Tuesday, April 11, 2017


Whenever someone gets seriously ill, I often ask what the symptoms were.  Not that I am a hypochondriac, let’s just say I am curious.

From the symptoms of people I knew, mainly men, their heart attacks were fatal.  They clutched their chest, were full of sweat and sometimes knew it was the end.

Other men disregarded their symptoms of feeling lethargic, having indigestion, nausea, and mild chest  and arm pain. The pains were equated with too much exercise, not enough exercise, too much bad food, etc.  They will make a doctor’s appointment when their schedule works out for them. Sometimes this attitude can be fatal.

On the other hand a woman’s symptoms are a little different.  In very rare cases it can be too late to know she had a heart attack, as she would be in pain clutching her chest. The norm as I experienced, can be very deceiving. Many medical doctors are just learning of the many different symptoms a woman can have. A few years ago, I experienced gas pains.  I’ve had them all my life on and off so I did not take too much attention to it. But when the discomfort came and went every few hours like contractions before giving birth, I became concerned.  Each time it returned the indigestion got worse. Then the magic symptom came which was my jaw and teeth radiating.  My arm started to feel pressure, like a very slight pain.

Because the pain was not severe in my chest, I thought there was no need for an ambulance. Thus my husband drove me to the hospital for tests.  It was revealed I had a heart attack and received two stents on the left arteries

Interestingly, when we think heart attack, we think “ouch” severe pain to the chest.

When an artery is clogged blood cannot flow to the heart and if not repaired within 12 hours it could be fatal or at least severe heart damage.

My second attack was different from the first.  I had no indigestion, just pressure on my chest, shoulder and arm.  It came and went every few minutes like my previous attack. However the jaw and arm discomfort was the sign to get to my primary doctor.  He gave me a cardiogram which did not look good and advised me to go to the hospital.  Since there was no bad pain only a discomfort I asked to take blood work to see if I had cardiac disease.  While waiting for a lab tech to take blood, the discomfort was coming faster than I expected.  I made my husband drive to the emergency as quickly as possible.

Later, I learned never to drive to the emergency but to call an ambulance.  My heart attack was a bad one at the RCA(Right Coronary Artery)  I was told if I waited up to 12 hours I may not have lived

In both cases I did not panic nor took my heart attack too seriously because I was not in severe pain. Had I waited for the pain it might have been too late



No comments: