Symbolic heart after a heart attack
Valentine's Day took on a different look and feel this year as I returned from the hospital with my sixth heart attack under my proverbial belt. This one was the biggest of all and I lost about 25% of my heart function, thus the partial heart in the picture.
I may regain some of this because the muscle was already being supplied by "feeder" vessels. The heart knew what happening and was slowly making new blood vessels into the area so some of the damage may be repairable.
After five attacks you would think I know the warning signals. I thought I did too and in fact have headed off one heart attack by telling my doctor it was time for an angiogram.
But this time it snuck up on me and I was not even sure what it was as I went into the emergency room. Had I known, I would not have driven myself there but apparently it did not really start into a full blown heart attack until I was already under their watchful eyes.
None of the original tests and electrocardiogram showed positive but the emergency room doctor at Heritage strongly encouraged me to wait to more hours to test the blood again. The second test showed the tell-tale enzymes that said something was going on.
I was immediately put on heparin and monitored until being transferred to Vanderbilt where they found two arteries blocked. Those two were determined to be unrepairable so they put in two stents to open the main artery feeding the area and project that this will help the new "feeder" vessels continue to grow.
My symptoms were unlike any I had experienced before. No sweats, nausea, tingling/pain in arms or heavy chest feelings. Just a pain across the top of the chest that appeared with exposure to cold or exertion.
I had also been very tired over the past few months and not sleeping well.
Of course, that was not unexpected with all the activity we we're having lately, so I dismissed it. Plus, I have chronic over-all body pain, so a little extra did not sound the alarms.
My reason for writing all this is to suggest that if you are having strange symptoms that don't add up, let a professional check you out. In my case, I was getting high blood pressure, especially on the bottom side, but other than that nothing was showing heart attack. An angiogram was probably one of the few things that would have found it ahead of time.
I did not want to go to my heart specialist because insurance deductibles are so high. They're well met now, so this year will be the one for all the other tests I have been putting off. :-)