten feet tall and bullet proof, till we are not. That's when bad things happen.
We just forgot the aspirin. Things moved so fast once I told me wife we just forgot.
We were out the door once I woke her in maybe 5 minutes.
One of those minutes were taken up finding my wife's keys !
The subject of the ambulance was brought up by my wife.. But living where we do, we drove on 2-3 minutes to the ER.
Faster than the ambulance would have gotten to my house.
As for living with the HA from here on out, I am just starting to deal with that.
The doc has said my recovery should be complete.
He has said that I should be able to resume normal activities which include diving, soccer, paintball and bicycle riding.
I am sure there will be more discussion with him about these things.
If somebody isn't convinced yet that it can happen, look at this.
You don't have to be a doctor to understand it.
Thanks again
Never say not me.
Old 04-15-2019, 08:21 AM
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Apparently my first post didn't take but I'm pretty sure hearing "Glad you made it" more than once isn't a bad thing :D
Old 04-15-2019, 08:23 AM
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Glad you are here to post this!

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