Monday, November 26, 2012

The Heart of the Matter......

November 9th, 2012 was the day my life changed forever. I was talked into writing about it by some good friends. For those of you who are new visitors and friends, I'm going to repost it in the hopes that it will help someone if they or someone they know are ever find themselves in the same  situation.   

Two weeks ago on Friday, November 9th (2012) at 6:15 in the morning I had a life changing experience.  I wasn't sure I was going to post about it but decided to go ahead because it's something most of us as women don't really know or think about.

Soooo, here goes!
I started feeling weird about 8pm Thursday night. Every once in a while I would get a little flutter in the middle of my chest, also had a strange feeling in my arm, not really numb, just weird. It wasn't the really tingly numbness you would think would come with something as serious as a heart attack. I thought it was strange but not anything serious. I did wonder at one point if it might have something to do with my heart but kind of ignored that. These symptoms kept on till I went to bed at 11. I figured if it was still happening in the morning, I'd go to my Dr. I woke up about 1am feeling very strange and had to sit up till it passed. At 3:15, I woke up again and it was worse, sat up again till it passed and then went back to sleep. What in the world was I thinking, Big mistake!  I woke up again at 6:15 and knew something was terribly wrong.  Both my arms felt really strange, that was the worst, and I was getting weak which got stronger and stronger. I got dressed and  called my oldest son who was staying in our bonus room that was set up as a small apartment since he'd gotten out of the service. He didn't answer so I looked down the hall and the door was open.
Because he always kept it closed, I thought he hadn't come home.  I didn't know that that night he'd decided to sleep in the guest room.  My middle son always had to be at work at 6am but his door was still closed so I knew he was home. LUCKILY for me, he didn't have to be there that day till 7. I knocked on his door and told him I needed to go to the emergency room. By this time I was getting weaker.  He had to help me down the stairs and into his truck.  Near Fatal Mistake number 2, (the first was going to bed instead of going to the hospital), I should have called 911! The fire department/paramedics were a block down the street, they go by my house all the time but it never entered my mind to call, we drove right by! By the time we got to the hospital which once again I was lucky, it was only 10 mins away, by that time I was to weak to walk in.  Aaron had to get me a wheel chair from inside the door. He took me in and told the Nurse what was happening and they took me right into the office and started asking me questions such as did I smoke, no, did I drink, no, had I been sick, no. By now, I was really weak and told them I thought I was going to pass out. Their response was no, don't do that, REALLY, your kidding me, right!  Even though I didn't realize it, I did. The next thing I remember was seeing all 3 of my kids sitting in a row with baby Kailyn on Kate's lap and the nurse saying I can't get the IV in her arm, the other nurse saying forget it we have one in her other arm, we have to go now. I thought I was still sitting in the office but I was in a room on a gurney. The next thing I knew, they were rushing me down the hallway and then I was out! No, I didn't see the tunnel with the bright light at the end, I'm hoping that doesn't mean I was heading the other way to you know where!  The next thing I knew, was it was morning and I was sitting up with the Dr. telling me what had happened. He said I was very lucky to have gotten there when I did and asked me if I had taken any aspirin which I told him I had.  His response was to tell me that might have been what made the difference between still being here or not and that it had been quite serious. He said I'd had a major heart attack and that I had damage to my heart. Instead of pumping % being normal which is 55% to 65%, it was pumping at 35% which he said wasn't that bad. My left artery was 90% blocked and they had to put a stint in to open it up. My right one was 60% blocked which they were going to try to dissolve it with medication.  It was the strangest thing, I felt perfectly fine, like nothing had happened. No pain, no nothing. Made it kind of hard to believe it had really happened.  I was in ICU for 4 days then moved to a regular room on Monday. Before they let me go home on Tuesday, they gave me a portable defibrillator which you wear like an over the shoulder purse. It's about the size of a large canteen and is very awkward and if worn over the shoulder, swings around and is very annoying!  You can also wear it hooked to a belt which I switched to pretty quickly, much more comfortable. I had to wear this thing for 3 months. If my heart stopped or started beating irregularly, it would shock me with 150 volts to get it working properly again. Fortunately, that's a lot less then what you get zapped with if you happen to be unlucky enough to be sitting in the electric chair! I didn't think much of it till a friend,(or was she),  told me that she knew someone who'd been zapped, it knocked them down and unconscious! TMI, to much information, I would have been happier not knowing that!
  Now isn't that something to look forward to, hopefully NOT!  I'm thinking positive here!
  I had no idea what a heart attack was like and as far as that goes, haven't known any women that
have ever had one. The only other weird thing is, or, maybe it's just me but I kind of feel embarrassed to tell people I had a heart attack, almost like I did something wrong.  I don't know why, or where that's even coming from, but I am getting over it.
 One last thing that that cracks me up, or  maybe I  just have an very weird sense of humor,
 that weekend I was supposed to go to my best friend's daughter's wedding in Savannah.  It so happened that my daughter who was supposed to go with me had come down with a bug and her husband was out of town and at that particular time, no one else was available to take care of Kailyn till she felt better, I decided to stay home and help her.  This is the part that I find totally ironic.  If I had gone, I was supposed to leave Thursday and spend the night at her house in Statesboro along with another of her good friends, Shirley and her husband and then drive to Savannah Friday morning.  OK, here it comes, guess what Shirley does for a living.......
She's a UNDERTAKER!!  Well, really she's a funeral director who owns her own funeral home!
It cracks me up every time I think about it!  Am I weird or what!!
I'm doing fine, feel great and plan to be around at least as long as my Mom who is going to be 85 in February, and, I'm  planning on seeing that sweet baby girl grow up!

