After 8 days dealing with a cold, I finally went to the dr and was diagnosed with bronchitis. Three days later, I was in the hospital barely able to breathe. I didn't have bronchitis. I had pneumonia. While in the hospital, my heart started acting wonky. I was flip-flopping between bradycardia and tachycardia. In addition, a CT-scan indicated I had a pulmonary embolism so I was transferred to a larger hospital about an hour away for additional tests, including a heart cath.
The evening after the heart cath, I felt peculiar. I was 'drifting' between wakefulness and sleep, so the nurse called the cardiologist. He thought it was a reaction to the tranquilizers for the heart cath. Eventuallly I went to sleep. I next woke to a code team standing over me asking me questions like my name, "do you know where you are?" "what year is it?" Someone explained that my heart had stopped. I was shocked. Literally and figuratively.
When I asked how long I had been gone, I was told "not long." After 23yr in the medical field, I wanted to know EXACTLY how long it took to resusitate me. I knew very well the longer it took, the less likely I had come back 100%.
I am not 100%. I struggle with memory and balance issues, but these may be from the previous stroke that showed up on the MRI conducted while I was in the hospital. Who knew? Not me. I had no idea I had had a small stroke nor that I had previously suffered a septal infarct. I could identify when both 'might' have happened, but I am loathe to go to the emergency room because I fear I'll be told it's "just a headache" or "simply indigestion."
I still struggle with when to go to the hospital. I recognize the matrix of symptoms, but if all I am is breathless or all I feel is a headache, it's hard to imabine that alone could spell heart attack or stroke.