Getting help during a heart attack: ‘delayers’ vs ‘survivors’

by Carolyn Thomas     @HeartSisters

If you thought you were having a heart attack, would part of you worry about being embarrassed if it turned out your symptoms weren’t that serious after all? Would you dread the attention of an ambulance coming to your home?  If so, you might be considered a “delayer”.

On the other hand, would you likely call 911 immediately because you believe that embarrassment passes quickly and without long-term damage, while a heart attack does not? If so, you’d be considered a “survivor”.

Check this chart to see which category you belong in – and then take whatever steps are required to move yourself immediately from delaying to surviving.   Continue reading “Getting help during a heart attack: ‘delayers’ vs ‘survivors’”

The heart patient’s chronic lament: “Excuse me. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be a bother…”

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

Two weeks before being hospitalized with a heart attack, I was sent home from the Emergency Department of that same hospital with an acid reflux misdiagnosis, despite presenting with textbook heart attack symptoms like chest pain and pain radiating down my left arm.  

At that first visit, I left for home feeling embarrassed and apologetic because I’d just wasted five hours of their valuable time. I felt so embarrassed, in fact, that I even sent the staff in Emergency a sheepish little thank you note the following day, apologizing once again for making such a fuss over nothing.

Not making a fuss is a valued trait for many of us strong women, but this tendency can cause disastrous cardiac outcomes when it makes us reluctant to seek immediate medical attention when we need it most.  Continue reading “The heart patient’s chronic lament: “Excuse me. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be a bother…””

Why wouldn’t you call 911 for heart attack symptoms?

by Carolyn Thomas  @HeartSisters

The other evening, I was out for our regular pre-sushi walk with my friend, Patty.  She told me a dramatic story of a co-worker whose husband had just suffered a heart attack. Turns out that this co-worker had attended one of my workplace presentations about heart health at their office just a couple months ago, yet when her husband phoned her at work to tell her of his distressing cardiac symptoms, she did not call 911 for him (as I continually harp on to my audiences!)  Instead, she left work and drove all the way home to pick him up, loaded him into her car, and then drove him all the way back into town to the hospital.

When Patty heard this story from her co-worker later, she wondered:

“Why didn’t you call 911 for your husband like Carolyn told us to do?”

But it seems that this co-worker, like many of us, had acted purely on impulse: just get home and get him to the E.R.  Unfortunately, her decision to drive hubby to the E.R. instead of calling 911 for help is not at all uncommon. 

Continue reading “Why wouldn’t you call 911 for heart attack symptoms?”