It was an early morning by myself, I was studying my Human Biology book. I had taken my early morning med and had some yogurt. It came on all of a sudden about 5:30 am. I thought, could I have heartburn from that? It could happen from swallowing the medicine, it has happened to other people before. I knew I was tired as I worked overnight on Tuesday night. I had classes all day Tuesday and Wednesday and barley any sleep on Tuesday before work as I have a late afternoon class on Tuesday’s. Here I am up early on Thursday morning February 13th studying for a test next week and I do not need to be at school until later this afternoon. Could this be anxiety? I know better than this as I have been in the medical field and studying to be a nurse. I generally tell people call 911 immediately. I felt such a heaviness upon my chest like an elephant upon me. By 5:50 am I decided to leave the house. I figured with my unsteady breathing and horrific pain they will say it is nothing. It was extreme cold that morning and I could not open the driver’s side door. So I went to the passenger’s side door and dialed 911. From there my life became a series of events I will never forget.
I knew right then and there I was right that at 5:30 am I was having a heart attack. But it gave me anxiety as well. The police officer came to me in the car and said the ambulance would be arriving any minute and was calming me like the 911 operator. I was grateful for the ambulance to come, which felt like an eternity. Mainly because I was having a heart attack. Two, it was really low temps out. I chewed the aspirin and we head to the local ER but they asked if I wanted to go to the hospital in Iowa, as we are 20 minutes away from Iowa. My insurance is only for Illinois and I get to the hospital in town. They ran a battery of tests and offer meds and make sure it is not indigestion. My levels continue to go up. But here’s the thing I need to be transferred to a cardiac hospital. Nearest hospital with my insurance is an hour and a half away. So add that to my nerves, my anxiety goes up but not my blood pressure. I know to be calm in a situation. I was told I do not look like the typical heart attack patient.
Finally a couple hours later, yes at least a couple hours later I get transferred to another hospital in Rockford. We had to hold off to do my angiogram until the next morning. Girl who had heart attack at 50 with anxiety issues, thanks! Family sitting back being worried. I just wanted to go home but knew I was better there. So finally I was able to eat, so I ate good, haha! My oldest daughter is an ICU nurse in Iowa and works in their cardiac care unit, she worked night shift, so she kept up to date with the care while I was there that first night. This was just day one of my life changing.
The ironic thing in this story is that on Valentine’s Day February 14th I had my angiogram, they looked at my heart. My heart attack was caused by SCAD, Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. I was blessed and do I ever mean blessed with no stents. I was in the hospital a few days and then back the next day after being discharged due to heaviness again. But no heart attack, just high levels but not high enough. They changed my meds and observed me for a few days. Both times being transferred in the ambulance was long and bumpy and wish it on no one ever!
I decided to join a support group for SCAD on Facebook and with the COVID-19 my Cardiac Rehab is postponed right now. I feel tired and try to do things but am fearful of germs. I felt like that with my already diagnosis of Stage 4 Chronic Kidney Disease anyway. This has slowed me down and that I would say has happened for a reason. I still have a long way to go. I still have tests to do for my diagnosis of SCAD. So off to another adventure in my life.