Friday, November 9, 2012


Nurse has heart attack and describes what
women feel when having one.....


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!


I was aware that female heart attacks are different, but
this is the best description I've ever read.

Women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men
have ... you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the
chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest &
dropping to the floor that we see in 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 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 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

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 stents.
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 firsthand.

1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your
body, not the usual man'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

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.