Friday: Spent all day and evening in the ER. I was EXTREMELY light-heading, threw up, missed my art class and spent 24 hours in bed thinking I’d feel fine in the morning . . . WRONG.
Saturday: In the morning the room was moving and I wasn’t. Every time I moved I threw up and there was nothing to throw-up since I hadn’t eaten anything (You have probably created a nasty picture in your mind . . . just make it even nastier).
The ER was even more fun. Throwing up, drawing blood, 2 CT scans (to make sure it wasn’t a stroke . . . it wasn’t) and finally, after 4 different anti-nausea medications and drips, I stopped throwing up.
Sunday: I’m still dizzy and have to hold on to things to walk (it’s a bit wonky to type) but the good news, the GREAT news, is I’ve not thrown up. The bad news is I’m still dizzy . . . and grey-haired.
To my friends and acquaintances who suffer with Ménière’s disease. . . I have new compassion for you!
P.S. For those of you I confused . . I don’t have Menieres just plain Ditzy.
Spent 5 hours in the ER. Chest pain, light headedness, fatigue, muddled thinking. I knew I wasn’t having a heart attack since these symptoms have been going on for sometime. In the past, by the time they got me on a halter-monitor my symptoms were gone. This time I was told to go to the ER where they had the equipment to “catch” what was happening.
Yes! I’ve got rhythm
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JaZzy marching band
Heart of the matter:Help me be independentof unhealthy health
Drove myself to the ER (remember, I knew I wasn’t having a heart attack). Said I was having chest pain so I got preferred parking and was triaged in immediately. If you are bleeding profusely (depending on what part of the body is bleeding) or have chest pains you go to the head of the line.
OF COURSE the 2-second EKG was fine and I was sent to the waiting room till they had a “bed” for me.
Three hours later, having read every magazine in the waiting room (except for Popular Mechanics which my heart wasn’t into), I was disrobed, had blood drawn, chest x-rayed and hooked up to a heart monitor with a comfy warm blanket around my legs.
Seems the culprit is bradycardia – my heart rate goes too low with any kind of exertion (including laughing exuberantly) and not enough blood is getting to my organs including my brain, which it turns out is an organ, (thus the muddled thinking – a relief to know it’s not old age just heart disease).
Now I can add bradycardia to the PVC’s, atrial fibrillation, AV node block, high blood pressure, crabbiness and gray hair.
What to do? I’ll see the Doctor November 8th.
He’s not triaging me in first cuz my heart is still beating, albeit irregularly.
As horrible and frightening as other diseases are cardiovascular disease kills more women over 25 than all cancers combined. Furthermore, young women who have heart attacks are twice as likely to die from them as men are.
I am an ER nurse and this is the best description of this event that I have ever heard.
Did you know that women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing heart attack. You know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest & dropping to the floor that we see in the movies.
“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 moment.
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 stints.
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 first hand:
#1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your body, not the usual men’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 THE ESSENCE! 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 information and sends it to 10 people,
you can be sure that we’ll save at least one life.