“It’s 2 a.m. and I think I’m having a heart attack”

by Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

“It’s 2 a.m. and I think I might be having a heart attack. Right now I have a tight chest and pain in my left arm and in my elbow that comes and goes; early this week, I was having pain in my left and right legs. What should I do?”

“I’m sitting in bed and have been up for hours. For four days, I have been having upper right back pain up to the neck. I cannot turn my head left. Tonight I have pain in my elbow and a tingling all the way down my right arm and to my fingers. I’m only 29 and a healthy weight. I need some answers. Do I need to go to the ER?”

“I have most of these symptoms.  My mom thinks I’m fine. I really think she doesn’t understand. I can be heading to a heart attack any day soon. And I’m only 14, almost 15 in a couple of days.”

These represent just a tiny sampling of the symptom questions that my blog readers often send me. My response to each of these is virtually always some variation of this statement:   Continue reading ““It’s 2 a.m. and I think I’m having a heart attack””

Do you want the truth, or do you want “Fine, thank you”?

Carolyn Thomas    @HeartSisters

One beautiful afternoon last fall, I was walking my daughter home from her downtown office at the end of her workday. I love these mother-daughter walks of ours. We used to do them quite often (before Larissa recently delivered my darling grandbaby Everly Rose and started her extended maternity leave).

She’d phone me just as she was about to leave work, and we’d each start walking from opposite ends of Rockland Avenue (a long leafy ramble that starts downtown near her office and finishes up near our respective homes in Oak Bay Village). We’d meet up about halfway to walk the rest of the way home together. In this fashion, we each got an hour’s brisk walk into our day, but best of all, we got to chat all the way home.

But this one afternoon, while we were walking along Rockland, I felt the familiar yet ominous crush of chest pain as we walked, that frightening kind of angina that seems to get worse with every step.  After trying my best to ignore these symptoms at first, I finally had to stop her while she was in mid-sentence, fishing in my bag for nitro spray as I lurched towards a nearby stone bench to sit down. Continue reading “Do you want the truth, or do you want “Fine, thank you”?”