My First Heart Attack...I think...

Not Really Sure WHAT It Was...

That June 2012 day started out as normal as every other day. Was out of work at the time and so my day began with a light breakfast, mid-morning snack, some coffee...nothing out of the ordinary and I felt fine. It was warm, sunny, breezy -- just a beautiful June day.

Around noontime, I proceeded downstairs to do some PC work. As I was sitting in front of the PC, I noticed that I started to get a bit distracted and light-headed. No big deal, really, as I am easily distracted (hehe) and sometimes get one of those light-headed 'rushes' if I go down or up stairs too quick. I have a history of low blood pressure and my doctor was never too concerned about that,,,in fact, he proposed that it was so much better than a diagnosis of HIGH blood pressure that he didn't advise or prescribe anything over the years.

However and as I was sitting there, the dizziness didn't go away and I felt my heart starting to beat REALLY fast. Again, wasn't overly concerned for a minute or so, as I have had these types of episodes in the past and they had always dissipated within a minute or so.

But THIS time, it wouldn't and didn't go away.

My heart literally began to race and I describe it as "thumpthumpthumpthumpthump...". After about a minute of this, I began to get worried and was short of breath. I got down on the cool floor and tried some deep breathing exercises, with a long nasal intake and slow out through the mouth. Didn't work. I crawled up the stairs to the porch landing, paused, and crawled up the main stairs to the living room...and grabbed the phone. Yes, a 911 and my FIRST ever 911 call,,,ever.

The operator made me walk to the porch outside, sit, and take a pulse. My heart was pounding at a rate of 190 beats-per-minute (47 or so beats every 15 seconds)! She then explained that the ambulance was on the way and to hang tight. Anxiety set in, which undoubtedly didn't help matters, and this beating continued unabated until the paramedics arrived. I was having difficulty catching a decent breath and my heart wouldn't stop the pace. Thus, I was stretchered and brought to the ER where all manner of tubes and measuring devices were attached to monitor. My heart finally decided to slow down but as a precaution, I was kept overnight.

So, what might have been a cause of all of this? To this day, I'm not really sure, to be honest. The doctors diagnosed an electrical "looping" imbalance but couldn't offer anything more specific. I didn't have the classical symptoms of left arm pain or numbness, nausea, overwhelming chest pains, etc. But 190 beats-per-minute is almost three times the normal and while it was the only time I ever experienced that, I'm still left wondering why.

"Without a job" stress? Financial concerns? Possibly -- stress can manifest itself in a number of ways on a body and perhaps this was the case. I only weigh 136 pounds soaking wet but I'm a smoker, too. Now, please don't rag about that as we smokers are totally aware --- we're just addicted. Another possibility? Maybe...

Summing up, I guess my body was/is giving warning signs, signs that should be paid attention to. All has been fine since then, but I still notice a tad of irregularity at times, but nothing near the symptoms of THAT day. A heart attack? Maybe...although my physician never referred to it as such and really didn't have a great explanation as I didn't fit 'the pattern'.

So, I'm hanging in there and hopefully this year, I will be able to address the unhealthy habits that I've had for so long. Thanks for reading.

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Comments 4 comments

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America

I'd see your usual physician or cardiac specialist in your area of Canada and ask, or call a hospital hotline for info if you have such a thing there. I'm in preventive medicine and not a doctor, but the symptoms you mention could be any of many conditions -- But one is Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome (which can happen only once or a number of times and usually occurs most often in children, but it has that electric "loop" you mention), or a reaction to caffeine, alcohol, cigarettes, digitalis, or some other drug. Or it could be something else, or simply a one-off event. I recall that in some people, a reaction to caffeine can happen after many years of not having a reaction.

I don't know if stress like losing a job and raising 4 teenagers can feed into the physical event you describe, but stress can make a lot of things worse - like cold weather can make a car act up if any problems were brewing and not manifested in warmer weather.

So ask a doctor if you can! Best of health to you, friend.

nuveau profile image

nuveau 3 years ago from Riverview, NB Author

Hi there Patty and thank you for the comment. Interesting about the possible link to that syndrome you mentioned and definitely worth checking out. It's interesting because in my genetic line, all the men on my side had late-life heart problems -- most, if not all, were smokers as that is what they did back then. However and fortunately, no cancers or anything like that. We all know when our bods 'talk to us' or give us signals or warnings of some sort...and I'm still considering this as MY body telling me to change something. So, that's what I am trying to do, bit by bit. Thanks again for the advice and I will certainly check out or investigate the syndrome you mentioned. I'm staying tuned...hehe

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America

Hopefully, it was a one-off event, but if you can stop smoking or not start, that would be great. Myself, I ate a cigarette when I was 5 and so never smoked.

nuveau profile image

nuveau 3 years ago from Riverview, NB Author

Hi there Patty again and thank you for the extra comment. For sure, I've struggled with smoking for quite a while and know all too well the effects that it has. But, I never ATE one...hehe...if I did, that would have probably affected my decision about smoking a long time ago too!*s There really is no addiction like it, I think -- it's more than physical and permeates your whole being. Thus, I regularly call on a higher power for assistance as I know that I myself am weak and cannot do it alone. So, I'm hangin' in there and Lord willing, will be able to kick this thing once and for all. Thank you so much for all the support, etc.

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