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1st September

Restless night.

Got up during the night whilst having difficulty sleeping, just restless so I thought. Went outside for a smoke, went back to bed.

2am - Less than an hour later, heart attack! My symptoms were as follows:

  • Discomfort in chest area
  • Discomfort in neck area of jawline
  • Massive ringing in my ears (pretty sure I was close to going unconscious) 

Luckily my partner was with me at the time, who rang an ambulance and about 30mins later, they arrived. 10mins before they arrived my discomfort in chest and neck had disappeared, and although I am laid on my bed thinking of any other excuse as to what just happenened, I didn't want to admit to myself or my partner that it was a definite heart attack. I think for me, I have always said and thought I had a strong heart (more on this later)

The ambulance guys were great, did the checks, had an ECG, and they noticed something wasn't quite right. So they gave me a choice!!!!!!

  1. They could take me to hospital - they made it sound as if i would just go in, get some blood tests done and I would be home in a few hours
  2. I could stay at home and carry on

Funny thing is, I thought about just staying home and going back to sleep, I was tired, but my partner was leaning me towards going to hospital, which I knew would be the right thing to do.......so off I went.

Disappointed, no blues and twos though :(

 


ps...... important to point out here that I felt NO pain at all. So don't always believe whats shown on TV. If you have discomfort, and things don't feel right, then its quite possible a heart attack is in progress and you NEED to react.

 


So arriving at the hospital, via A+E and found myself having blood tests, further ECG tests and a doctor or two speaking to me about how I felt when I had the heart attack. At this point, it wasn't clear what had happened. There was no proof and not the "classic signs" of a heart attack. So i was hoping it was something else like indigestion or a blip in the rhythm of my heart.

About 9am, a consultant came to speak to me with the results of the blood test and he indicated that the Enzymes from the blood result indicated a heart attack. What type, he couldnt say, minor? major?...... the Enzymes would hold the clues from the blood test. (when you have a heart attack, the heart releases Enzymes and its these Enzymes in a blood test that are the indicators of how your heart has suffered....lower levels indicate a minor, whereas higher levels indicate something a bit more dangerous.....I do not know what levels indicate what, but later I will let you know the levels I reached whilst on the ward)

So here i was, hoping for good news, but I now have some form of proof that I have had a heart attack and when the consultant couldn't say how bad it was, I was still very hopeful that it was a little one. Imagine my surprise when the consultant had finished and started to walk off, stopped the doctor that was with him, and heard him say to the doctor, "ensure you write High Risk on the notes"

That was my first real indication that something was serious and I wouldn't be going home today!


So I find myself on the ward with the rest of the day ahead of me wondering about all sorts of things. What happens next? Whats for lunch? Do i have to wear a gown? Whats going on?

Later that day, a doctor appears on their ward round and has a chat with me. Bearing in mind I have been awake since before 2am. The conversation that I can remember is quite simple. I have had a heart attack, and I will be transferred to Bournemouth hospital as soon as possible to have an angiogram. 

Whats an Angiogram?? Good question because I didn't have a clue at all either. Here's a link to further info if you wish. Basically..... a wire is inserted into an artery (leg or arm) and using monitors they can see your arteries and the health of them.

Can you imagine thinking..... so someone is going to stick a wire down an artery, and as you're thinking this, you're looking at the arteries in your arm and wondering just how the hell are they going to do that?? How painful is that going to be? Jeez..... I'll be honest.... it unnerved me a lot. I didn't want to go through any pain. On the other hand, you're also thinking that it MUST be done if you want to get better and get fixed! Its a tough call. You have to go through the pain barrier to get better. No pain, No gain as we used to say, and still do on occasions.

Now I have the rest of the day and evening to think about this procedure and worry about it. I also have the thought of what will they find and if they do find something, are they able to fix it and how? Well...... with my trusty phone in my hand, I could easily google about angiograms etc etc...... but I am afraid, I am a coward (kind of) I just prefer not to know anything, let the professionals do their thing and hope whatever they do can fix the problem. I completely put my trust and faith in these medical professionals because their training must be so extensive to do this type of procedure. What I also don't want to do is read something and then worry like hell about the procedure and what if something goes wrong. Give me the basics, that will do.

My first night spent on a hospital ward in 20 years. Nothing has changed much, but it wasn't unpleasant. Lots of alarms from other beds, but the Acute Coronary Unit at Poole Hospital is actually a nice relaxing place, just as it should be. The next day I would be in Bournemouth Hospital anyway, so enjoy the evening.

5th September

After my Angiogram, I was then transferred onto a Acute Coronary Care ward within Bournemouth Hospital, it was literally a stones through from the Angiogram theatres. It was a 4 man room, and there was plenty of room. It seemed to be quite a nice ward, well laid out, but the view was not like Poole Hospital. My window looked out onto a couple of trees and then another building, but at least I could see a bit of nature. I think I was on the 2nd floor, although you get so disorientated when you enter into a hospital you have never been before and you have other things on your mind as you can guess, not to worry about what the view is going to be like!


Breakfast was nice, cornflakes for me, I do like my cornflakes and a bit of toast. Unusual for me because I tend not to have breakfast at home. Nice little treat under the circumstances. So the nursing staff were nice, good humoured and professional as always.

So I didnt sleep much at all, but when the lights came on and nursing staff started to move around with medications etc, I managed to chat to one of the senior staff. I was asking about the bypass and just needed someone to reassure me more than anything. It transpired that I had a Critically narrowed artery! For me, this sounds exactly as it is...... a very narrow gap for blood to pass. Surely that's not a good thing? The answer to this came about an hour later when I walked to the toilet and when I got back to my bed, I started to have a little bit of a sweat. Similar to when I had a heart attack. Luckily the nurse came over not long after I got back onto my bed and asked if there was anything I needed. I told her that I had walked to the toilet and now felt sweaty. I said, put the back of your hand on my brow to test. So she recognised that all was not right. She told me to stay there and she would be back. She came back with an aspirin, which I took, and then a blood test a little while later.


The blood test was purely to see if the heart had produced any enzymes to indicate damage to the heart. A while later a doctor or consultant appeared along with the sister of the ward. To put it simply, I was told my levels were now 400 whereas in Poole Hospital my levels were 100. So a dramatic increase. Not sure if i had another heart attack or not, I just got a bit sweaty as far as I am concerned, but from this point onwards I was confined to bed. If i wanted to go to the toilet, they would take me on a wheelchair all of 10 yards if that. You can't argue with that. If walking a short distance was going to end my life, then I shall stay on my bed for sure! Now that;s a bit of a scary thought. Just how narrow was my artery that walking a short distance would potentially cause more damage to my heart. What if I didnt go to hospital on the morning that I had my heart attack? The ambulance crew did give me a choice. What if I had said no, I just want to go back to bed and sleep. To be honest, I am fairly certain I wouldn't have lasted the day if I had done that. I would have had another heart attack and that could have been fatal. Wow. How close was that? How defining was the choice me and my partner had made at 2am in the morning to go to the hospital? I try not to dwell on it but I think it proves to me and anyone else reading this that if you have discomfort in your chest or neck or both and its unusual for you to have a feeling like this, consider the fact that you may be having a heart attack and please...... ACT upon it. Listen to your body, its trying to tell you something really important !!


 

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