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Dec. 31st, 2008 @ 02:40 pm Back and Safe
Current Mood: relievedrelieved
Tuesday 2am I woke up with a pain in my chest. I thought it was reflux or heartburn at first, got up and took some Tums. The antacid did not make it go away. Then I started to feel pain in my left arm. Acid indigestion does not cause arm pain. I got up to check heart attack symptoms on the computer and was feeling sweaty and dizzy. Hmm, internet listed all of the above and a reluctance to admit a possible heart attack; act now! I woke up Ailsa, told her my symptoms and told her I was calling 911.

The ambulance responded in 2 minutes. They put me on oxygen and the arm pain went away, but I still had chest pain. They hooked me up to an electrocardiogram, I was not having a heart attack at that moment, but there were some irregularities in the EKG so the took me to Caritas hospital in Norwood. Halfway there they gave me some nitroglycerine and the pain faded out over the next few minutes. At the ER they gave me a nitro patch, but removed it a few hours later when my blood pressure went down to 83 over 50.

The first blood test for heart damage enzymes was negative, but the cardiologist did not like something he saw in my ECG, so they held me overnight for observation.

tigerbright came over to the house with her son to help ailsaek at home. David and Joshua had a good time playing. Then she brought me some stuff I didn't have time to grab before the ambulance (jacket, change of clothes, iPhone charger, books), and she brought my car keys back to Ailsa.

This morning all three blood tests were negative (good news), I had a good echocardigram and clean stress test and was cleared to go. No restrictions. Myocardial infaction ruled out, no heart attack. Hallelujah!

I feel somewhat embarrassed for calling 911 when it was not a heart attack but everyone on my case at the hospital told me that I did exactly the right thing. When you are having heart attack symptoms, call 911. If you are having a heart attack, early treatment can help limit the damage. If you aren't, well it takes a team of trained professionals hours and hours to make sure, how can you tell at home in a few minutes? Play it safe and call 911.

One of our neighbors down the street gave me a ride home from the hospital. I got home just before lunch.

I'd also like to thank everyone for the prayers and good wishes from people that Ailsa contacted.
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From:filkerdave
Date:December 31st, 2008 09:23 pm (UTC)
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Glad to see you back home in time for the New Year! ailsaek was keeping us updated.

You stay healthy, OK?

Hug.
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From:donnad
Date:December 31st, 2008 09:37 pm (UTC)
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Glad to hear you are okay. Take it easy for a few days.

Happy New Year.
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From:quietann
Date:December 31st, 2008 10:02 pm (UTC)
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glad you are back and the news seems good.

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From:thatcrazycajun
Date:December 31st, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
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Thrilled to hear you are safe and living and have no catastrophic illness. Best of luck with the bills that will almost certainly be coming for your hospital care (unless you have damned good health insurance, which I hope you do).

What exactly was the problem, if not a heart attack? Your post does not make clear what the final diagnosis was, and I admit to a certain morbid curiosity (especially since I have chest pains myself on occasion which feel somewhat heart-attackish).
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From:adamek
Date:December 31st, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)

Pectoral Angina

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I can summarize, but Wikipedia has a better in-depth explanation.

Myocardial infarction, commonly called a heart attack, is when a portion of the heart muscle dies from lack of oxygen. Typically from either a blocked heart blood vessel or a burst one. The vessels can be clogged (atherosclerosis) or they can be blocked by a floating blood clot.

Angina, chest pain, can be caused a heart attack. It can also be a warning sign that the heart is starving for oxygen, but no dead tissue yet. Nitroglycerin expands blood vessels, allowing more blood flow and possibly allowing a clot to pass and be scavenged by the proper biological systems. Pure oxygen from a mask or nasal canula increases the partial pressure of oxygen in the bloodstream also helping to prevent a heart attack.

Angina can also have other causes. It's difficult to diagnose the root cause.

I was on nitro for four hours, oxygen for 12 hours and bed rest for 24 hours to help any problems my heart might be having and then give it time to recover. Then the stress test this morning (An ECG monitored exercise while the ramp up a treadmill until my heart rate reaches 150 beats per minute) showed that my heart is in good working condition and does not have any problems under an increased load.
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From:thnidu
Date:December 31st, 2008 10:44 pm (UTC)
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Hallelujah! Another reason to be happy in the New Year.

And remember... Be careful out there!
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From:zsero
Date:January 1st, 2009 12:09 am (UTC)
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A good portent for a healthy year.
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From:filkferengi
Date:January 1st, 2009 05:11 am (UTC)
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Happy New Year! We're relieved you're home safely.