Till next time......thank goodness there will be!
 It's been 5 years now, (11/2017), and I'm  doing fine, no problems at all, looking forward to staying healthy and around for a lot more years!  Hope this helps shed a little light on what the symptoms are and what to look for if you or someone you know is in the same situation!
Just a little more information, more women die from heart attacks every year then all kinds of cancer combined! Now, that's a statistic to think about!

After all that, I need a good party so this week you can find me at:


Olive said...

Rebecca, I am so sad this happened to you but happy you survived this MI. I do talk nurse speak still. Women do have different and far more subtle signs and symptoms as you have so well written first hand about. Bless you and may God keep you well, Olive

Blondie's Journal said...

Oh, Rebecca...I was reading your post like a novel! The whole time I was thinking..."Call 911". I'm so glad you made it to the hospital and are now doing well. I hope a great number of women read your post and remember these warning signs. Keep up the exercise and stay more close calls!


Anne said...

Rebecca thank you for sharing your story! I am so glad you are alright and got to the hospital in time!

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

How frightening! You are very lucky that you made it to the hospital when you did. Somebody was looking out for you.

I'm so glad things turned out as they did and by telling your story, you may save somebody else's life down the road. Thank you so much for sharing today, Rebecca, and enjoy watching your granddaughter grow up. :@


Jen said...

Oh dear Rebecca, I know that was hard for you to do, but I'm glad you told us. I've heard that women's symptoms are not a strong as men, and that there isn't as much awareness of heart attacks for women, so anything that can be done to increase awareness is good.

I'm so glad there was a hospital close and that you are on the mend. Thank you for sharing.



Sweet Posy Dreams said...

Bless your heart, Rebecca! (Or maybe you don't feel so much like blessing it after the trick it played on you.) I am so glad you are going to be okay. How fortunate your son was there to get you to the hospital. Thank you for telling your story.

Have a Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson said...

Oh my gosh Rebecca this is really scary. I am so thankful that you are alright. I am going to keep this in mind. I think it would be easy to deny that it is anything that serious. Thanks goodness that your son was home and got you there in time. My prayers will be with you. Thanks for sharing this with Share Your Cup.

Vickie @ Ranger 911 said...

Rebacca, I received your reply, but I doubt if you received mine, so here's a link to hopefully change your setting:

Have a good day!

Anonymous said...

dera lord above, what an amazing story, you are so very lucky, please do everything your are told, this is your second chance,you are not a cat, you do not have nine lives! That is just amazing, I will keep you in my prayers,

Robin said...

I'm glad you are doing better! I was just thinking about you tonight. Seriously, if you need anything just let me know. I drive by your house on my way to/from work every day! Robin

Tina@WhatWeKeep said...

Oh, Rebecca! This scared me to death~ I'm so glad that you are okay!
I'm so glad that you shared this with us. You read things like this, but like you said, you always think you'll know for sure if you are having a heart attack because there will be lots of pain. I understand that you have the strange feeling of embarrassment...I had a stroke 4 years ago at 46 and had no symptoms other than my words were mixed up and I had a headache for a day. I though strokes happened to elderly sick people...not me.
Rest and take care of yourself and get that butt moving on your walks, girlfriend! Elizabeth Sanford is going to have to wait a long time to see you! (I loved that show)
Hugs, hugs, hugs and yes, weird friend, you made me laugh with the funeral home quip! You gotta laugh! Life is funny, even when it's not. :)
Be well, Rebecca~
xo, Tina

outjunking said...

Thank you Lord Jesus for letting us keep Rebecca. Please take care and thank you for sharing. You told it beautifully, a tear ran down my face that could be anyone of us at anytime.

Susan ~ Southern Fascinations said...

Rebecca.. Thank you for sharing. I don't think we can be reminded enough that our symptoms are different from those experienced by men. YES, we do tend to think that we don't need to make a fuss so we'll just see how things are in the morning! Thankfully, you were able to receive the treatment needed to get you on the mend. Take care ... and bless your heart! Susan

Stan and Jody Gabara said...

