we interupt this programm.......
Saturday morning I activated the EMS system; I called 911.
There have been a few times over the years when I should have called and didn't. Thankfully I was right in my reluctance but I reflect on the thought of what if that chest pain had been a heart attack; I'd more than likely be staring at the inside of a wooden box these past 15 years or so.
Embarrassment is one reason for not calling; what if I'm wrong, I'll look foolish. The other is the machismo; It's nothing, it'll go away soon, and I can handle this. I'm here to tell you the most foolish thing you can do is to not call when you have symptoms of a heart attack. It turned out that I did not have a heart attack but at every step I was reminded; you did the right thing!
The average heart attack sufferer gets to the hospital almost five hours after the onset of symptoms. This delay significantly increases their chances of dying.
I was awakened early Saturday morning, 0330, with severe heartburn to the point that I had to get up for fear that if I continued to lay in the supine position I'd regurgitate and aspirate that caustic stomach acid into my lungs. I'm not one who is plagued by GERD and consequently don't have a ready supply of antacid tablets; Rolaids or Tums near at hand. Although we do have them in our home, I was in the Frat house (an apartment I co-rent with a co-worker to stay in when we are on call at the hospital.) Fortunately my co-worker did have some Rolaids which I found and helped myself to two. Within a few short minutes the discomfort eased. Sitting on the couch, pondering the situation, the thought heart attack came into my head and I thought it prudent to take an aspirin tablet just in case.
This is the point that I should have activated EMS and dialed 911.
Ten minutes or so later my symptoms abated and I returned to bed. I woke two hours later feeling like I'd been worked over by an assailant with a rubber hose. I hurt in places I'd never hurt before especially my joints; all my joints. I got up and took 800 mg of Motrin and began to revisit the happenings in the recent hours. Now convinced that I at least needed to see a physician in the ER, I thought about driving myself there. When I stood up I was so listless and light headed that I immediately discarded that idea as too dangerous.
Still entertaining ideas of heart attack I went to the internet to see what signs,besides chest pain (which I did not have)are indicative of Heart attack.
Chest pressure, tightness, and heaviness
>Pain in shoulders, neck, jaw, or arms
Shortness of breath with or without chest pain
I figured 5 out of eight was significant enough to make a move. Nearly 4 hours have passed since first indication.
It now being 7 am, I called the home of my back-up with the intent of having him come pick me up and drive me to the hospital. His wife answered the phone and after I told her that I suspected a heart attack and wanted him to drive me to hospital she vociferously insisted that I hang up and call 911 immediately. In the mean time she would notify her husband and he would meet me some where along the line.
The EMS system worked like a charm and went as smoothly as anyone would expect; from rapid response to in-ambulance treatment to transport; flawless in everyway. Kudos to Massena rescue!!!
The upshot is I was wrong in my diagnosis: I did not have a heart attack. I was right to call 911.
A minor electrical disturbance in the upper chamber of my heart was noticed but probably not a significant problem and most likely not the cause of this episode. This episode was probably the result of pizza.