I may have helped save a life today

Thanks to Carolyn Thomas and her excellent blog Heart Sisters I recognized a heart attack in progress.

In my writing class this morning the woman next to me got up unexpectedly and left.  On return she said threw up in the bathroom.  A few minutes later she said she didn’t feel good, hot and sweaty, and thought she should go home.  Something told me to ask her if she had chest pain.  

I interrupted the teacher and privately told him she had heart attack symptoms. He immediately had the facility call 911.  


The woman kept repeating she was ok, in great health, played tennis 4 times a week, no history of heart disease in the family, ate well and would be fine.  Even after the paramedics came she kept questioning whether she needed to go to the hospital.

Because I’ve followed Carolyn’s blog I know common symptoms for women having a heart attack:

Women often have different symptoms of a heart attack than men and may report serious symptoms even before having a heart attack, although the signs are not ‘typical’ heart attack symptoms. These include:”

  • neck, throat, shoulder, upper back, or abdominal discomfort
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea or vomiting
  • sweating
  • anxiety or “a sense of impending doom”
  • light-headedness or dizziness
  • unusual fatigue for several days

This woman had three symptoms PLUS, by the time the paramedics arrived, pain radiated to her jaw.

I insisted she go to the hospital and she could blame me if everything was ok.

Everything was not ok.

Click & Read this: Words matter when we describe our heart attack symptoms



15 comments on “I may have helped save a life today

  1. OMG!! You have another who gives you a title of ‘hero’. You are very quick with diagnosis & a hero to many ‘saving them from having heart attacks’. You are MY hero. 💕💕😍❤️👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

    Sent from my iPhone Linda



  2. Many thanks due all round—to Carolyn Thomas and her blog, to your quick and persistent thinking and action, and to the teacher who acted promptly.That woman is so lucky you were in that class. And more thanks to you for reminding us of the signs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leggy P.,
      Yes, everyone responded and I was grateful that the emergency room nurses and doctors knew the symptoms for women’s heart attack and didn’t pass it off as an anxiety attack (which was one of the questions the paramedics kept focusing on and I kept shaking my head “no” at them in the background)

      Liked by 1 person

    • Shari,
      I will take credit for polishing off the ice cream but the painting was done by one of my workshop participants. It’s great isn’t it!! I wish I remembered her name to give her credit but it was years ago and I cleaned out my files . . .
      It’s from a process painting workshop where the painting is done spontaneously and VERY fast so people don’t have a lot of time to think.


  3. Wow, what a story, Judy-Judith! First of all, thanks for your kind words about my Heart Sisters blog. Second, congratulations for stepping up to intervene on this woman’s behalf when you recognized the warning signs, and not letting her talk herself out of going to hospital. What I now like to remind women is this: “You know your body. You KNOW when something does not feel “right”. Seek the same kind of immediate help you would demand if these symptoms were happening to your daughter, or your sister or your Mum!”

    You not only may have saved a life today, but you modeled for all other women there the correct course of action!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carolyn,
      I give you credit for educating me about women’s heart disease. The generosity, time and energy you put into educating and creating a platform for change not just women’s lives but the medical profession as well is a living legacy to women and men all over the world.

      I am going to give your URL to all the participants in my writing groups and classes when we meet next.
      I love you,

      Liked by 2 people

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