Can’t believe this happened to me
Hello, my name is Linda and this is my story. I recently retired (Dec 2018) after working for 50 plus years for a family practice office in Cherry Hill, NJ. I knew of course all the signs and symptoms of heart disease, The end of January I began having pain across my back between my shoulder blades on 4-5 different occasions, I would take Advil or Tylenol and it would go away quickly and I would be fine for a week or so. I figured it was muscular. The next thing I began having was a dry cough. I have a history of asthma and reactive airway disease so I figure I live in Jersey and my asthma was kicking in earlier than usual. My cough became increasingly more frequent and was starting to cause shortness of breath. . I thought I was getting asthmatic bronchitis and spoke to my pulmonologist. He put me on Prednisone and an antibiotic and had me come in to his office two days later. The cough and breathing had improved a little and he said my lungs were clear but i “i didn’t look well”. I blamed being on a high dose of steroids which always made be feel rotten fast forward four days later. I had watched my granddaughter all day and when my daughter came at dinner time to pick her up she said”Mom I have never seen you look like this, you look completely done in, your breathing is still labored and you look awful” she gave me a choice urgent care to the ER, omg course I chose urgent care I told the doctor there I thought I was having trouble with my asthma. After lab work, a chest x-ray and breathing treatments I was no better and he wanted to send me to the ER via ambulance I would not go by ambulance that I walked in I will walk out and my daughter could drive me to the ER he called ahead to alert them. We arrived at the hospital about 20 mins later and by now my breathing was really bad. The Er was very busy but they did take me right back. They did blood cultures and more blood work, another breathing treatment and a routine EKG. That is when all hell broke loose the tech showed my EKG to the physician and the next thing you know the doctor is saying Lot is going to happen to you really fast, your EKG is horrible are you having chest pain. I told her no as they rushed me to a cubicle with resuscitation equipment and started putting nitro patches on my chest,, defibrillator pads on me, giving me aspirin and zocor. My cardiac enzymes were sky high and they call the life support medics to transport me to a hospital that was recognized for cardiac care in Camen, NJ Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital. I had a cath the next morning which show irreparable heart damage. I had 100% LAD blockage that had calcified, I had blood clots and an aneurysm in my left ventricle. All the doctors have told me it is a miracle that I survived this. I was hospitalized for 8 days. I.am home now wearing a life vest which is a portable defibrillator which I have to wear for 3 months to determine if I need a permanent one. I have a wonderful doctor and cardiac support team and go to their Coumadin and heart failure clinics. They call me to check on me between visits and I am blessed with a wonderfully supportive family and friends. I hope I can help other women to not be stupid as I was, being in the medical field and ignoring symptoms. I have a very long road ahead but I am making stready progress and truly believe a survived to make a difference and each day is a gift. I just turned 71 April 10th and look forward to 72. Just an added note, nei5her of my parent’s, nor any grandparentshad known heart disease. My only sibling a sister died suddenly of cardiac arrest at 61 but ad a istory of a prolapsed mitral valve. I was the first heart attack in my immediate family.