I am a member of #MEAction +55 and one of its members put out a question if there were people who had had heart attacks and if so, would they relate their story to warn others.
I posted the following and thought I would share it with you in the hope that others won’t make the mistake I made which almost cost me my life.
I have had ME since October 1986. Like everyone, you get used to the symptoms that constantly change so I started saying “Ok, now what?”. In October 2003 my late husband and I were going to visit a friend in Toronto. I was having blood pressure problems at that time and was being monitored as to whether or not I should go on medication.
On this particular day that we were supposed to leave, I woke up in the middle of the night as my left arm was hurting to the point I had to hold it up high to get relief. I was sweating and had an odd feeling of not feeling well and my jaw was hurting. I got up and took some pain medication and said to myself, I think I am having a heart attack. However, the medication somewhat relieved the symptoms and I went back to bed.
In the morning, the pain started to return but I had this odd flushed feeling and nausea that was different from other occasion. My husband said, let’s go to the emergency department of the hospital and get your blood pressure checked before our trip as once on the road, it will be hard to stop. So that was what we did.
I apologized for bothering them and then asked them to take my blood pressure. The nurse took my pulse and yelled for someone else. The next thing I remember, I woke up 3 days later. My husband told me that he was sitting in the waiting room for me to come up but instead he heard Code Blue on the loudspeaker and medics were running into my room. He got scared and followed them into my room and at that time, they had to start my heart twice.
It is important to get help the moment you have a heart attack so that a certain medication can be given to you which only can be given during a certain period of time. They told my husband that I went past that period and didn’t think the medication would work anymore because of the length of time that had passed. The emergency doctor decided to give it to me anyway and it worked. Since then I have learned that there are others with ME who have had heart problems or heart attacks as the routine checks given for heart are not enough to recognize a heart problem. I had always had a strong heart but since there so many strange things that was happening to me symptom wise, I didn’t consider this one any different which almost cost me my life. If I had not been at the hospital, I would have died.
I learned never take your symptoms for granted. If they change, first get them checked out by your doctor, and if nothing gets found, then at least you know it is just another symptom. If your heart is acting up, request an appoint with a cardiologist as GPs only do routine tests.