Rebecca, Thanks so much for sharing your story on Simple & Sweet Fridays. Hopefully your experience will inspire us all to look for the signs of what you went through. So happy you're feeling better and am looking forward to hearing more good news!


Vicki said...

OMG, Rebecca. I am so glad you are recovering. My mom had a heart attack in 2001 and did the same thing. She had all the same warning signs and took 12 hours to mention to my dad. It was the middle of the night. He did call 911 and she nearly died twice before they got her to the hospital. Thank you for posting this. You may save a life by making people aware. Wishing you a speedy recovery. Follow drs orders on exercise, food and meds so you can get back to your old self and ditch the "canteen."

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

Oh for heaven's sake! I'm so glad you stopped by my place. Because you could!! Sounds like it could have been the worst. Take good care. I appreciate your comment so much. Glad you like the tablescape. I hope your Christmas is especially wonderful this year.


Åh dear Rebecca, so scary. I am so glad for your comment and that you are better. Reading your story was so good, this can happen to anyone.
Best wishes and be well.
Hugs and love

Teresa@1800 Farmhouse Rd said...

OMG Rebecca! Ok, I won't ramble on with a serman, but as a nurse, ok.... I won't get started. It just plain was not your time to go is all I can say. Girl, you are so lucky. I am also so sorry I am just now seeing this post. So glad your on the road to recovery. You'd better take care of your self and do as the dr. says. I will send you an e-mail in just a bit.

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

Oh wow! What a frightening experience! I am so glad you decided to share your story, you just never know who could be helped by hearing about this. I probably would have passed it off as nothing also, but it's a good thing you got to the hospital when you did. I hope you're doing well and that you make a complete recovery.

Rubye Jack said...

First of all, I'm glad you made it to the hospital in time.

This was really good for me to read because sometimes I get bad heart burn and think heart attack, but I had no idea that a heart attack might not be painful. I'm like you and would have waited also. For me it's too much pride. Anyway, I hope you stay well now.

Anonymous said...

Oh my, Rebecca. I don't know whether I want to give you a hug or slap you on the back of the head for ignoring all those signs! Goodness. I am SO glad you are okay. What a scary experience. I will certainly remember this for future reference (hopefully VERY far off future) that a woman can experience a heart attack without feeling intense pain. Or maybe we are just better at handling it then men? I think it's definitely in our genetic makeup to wait as long as possible before we get help - we don't want anyone to make a fuss over us for nothing. But in your case, that was definitely not nothing! As annoying as it is, I'm glad you've got that defibrilator around, just in case. I'm going to say a little prayer of thanks for you, and hope that you never have to experience this again!!

craftyles said...

So glad you are on the mend. It's good to hear a first hand story-maybe that will help one of us, get to the doctor someday. Thank you!

The French Hen's Nest said...

Hi Rebecca. I found you at Brambleberry Cottage and am so glad I did! You will never know how many lives you saved with this post! I am so happy you survived to live and enjoy all that God has given you. Maybe your purpose now is to spread the word. Women are so used to taking care of everyone else that we minimize our own pain- discomfort. May God bless you for sharing your story.

Linda @ The French Hen's Nest (please visit us anytime)

Anonymous said...

I was absolutely riveted to this post. I now know what to look for in case anything like this happens to me. I just found out I have high cholesterol and I'm only 35 so I'm very health conscious all of the sudden. I'm very glad you're on the mend and thank you for sharing this story!

Irfan said...

are you interested in follower exchange..

bobbie said...

As an ICU/CCU nurse, I'm really glad that a) you are alive and that b) that you've posted about it.
The "pain" of a heart attack in women is so very often not what we think of as true pain, and is FAR too often ignored, as you found out.
Please,ladies ~ do NOT ignore anything even remotely 'off' going on in your body!! And fer hevvins, sake ~ call 911!!! That way, if your heart stops, the EMT's can get it going again!

bobbie howder R.N. CCRN

Unknown said...

I am so glad you shared this. We all need to sit up and take notice. Yes, we as women always downplay ourselves. I am so glad you are OK and now maybe with this story, I will get up and walk every day.

Hope you are having a Merry Christmas!

Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage said...

Thank you for sharing your story, Rebecca. I've heard so many times that the symptoms can vary a lot between those experiencing them. We all need to listen a bit more carefully to our bodies, don't we?

I'm so glad you're OK, and hopefully you'll even make it beyond the age of your mom. ;)

Liz @ The Brambleberry Cottage

JunkStuffTreasures said...

Just reading this post now (a month later)- you were very lucky indeed. Glad all worked out for you and thanks for reminding us "better safe than sorry" when it comes to our health. Have a very Happy New Year!