Skip to comments.Immediate First Aid for Heart Attack (by one who's been there.)
Posted on 07/15/2002 2:36:15 PM PDT by basil
Last Thursday was 7-11, as I recall, which should have been a lucky day. I now believe it was luckier than most for me.
Everything seemed "normal" when I awoke around 6:30 AM. I got up, put on my robe, and padded to the kitchen to get the water boiling for my usual cup of tea. Then, I let my Springer Spaniel, Mandy, out to do her doggy thing, and opened up the doors to my home office. I booted up my Mac, and returned to the kitchen to pour the water over the tea bag.
Returning to my office with my hot teacup, I had a bit of a shooting pain in the left side of my chest. Nothing intolerable, but enough to get my attention. Just as the "forum" page of FR downloaded, it felt like a giant crab had grabbed a hold of my heart--and he wouldn't let go! I tried taking some deep breaths, changing my position, etc., but nothing helped. It dawned on me right then that I was having a heart attack! (Funny, but I kept thinking of Fred Sandford telling his wife he was having the BIG ONE!--LOL)This narrative may get a bit long, as I have a tendency to be a bit wordy (a big surprise to some of you--ha!), so those of you who have no interest, please bail out now.
For the rest of you, I want you to learn what I learned, which I am sure saved my life. If you ever find youself in the same circumstance, I hope you will remember this: IMMEDIATELY TAKE ONE ASPIRIN!! Not more than one, and not an aspirin substitute--ONE WHOLE ASPIRIN. I had read a long time ago in a Reader's Digest (I think) that one aspirin taken within an hour of a myocardial infarction (heart attack) can help prevent permanent damage to the heart muscle. Since reading this article, I had kept aspirin in my purse, in my car, and in the house. As soon as I figured out what was happening, I went to the bathroom and grabbed the aspirin bottle and swallowed one whole aspirin.
My husband was downstairs at the time (watching the stock market tank, no doubt--) when I yelled down and told him what I though was going on, and to please call 911. He put the call in immediately, and then came upstairs to see about me.
My dog had gone into "protective mode"--how do they know to do that?--and she wouldn't let Mr. basil near me! I realized that she also would not let the EMS guys near me either, so I had to get up off the couch and put her behind the bedroom door.
I don't remember much of the next few minutes. After putting the dog up, I must have decided that I needed something in the kitchen, because I had started in there when I completely passed out (for the first and only time in my life.) I later learned that I fell on my face and hit the ceramic tile floor. When I came to, the EMS guys were working over me, but all I was aware of was that blood was gushing out of my nose, and I thought that was rather odd--but by then, everything seemed rather odd to me.
I had this sensation that there was something important going on that I should be taking part in, but for the life of me, I couldn't think what it might be. I did not feel like I was floating in the air, and I didnot see a shinning light (Note--neither did I see pitchforks!)
My next recollection was of being wheeled down our very long, very steep driveway on a gurney. I recall that I was in the ambulance for what seemed like a rather long time before it started moving. At this time, I have to admit that I had some very severe pain, and couldn't focus too much on what the technicians were doing to me. I remember that they told me that they were going to start (I believe they said an external pacemaker), and that it would be a bit painful. They didn't lie.
That was such a strange experience that I have to tell about it. I don't know what the thing looked like, as apparently I never opened my eyes during this time. Anyway, here's what I felt: it was as if I had a series arches of some sort over my body from about my knees to shoulder level. At the knees, it started with an electrical zap, followed a few seconds later with another zap a bit higher up, and so on until the top arch zapped at my shoulders. Then, it started going back down the arches, and then back up. Although this was rather painful, it was also rather fascinating, until I realized all of a sudden that I seemed to be convulsing.
I was being shaken by very hard, uncontrollable convulsions that were wracking my entire body. I keep yelling at the techs to please help me, but they seemed to just ignore me! I couldn't figure out why they weren't paying any attention to me. Also, at about this time, I suddenly had the sensation that my tongue had swollen many times it's normal size and was stuck to my very dry top lip--who knows what that was about!This finally stopped, and I felt better for a while, then the whole process repeated itself.
Finally, I knew we were at the hospital and that I was being rushed somewhere. I don't now know if it was to the Emergency Room, or straight to Cardiac Catherization Lab. All I know for sure is that the hand of God was with me, because, as it turned out, a very brillant cardiologist was on call, and he was waiting for me. (The techs had been in telephone contact with him on the 45 minute ambulance trip, getting their instructions from him.)
