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I Had a Heart Attack and I Didn’t Know It

Wednesday, June 3, 2020, is a day I’ll never forget. That day, I had a heart attack. The funny thing? I had had one TWO days prior, and I didn’t even realize it. It is my wish that this post will give you some insight into possible symptoms of a heart attack. If you’re in your late 40’s-early 50’s, this post is for you. I am writing this from MY perspective. Some of the symptoms I had may not pertain to you; but, there are some that remain the same. In this post, I will cover three symptoms that I experienced both times.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical expert. All words contained in this post are written from my own experience. Consult with your physician about your heart health and the risks of a heart attack.

Last weekend I went to stay a few days at my son’s house. My daughter-in-law had flown to Florida to be with family over the passing of her grandpa. Our son works in a salt mine, and he commutes very early in the morning, so, it made more sense for me to stay at their house than commute back and forth 30 minutes one way.

Sunday was an ordinary day. I spent time with the grand kids and went about as business as usual. Monday was a different animal altogether. I woke up sweating, shaky, and my back and chest were tight. I attributed it to sleeping wrong on the couch and that my blood-sugar had dropped. I had been doing Keto, and merely thought that my body was not happy with me. I drank some juice, water, consumed some honey and a banana, all in an effort to feel better. Eventually, I did feel better. As a matter of fact, Tuesday was normal for me.

Wednesday morning, I felt worse than I did on Monday. So, I did what I did on Monday: drank some juice, ate some sugar on a spoon and chased it with water. Nothing was working. I finally told my wife that I was calling her Mom to see if she could watch the grandkids for me while I went and got checked out. I took the kids to great-grandma’s house and proceeded to Primary Care. When I mentioned chest and back pain, I was told to go directly to the ER. I went to the ER, mentioned chest and back pain, and was immediately ushered into an exam room. They hooked me up to an EKG, and I was told that I had had a heart attack, and would be transported to a hospital with a cardio specialist

heart attack
Being transported via ambulance to Arnot Ogden Medical Center

When I arrived at Arnot, I was ushered into the cath lab area. I was given a COVID-19 test. It was highly unpleasant (I tested negative by the way!). The procedure took about an hour or so. I was laid on the table, they shaved my groin area, my chest on my right side, and my right wrist. It was there that the doctor told me he would be entering my artery to place two stents into two blocked arteries. When they injected the contrast, it burned for about ten-fifteen seconds. I was not knocked out, as I did not require surgery; but, I was given some medication to ease the pain.

The procedure went without a hitch, and I was sent to my own room in the Intensive Care Unit. They really took good care of me. I was under constant monitoring from the time I got there until I was discharged two days later. Blood pressure readings every half an hour and constant EKG monitoring. A few blood draws to check potassium and magnesium levels were done. Sleep wasn’t bad, considering the circumstances. The next day I had a third stent put in, and the doctor checked the other two from the day prior. All good!

Here are the symptoms I displayed during my heart attack

Profuse Sweating

I tend to be a sweaty person in general; but, this sweating was like nothing I’d experienced. It was literally running off my head and it would not stop.

Overly Shaky

When I Googled my symptoms, the shaky feeling I was having mirrored those of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). As you can see, the two instances have some similarities.

Tightness of Chest and Back

This is something I’ve experienced before and I didn’t even think much of it. In my past experiences, a tight chest and back were usually a by-product of some previous exertion, like yard work. That Saturday I had gone to the house and mowed our yard, so, I thought maybe I was feeling the after-effects on Monday. The symptoms can be very misleading.

heart attack
My shower Shampoo Cap

When the procedures were done, I began to feel much better. I had some tightness of chest and difficulty breathing; but, after consulting with my doctor, those were side-effects of the stent procedure. That eventually went away. I stopped smoking, and it’s been almost a week, with no cravings. I always told myself, “I’ll quit smoking when I have a major life-changing event”. Well, guess what? A heart attack is a serious life-changing moment.

I have had to make some adjustments, such as decaf coffee, foods and drinks will have to be low in fat. I’m officially on blood thinners, cholesterol medication as well as blood pressure medicine, and low-dose aspirin. Because the stents are a foreign body inside my body, my blood has to be thinned so it doesn’t thicken around the stent and block the arteries again. It is highly important to make sure that I take them twice a day. I monitor my blood pressure twice a day, morning, and night before I take my meds.

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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I Had a Heart Attack and I Didn\'t Know It

14 comments

  1. Wow! I am so sorry that you went through this but thank you so much for sharing this invaluable information.

    It can happen to anyone at any time and knowing some of the less obvious signs could help someone no end.

    Take care and well done on quitting smoking x x

  2. Oh my gosh how scary, so glad to hear you are doing well now and it sounds like they took really good care of you too. Still I bet it was shock for you and your family though! Take care xx

  3. Thank God you’re OK. I am 56 so well in the age bracket for this – although heart disease can strike at any age. We all think we’re immortal till something like this happens. I have made a note of the symptoms – the other one that is always mentioned is pain radiating down the arms and through the jaw. Heart disease is a bigger killer of women in the UK than breast cancer apparently so monitoring our health is a must.

  4. What an awful experience but I’m so glad you went to the ER the second time as who knows what may have happened. I think it’s always best to get checked in as you can never be too careful. I hope you’re doing better now x

  5. That must have been a bit of a shock for you. I always stay on the safe side and get things checked if I’m unsure. Glad you’re okay.

  6. Oh gosh what an awful thing to have to go through. Life can be very stressful and this just shows that you never know what can happen. Glad you are on the mend x

  7. Sounds like a very scary experience! Doctors told us that they believed my Dad had a couple of heart attacks and didn’t know about it – so terrifying that it can happen!

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