Why would I think about a heart attack? Only because a few nights ago I thought I might be having one!
That night I wandered to bed, after drowsing on one end of the couch, possibly slobbering a bit as I nodded over my book. I was tired. I climbed into bed and was lost to the world of dreams, until a sharp pain jolted me awake just after midnight. I lay in bed assessing the pain. It was bad. It was just to one side of my sternum. It was burning. It brought saliva pouring into my mouth and I broke out in a prickly sweat. Was it heartburn... or was it a heart attack? I sat up and walked weakly into the bathroom, took a few baby aspirin, in case it was a heart attack and some Tums hoping they would put out the fire. I sat on the side of the tub for a while - afraid to move. Not certain if I could walk and not certain if I was going to throw up. The pain got no worse - but it wasn't getting any better. I was cold, so finally I stumbled back to bed, built a mountain of pillows so I could recline and lay there evaluating the pain. It was still quite sharp, but it seemed more like heartburn than pain from the heart itself. I had taken an antibiotic just before bed. Could it be stuck in my throat? Was I having some sort of esophageal spasm? What about a hiatal hernia? Do they feel like this? I knew that heart attacks in women sometimes mimic indigestion. Was there pain radiating down my arm? No. But, the back of my jaw hurt. Was that a sign of a heart attack, or merely the sign that I was clenching my jaw in reaction to the pain? What about my pulse? It seemed low and steady - in the 60's. After about 30 minutes of this sort of questioning I climbed out of bed and proceeded into the living room where dear hubby was 'watching' TV, whilst snoring a bit! I grabbed my computer to look up heart attack symptoms, while swallowing what seemed like gallons of saliva and occasionally pressing on the painful part of my chest.
The NIH listed the following symptoms for women during a heart attack:
- Shortness of breath - 58% (of women experience this) Nope... not me.
- Weakness - 55% Well... only a little
- Unusual fatigue - 43% No, not really.
- Cold Sweat - 39% In the beginning, but gone now.
- Dizziness - 39% No more than my usual silly dizziness!
- Neck, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
I've finished the prescription. I don't seem to have any indigestion. No strange pains. No heart attacks tonight! The ambulance isn't allowed to come here!