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My unusual heart attack symptoms

  • 1.  My unusual heart attack symptoms

    Posted 06-11-2020 13:24
    My pain started in my chest over three years ago and soon after spread to my arms and back.  At first I mostly noticed it when I was laying in bed at night.  It felt like a heavy weight on me in those areas.  I've heard it described as feeling like an elephant is sitting on you but it wasn't that heavy feeling to me.  That started on Wednesday 3/29/17 in the evening.  On Friday I also felt light headed and short of breath but on Saturday I felt well enough to do three loads of laundry while my husband was gone for five hours doing a water right.  On Sunday when I got up I felt worse again, drank an Ensure and vomited all of it within about 10 minutes.  I spent the rest of the day in my recliner, unable to get up much except to go to bathroom.  I felt shaky and my legs felt rubbery.  I wanted to make it to the dentist on Tuesday.  Taking a shower on Monday was quite a feat.  I washed my hair as fast as possible and got out but had to sit on the toilet seat wrapped in a towel for about 10 minutes before I could catch my breath long enough to comb my hair out and then rest again before getting dressed.  On Tuesday I finally went to the dentist, after taking a very long time getting my clothes on (like one sock at a time before I had to rest and catch my breath again), and told him I wasn't feeling well and I planned to call the ambulance to take me to the hospital as soon as he was finished.  I think the vomiting was the real clue to me that it was a heart attack.  I have the heart attack symptoms on the side of my fridge and it mentioned that often women had that one more often than men did.  I knew the ambulance was only a minute or two from the dentist's office, which is much closer than our house is, so I had planned to have them come get me as soon as possible.  It's so hard to get an appointment with my dentist that I didn't want to postpone it.  I guess I had my priorities a little screwed up but at least I made it in time.  There most likely would have been less damage had I not waited so long.  I was taken to our local hospital and a blood test showed my troponin levels were 133+ and that I had been having my heart attack for six days.  I should't have lived through this heart attack.  They transferred me to Rogue River Medical Center in Medford which is well known for its cardiac unit and trauma center.  Everyone there was wonderful.  Two stents were inserted in my heart arteries and I spent six days in the ICU,  It's been over three years now and I have a lot of shaking and rubbery feeling legs but after several tests and another trip to the hospital I'm still here and haven't had another heart attack.  But the shaking feels like I'm standing on a vibrating surface and I'm always short of breath.  I'm wondering if anyone else feels like this.  I've asked my cardiologist about it and no one can explain it.  I'm so tired of feeling bad and unable to stand up for very long or keep up with ordinary household tasks.

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    Nancy Lyford
    Retired social worker
    O'Brien OR
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  • 2.  RE: My unusual heart attack symptoms

    Posted 06-14-2020 11:21
    Hi Nancy,

    I don't think your heart attack symptoms are unusual at all! I had very similar symptoms 7 years ago, and I too delayed and let it go for days with the same pains, unable to breath, difficulty standing or even sitting by taking Tylenol and sleeping pills just to get by at the time. I had the nausea repeatedly, plus back and chest pain, severe left arm pain, yet I kept making other excuses such as the heat, my being over weight, etc. Like you I didn't make it a priority as I had errands to complete and work to do in the garden! By the time we casually drove me the 8 miles to the hospital and I walked from where we parked to the ER entrance, I was about to collapse, and about 45 minutes later I rolled out of the chair during the intake interview. Suddenly every one realized it was a real emergency. Within 15 minutes I was in a trauma helicopter enroute to a Level 1 trauma hospital in the midst of a severe heart attack that had been going on at least 3 days. My LAD was blocked in 2 places, my Main artery was blocked 95% and 90% just past the fork of it. What they told me should have been a 90 minutes cath procedure took over 4 hours and I received 4 stents. They were only able to keep me alive by use of the stents, as they only stented the LAD. They said I was too weak for them to proceed with the Bypass I needed for the Main artery issues. I then had to wait for 5 weeks to recover enough strength before they would do the CABG, which they did and I had a triple bypass. Like you, I knew the heart attack basic symptoms. My husband and I had recently completed a CPR course as part of the foster parent program, and we still both made excuses about why I hurt so much. At age 55 we didn't even consider that it was a heart issue. YOU are not alone! YOU are not unusual! You and the rest of us are all in this family of Mended Hearts together! Take care, and stay aware of how you feel, and learn to know if it feels wrong. YOU are your best friend!

    Hugs, Kay

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    Kay Lewis
    Miami, FL
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