Amazingly the symptoms of a heart attack can often be mistaken for indigestion, trust me I know this from real life! Last week Ian suffered from a minor heart attack.
Symptoms of a heart attack include:-
Chest pain or discomfort. Chest pain is the most common heart attack symptom,
Pain in your arm(s), back, neck, or jaw, it can feel as if the pain is travelling from your chest to your arms,
Shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness,
Although the chest pain is often severe, some people may only experience minor pain, similar to indigestion. In some cases, there may not be any chest pain at all, especially in women, the elderly and people with diabetes. [Source http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Heart-attack/Pages/Symptoms.aspx ]
Ian has been suffering with shoulder and muscle pain and been treated by the doctors for that for some months. But nearly 2 weeks ago he started getting chest pains, but thought it was indigestion as it was about a hour or 2 after we’d eaten. The pains eventually went, but on the next night they started again and were in his arms, down to his fingers, he went very pale, but again he thought it was just a bad case of indigestion.
The following morning he started to get ready to go to work, but then asked me to take him to hospital as he still didn’t feel “right”. The trouble is, Ian has quite a high pain threshold, so maybe in a “normal” person they would’ve listened to their wife the day before when she wanted to ring 111 😉
We went to the A&E department at the QE Hospital, where by the time I’d parked the car and walked round he’d already been taken to a cubicle, had an ECG and his blood pressure taken, which was high, but that was nothing unusual. The doctors thought it was more than likely muscle strain.
Eventually it was confirmed as a minor heart attack and 4 hours later he had angioplasty and stents fitted. They did that through his wrist whilst he was awake, but he said he never felt a thing.
He came home the next day, which totally shocked me as I thought he’d be in there for a good few days.
All the staff at the QE were really good and explained what was happening at every stage, so thank you to all staff and especially Dr Khan.
So what happens now?
Apart from hospital appointments, rehab, lifestyle changes, Ian knows it’s up to him to help himself. Initially he’s got to take things slowly, no heavy lifting, no driving for a week, he’s been told he can do light dusting but no vacuuming, he’s still saying they lied about doing the dusting! He does get tired quickly, but that’s to be expected, in himself he feels fine and he’s enjoying watching the World Cup Rugby, but not overly keen on daytime tv! He’s off work for the next 4 weeks, at least.
We we’re due to go on holiday shortly, but we’ve been advised not to fly just yet, so we cancelled it, which with other family problems it’s not such a bad thing. But personally I wouldn’t have felt comfortable being in a foreign country, not knowing if he was keeping any problems from me for fear of spoiling the holiday. Neither of us would’ve really relaxed.
But what I personally can be thankful for is that I’ve still got my husband, which is far more important than anything else.
So please, make sure you know the symptoms of a heart attack and unlike us, make that call, you never know it could save a life.