For the next couple of hours, I think I was more or less unaware of what what going on, except that I had two more of those convulsing episodes like I had experienced in the ambulance, only they were much more severe now. I continued to think that I was screaming at somebody,ANYBODY! to help me, and again, no one seemed to care--or even to glance at me, or to say a word to me. This added greatly to my distress, but I couldn't figure out anything else to do, so I just kept convulsing and hoping it would all end soon.
I suppose that's exactly what happened, because the next thing I knew, I was awake and in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit. I was feeling absolutlely normal, had no pain whatsoever, and I think my head was clear (one never knows when talking about this head--lol). I took stock, and noted that I had 3 iv's running, a heart monitor hookup, two tubes connected in my groin (can you say "groin" on FR?), and was wearing an oxygen mask.
That was the end of the excitement. It wasn't until several hours later that this "really helpful" nurse found a mirror so that I could get a good look at myself. Believe me--you don't want to know what I saw, just suffice it to say that all I could think of was to holler TRICK OR TREAT!! The damage consists of of a broken nose, a badly bruised eye orbit, and the left shoulder and hip are varying shades of blues, purples, and greens. The color in my face changes and spreads daily, and has some most interesting colors and patterns in it. I told my daughter, pesto, who is to be a blushing bride in less than three weeks, not to worry--if all else fails, I can just wear a burka to the wedding, and won't scare any of the little kids.
Now--here's the serious part--all jokes aside:BOTH OF MY CARDIOLOGISTS AGREE THAT BY TAKING THAT PLAIN OLD EVERYDAY ONE ASPIRIN, I VERY PROBABLY SAVED MY LIFE!!! I hope each of you will remember this always, and tell all you family and friends about it!
And one final bit that may be of interest to some of you: Each of the four times that I was experiencing the convulsing episodes, I was in complete cardiac arrest (complete heart stoppage). The doctors assure me that I was not convulsing, and that I was not screaming at anybody, that that was my mind playing tricks on me.Dear freeper friends, there is no way to adequately let you know how much your prayers and well-wishes meant to me during this time. On behalf of me, Mr Basil, and pesto, (and our other 4 kids), all we can say is an humble thank you., I am very sure that I am here today because, in part, of all of your lovely prayers. How does one adequately say thanks for that? May God bless each and every one of you!
AT THE FIRST SYMPTOM OF A HEART ATTACK, SWALLOW ONE WHOLE GENUINE ASPIRIN!!!
Hint #2--don't try to get up and walk to the kitchen during a heart attack--
I have been assured by both of my physicians that I have sustained no damage to my heart muscle. I give sincere thanks to Almighty God.
Best to you always, and God Bless....
Thank the Good Lord your OK.........Stay SAFE !!
Thank you so much for your advice about the aspirin. I shall place one in my purse right now, as well as various locations throughout the house and cars.
May God continue to bless your recovery and give you more energy and inspiration than ever before. There is still work to do and we are glad you are still on the mission.
God Bless You!
Now it has been over seven years and I am stronger than ever. You will be too.
I'm so glad you're still with us.
Howlin did a similar service nearly 2 years ago - we all need to look out for one another.
btw....good advice about aspirins.
You don't have to be embarrassed about the black eye and the swollen nose - just lie to your friends and tell them you got them in a bar fight.
I can relate - I too had a heart attack ten years ago at the age of 47, and I had to be defibrillated twice by the EMTs (thank God for them) on the way to the hospital. Of all things, mine happened during a treadmill test! I kept telling the Dr. who was administering the test that I was in distress; I didn't have real bad chest pains at first, but I had the "elephant on the chest", along with the feeling of impending doom and the cold sweat. He just kept telling me I was doing fine - After all, I was a pre-menopausal woman - who'd a thunk it?
They finally took me off the treadmill (I actually passed the test!), and soon after that I felt like I was being stabbed repeatedly in the chest.
It all got crazy after that, but lucky for me, I had no permanent damage to my heart muscle either. I still have arrhythmia, but I'm taking Cardizem, along with an aspirin a day, plus Vitamin E, plus (gulp!) Prempro!
Hang in there, basil, you've been given another lease on life - every day is precious, and this experience will make you aware of that with every breath.
Prayers are with you and your family.