I didn’t know I was having a heart attack. I just knew I felt funny. Different. I immediately asked my husband to drive me to the hospital but he just laughed it off. Women don’t have heart attacks. Only men do. DH was recuperating from his own heart event. How could his wife be feeling the very same thing?
So, we didn’t go to the hospital. DH told me it was anxiety. I should relax. He told me it was heart burn. I should eat less and be more mindful of what I would be eating in the future. He also told me I was overweight and I should lose a few pounds. Nonetheless, the pressure in my chest persisted. The heartburn persisted. Everyday I wanted to do less and less because I couldn’t do any more. I started to sleep a lot during the day because I was staying up late more and more each evening.
We left the warmth of Florida because DH wanted to get home earlier than we originally planned. He had some paying work waiting for him back in New York. I wasn’t ready yet to take on the 45F degree weather and within a few days I became seriously ill. Coughing, sneezing, runny nose, chills……….my only respite was sleep. All I wanted to do, and all I could do, was sleep. All the while I felt pressure in my chest. It was like a squeeze that took my breadth away. After three weeks, I finally called the family cardiologist.
Upon arrival at the doctor’s office, I was immediately given an EKG and there it was: signs that I did indeed suffer a heart attack. The doctor quickly put me on medication that will prevent future heart attacks AND will lessen the pangs of the emotional stress I had been under for weeks. Stress does indeed kill. We don’t know exactly when I had the heart attack but it was definitely within this past year. That’s when I had my last EKG.
I’d say it was within the last three or four months. But hey! What do I know, right?
People don’t take women’s health issues seriously. They think we’re some powerhouses of strength. Well, we’re not. And it’s obvious (to me, anyway) that we women have to take care of ourselves and not leave it to anyone else’s judgment. We know our own bodies and how we are supposed to feel.
Having a heart attack makes you think. It forces you to look at your world and if you don’t like what you see, start making changes. First off, I didn’t like the way I was being treated. I can’t change other people but I can most assuredly change myself.
From this moment foreward, I come first.