Sorry to be posting something so serious in The Living Room, but this is important for all women, so please bear with me for a few seconds.
If there is a history of heart disease in your family, LISTEN UP!
I had a heart attack early this week and have been in the hospital, recovering. I am still in shock and disbelief, but as my cardiologist explained, it doesn't have anything whatsoever to do with exercise or diet (although they can help bring your numbers down), but everything to do with genetics -- EVERYTHING.
I address this to women only because, as my cardiologist explained, women's symptoms are VERY different from men's.
It all started with extreme indigestion that kept me awake at night AND WOULD NOT GO AWAY WITH OTC MEDS. The pressure is like a football being wedged between your boobs, pressing REAL hard. I'd had that feeling before, but usually Maalox took care of it. This time was different; I emptied the bottle and went for more. It just so happened that the next day was my regularly-scheduled appointment with my regular doctor for a med review. I was barely able to get out of bed that morning and take a shower, let alone drive all the way up there, but I did it.
In the doctor's office, I asked for a Maalox because the indigestion was so intense. The doctor left his office, purportedly to get the med, but when he returned, he was accompanied by a half dozen paramedics. I was stunned. They did an EKG on me, put a Nitroglycerin tablet under my tongue and made me chew up some aspirin. THE NITRO GOT RID OF THE "INDIGESTION" (a huge clue). Then they put me on a gurney and wheeled me into an ambulance. I was driven back down here to the hospital, where they performed an emergency angiogram, JUST IN TIME; my artery had JUST closed. They inserted two stents which opened the artery up.
I dodged a bullet! When my regular doctor came to visit me in the hospital, I covered my face and broke down in his arms. There were no words to express my extreme gratitude. What do you say to someone who has given you LIFE? I told him, "You saved my life!" And he replied, "Yes, Bev, I know."
My "indigestion" is gone now, and I am home, recovering. I made some super friends in the hospital and learned a lot. Don came home with a treadmill for me. I am not permitted to do any kayaking for six weeks, but I am to walk every day for a half hour only, keeping my heart rate at only 110. I take a lot of meds now and am on an extremely strict diet. There is very little I can eat. I do not care.
I am still in shock. Obviously all the exercise and dieting in the world means nothing. It's all in the genes. My beloved daddy died from a heart attack.
Remember, if you ever experience the symptoms I spelled out here, if your "indigestion" does not go away with simple OTC meds, chew up an aspirin and get yourself to the ER IMMEDIATELY. Do not worry about feeling foolish, it's truly a matter of life and death.
One last word, and I'm outta here: Enjoy life to its fullest. This is not a rehearsal!