How I survived!
For most people having a heart attack, an MI or Myocardial Infarction, can be life threatening or life ending, but, trust me, they are all life changing. It’s a simple rule of thumb – if you don’t change your ways you will die.
So what’s it actually like having a heart attack?
Some people do suffer the most agonising of pains, in either their chest, their left arm or in their jaws, (yes their jaws), or a combination of all these. My heart attack, the first one that is, happened on Thursday 5th May 2005 but I knew nothing about it. I was actually at work in Harwich at the time and I had some chest pain, which I thought was indegestion. I tried to ‘self cure’ by stopping at a local garage and bought a bottle of diet cola, thinking the bubbles would clear the pain – they did not. I have to say the pain was not actually that bad, it was more a nuisance pain, a nagging constant that was most annoying particularly as it was my turn to drive. I was at least 70 miles from home at the time.
That evening I had my normal meal, watched some TV and then went to bed at my normal time. All normal, apart from that is, the nagging pain which had refused to go away. Naturally I had mentioned this to my wife and we probably exchanged a few words together, mostly sympathetic murmuring’s on her part, but really welcome none the less. I was excited because on the Friday I was going to Maidstone to see my daughter, her husband and my grandson for the weekend. I had arranged an early finish at work, had paid the hotel bill and filled the car with petrol. So I was all set to go.
I woke at 04.30 with an increase in pain level, enough to wake me at least. I sat on the edge of the bed with my wife patting me gently on the back trying to relieve the pain. I was sweating profusely, enough to fill a pint glass in a very short space of time and then I was sick. I managed to vomit into the toilet bowl, thankfully, and after that the pain appeared to subside. I tried to go back to sleep but it was no use because every time I lay on my back the pain increased. I decided that a ‘cure all’ would be a cup of tea. So. Off I went down the stairs and made myself a good brew in my favourite mug. I felt better already just sipping at the tea. I went back to bed and it was then I was told off for not making my wife one.
Sitting on the bed after returning with a mug of tea for my wife she told me I should phone the doctor’s out of hours service because she was concerned. This I duly did. The operator asked me a couple of questions and said an ambulance was on its way. I tried to tell her not to bother as I thought it was a trivial thing but she was having none of it. I was standing at the kitchen window washing up my tea mug when I spotted the ambulance go down my road to turn round. I wondered who the unlucky person was without thinking for one minute it was me. The next thing I knew, the ambulance crew were standing at my front door.
They did their tests on me, ECG etc, and eventually they said to me that they would like me to go to the hospital. The crew member who was clearly the senior said to me he was happy that I wasn’t having a heart attack but he was slightly concerned about the heart trace on the ECG. So I climbed into the ambulance and off we went.
I felt I was getting special treatment as I entered the A&E department of the hospital, (James Pagett), but I wasn’t. I was placed on a bed in a cubicle all to myself, wires were attached to my chest, I was given an injection in my stomach and I was told to chew on an Aspirin that was handed to me. Nothing seemed to happen for ages. By this time I was hungry and asked for something to eat. I was given a big bowl of Corn Flakes and two slices of toast.
I ended up being in hospital for a week because I had in fact had a heart attack. Sadly I was also diagnosed as a diabetic at the same time and now I’m on insulin as a constant reminder of my condition. For ages I thought the diabetes was caused through my heart condition but I am mistaken it is the other way around. My heart condition was caused by my diabetes and if you are interested please read my blog ‘ The Silent Assassin’ for a better understanding of diabetes.
So you see it’s not every heart attack that cripples the poor victim with an agonising pain. I confess it does look good when it is portrayed on television, rather than a man trying to get rid of wind by drinking fizzy pop. And it’s no good you thinking there are degrees of a heart attack because there aren’t, you either have an MI or you don’t. It’s only the pain that comes in degrees and in different places for that matter. I was told by a cardiac specialist nurse that on very rare occasions people have been know to have a heart attack and not have any pain at all.
Since then I have had another heart attack. The pain level was exactly the same. And as I knew what was happening inside my body I called the ambulance myself. Another week in hospital and yet more lifestyle changes. That was in 2007.
Good luck and don’t panic it’s only a heart attack.
Piece of cake.