First, I need to tell you NOT to do what I did: take an aspirin and go to bed. Stupid, I know, but it is what I did. I think my main thought was if I was going to die, I want to do it in my sleep!
My experience started today not long after my children got home from school. I had serious pain in the left side of my back, radiating under my armpit and landing deep under my left breast. I could not get a deep breath without hurting, could not cough and could barely move. Everything caused a hitch in my breath. I have a family history of heart disease, although my blood pressure runs low. I also have a family history of stroke. My extra weight is that spare tire that women just love and I do not exercise. My cholesterol levels are a little high but not terrible. No, I do not eat what I should or when I should. I have only recently stopped smoking, almost, I am down to 3 cigarettes a day. I am the walking billboard for heart attack or stroke.
Having said that, I need to explain a couple of things with the first being I fractured my neck several years ago and nothing is ever right again after you do that. I live with a constant pain (I do not mean my husband, but there is that!) so anything new is easy to blame on the neck issue. The left side of my face and my left arm are always numb so I have no extra signals in those areas, as a ‘regular’ woman would.
I did the next best thing; I called my best friend who has had triple bypass surgery, and is probably the closest thing to having a heart attack I know. After hello, my opening line went something like this, “Okay, all kidding aside, how do I know if I am having a heart attack?” After a description, I decided I did not have chest pain. Just to be on the safe side, I chewed two children’s aspirin and lay down while we talked some more. Shortly thereafter, my other half got home and I went to bed (see paragraph 1).
Is this the right thing to do if you think you are having a heart attack? NO! According to all statistics, this is what many women do, though. Or, at least something similar to these actions. Why? Mostly because we feel we have to take care of things first. Or, we think this could not possibly be happening to me. My first thought was I did not care if my legs were shaved but, thank goodness, my armpits were. Craziness, it is total craziness. My next thoughts ran to line that I could not very well go into a hospital and tell them my face and left arm were numb, because they always are. I have no idea what my real signals would be in the case of a heart attack or stroke and I need to find those out.
Here I am after my nap, still with pain but it is not unbearable pain and I can get a full breath in. I did some strenuous work over the weekend and I really, deep down, think that is what the root cause of this is. However, I am going to the doctor tomorrow. Why this would have taken three days to come to a peak, I have no idea. I type all day so there is no heavy lifting or strain.
In no way am I giving advice on what you should do if you think you are having, or could be having a heart attack or stroke. I am simply telling a story and giving you a place to find more information. Always talk to your doctor about any concerns you may have about any health issues.
Even with my nap, I am extremely tired and am going back to bed, to start all over tomorrow, after a trip to the doctor.