I had WHAT? WHEN?50 y.o. femaie, workaholic, high stress job.
I had been coughing for some time. Went to PCP, got antibiotics and cough supressants. Didn't help. Took another course of antibiotics. No help.
It was a Saturday morning about two months ago (January) and I decided to go to the urgi-care center because I heard myself wheezing and gurgling. The doctor put the stethoscope to me and said "Your lungs are clear." I asked how could that be if I could hear it with my own ears and no stethoscope. He wrote me a prescription for prednisone. That evening, I went out to dinner but barely ate. I just wasn't hungry. The prescription said "Take with food" so I didn't take any pill since I hadn't eaten.
I was up all night. I'm in healthcare and know all the "back stories" - so I'm not a fan of hospitals (who is, actually?) I had every excuse in the book not to go - "change of shift time," "med administration time," "lunch break time." I decided at 9:30am on Sunday that it was my time - and presented in the ER. By that time, I couldn't catch my breath long enough to even spell my name. Coughing and coughing.
They triaged me directly into the critical care area of the ER. But, I was a walk-in, and I was walking just fine. The ER doctor looked at me and said to the admitting RN "That's the patient? Put her in the hallway." (NY hospitals are very overcrowded.)
Within 5 minutes, the coughing started and again, I sounded like I was hyperventilating. At that moment, the doctor moved me into an ER room and they started all of the tests, chest x-ray, blood work, CT...
He came back and said "First, I don't know how a doctor could tell you that you didn't have pneumonia - it's full blown. Second, I'm concerned that you may have a pulmonary embolism.
I told him I don't think in the negative, so let's just stick with pneumonia.
Soon after that, he said the tests started to come back and I didn't have a PE, but my enzymes were high.
I was then in the ICU.
Then, the echo.
Then, the cath lab, where I joked with the doctor "I'm waiting." "Waiting for what?" "Waiting for you to say 'beautiful.'
Then the stent in the LAD. Fully blocked. He looked at me and said "Not so beautiful."
Then, the news: "You have had several 'silent heart attacks' with the most recent being within two weeks of today. Your ejection fraction is 20%." I had no idea what he was saying. What does that mean? WHAT did I have? WHEN did I have it? WHY didn't I know it? I work every day - no shortness of breath, no signs/symptoms. I'm in healthcare - nobody around me had any clue or noticed anything different. Yeah, I'm tired, but who isn't?
After he explained everything, I was pretty sure I was going to have a heart attack that I actually felt. SHOCK is an understatement.
Next thing I know, I am fitted for the life vest (which is another story itself - that thing is making me psychotic with the alarm going off that it's not 'touching me' properly when it feels like it's crazy glued to my body!) And I am given a fistful of pills. Mind you, the most medication I took before was the occasional antibiotic and Tylenol PM.
OMG - I'm 50. I have two kids. WHAT is this??
Genetic? I'm sure. Mother, grandfather, great uncle - all died of MI. All between 61 and 69. But I'm FIFTY. This is not supposed to happen to me. I am only halfway through my life as I intend it.
Major changes? Yes. Scary? Yes. Praying every day that when I go back for the next echo in April, there's enough improvement that I won't need an ICD...YES.
Glad to have found this site - YES! Reading through the stories make me realize I'm not alone in this. You understand the major life change I am going through - and the confusion about how this happened.
Thanks for sharing your stories with me...a newbie. I'm learning from all of you.