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Ladies, Don't Be Afraid to Nag Your Loved One About His Health

Updated on November 19, 2011

A Heart Attack That Didn't Feel Like One

Maybe it was just a premonition. I don't know. But I do know that I made Shaun watch a YouTube video on angina just days before he died. He had been complaining of a "pulled chest muscle." He said it only hurt when he lifted things, so I let it go. But one day, we were walking down the street and he stopped and held his chest. "Is your chest bothering you again, hon?" I asked. "Yes," he replied. "I must have overdone it at work today."

Shaun had just turned 50. For a few months, on and off, he had been complaining about a chest pain, which he was convinced was a pulled muscle. "I've had this before," he said, "and it always goes away." He would rub liniment on it and rest for about 10 minutes, and then it would go away and he would feel fine.

In hindsight, I now know that he felt better because he was resting, not because of the liniment. The autopsy confirmed that his heart was enlarged and an important blood vessel was extremely narrow. Also, the coroner advised me that he had experienced heart attacks before!

Is it possible to experience a heart attack and not know it? It most definitely is. The pain Shaun was experiencing was exactly like the pain he had before, so he thought nothing of it. It went away, he carried on for a period of time without symptoms, and naturally he assumed it was nothing to worry about.

Sadly, when I returned home from the hospital where he died, I noticed a tube of that liniment on the coffee table in the living room. He had tried that before he called 911. I had no clue. I was still asleep.

After Shaun watched the angina video, he promised me that he would go to the doctor the next week. He never got the chance.

I had to ask the question to the coroner: "Would he have had a chance if he had seen a doctor sooner?" I think I already knew the answer, but I had to know for sure. "Yes," said the coroner, "There are things we could have done."


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    • Marjatta profile image

      Marjatta 6 years ago

      Thank you, Moms-Secret. Yes, I am struggling with that a bit, but I know we can't live in a world of "would've and should've." We're only human after all and we can't know everything.

      In fact, I also found out that others in Shaun's life had tried to encourage him to go to the doctor too. In some way, he was talking about his symptoms enough that he did want people to notice. Perhaps he was just afraid.

    • Moms-Secret profile image

      Lissette 6 years ago from Central Florida

      I hope that this hub will help others and maybe save some lives. I know that I am learning things now that I am angry are not public knowledge. I was told by someone in the medical field not long ago that the leading cause of death for men under 40 is related to heart attacks and heart disease. I still have not been told why my Prince was taken.

      I pray that the last line of this hub does not keep you captive. I know that it is very hard to control and having that question with the confirmed answer can be poison to us.