Could this have been a heart attack?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by hearts and roses, May 13, 2010.

  1. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I typically do not over react when I have physical symptoms. My mode of operation is usually to assess the situation and then logically get the help I need. But this time I am waffling - part out of fear and part out of financial concerns. So here is what happened and I would appreciate it VERY much any and all feedback!

    On Tuesday night, while lying in bed reading, I felt the center of my chest, right beneath and behind my breastbone, a tightening for a moment, following by a feeling that a long thin flexible needle had been sort of doing a slow wiggling around in the center of that area. That was the first minute. Withing the second minute, the pain sort of richocheted into the FRONT of my left shoulder, way deep, and then landed in BACK of my left shoulder. This lasted about 3-4 minutes. Following the constriction and needling pain and richocheting pain, I had a sense of tingling in the areas and maybe a wee bit of numbing sensation that lasted till yesterday morning. No more needling or richocheting pain yesterday. A slight pinching pain yesterday around dinner time, but that's it. H told me to eat an aspirin, which I did. He asked if I wanted to go to the ER, which I did not.

    I know it's not stress and I know it was NOT a panic attack - I have had symptoms of those and this was very different.

    It is times like that when I just get stupid about my health, as if I'm making too much of it or that it's something not serious and I'm over reacting. I have told no one else about this incident besides H, difficult child and one co-worker. difficult child and co-worker were SHOCKED that I hadn't called my Dr.

    And one more thing, my cholesterol has been a very small issue in recent years, hovering around 200 and the bad cholesterol is too high; also, I have been smoking again, albeit only a couple a day, but still. And I haven't been able to do my usual walking in a couple of months due to knee issues I'm having, which I am hoping will resolve since I just got the cortizone shot yesterday so I can start walking again in a day or so.

    Should I call my Dr?
    Last edited: May 13, 2010
  2. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I certainly would, just to err on the safe side. Doesn't hurt anything to call, but could potentially be devastating if you ignore it. I hope everything's ok!
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Call your doctor ASAP!

    Are you having any symptoms now? If so, get thee to the ER as fast as you can. If such symptoms can be checked out when they're going on, the better.

    Women don't typically display the stereotypical symptoms of a heart attack.

    I'm not saying that is what was happening, although it's hard to know from the symptoms alone. (which is why it needs to be checked) Could be other things to do with the heart that also need to be checked out and treated, and this could be your warning to have it done ASAP

    When I had my heart attack my symptoms started mid afternoon. Oddly mine did display fairly typical symptoms. I had the crushing pain in the center of my chest that went thru to the back. I felt like someone was ramming a red hot steel rod thru my left armpit. And it was a draw between which of those two hurt the worst. husband was furious because I refused to be checked. I attempted to ignore it. Because if I sat long enough the symptoms to ease off. Went to walmart and it brought me to my knees. Still refused to go to ER. Went home and took a shower. (by now had decided that it was NOT going away) I barely made it out of the shower to call easy child before husband could drive me to ER.

    I have the training and know better. And still I waited. I'm lucky my heart didn't suffer much damage from it. Very lucky. I won't wait a 2nd time.

    Doesn't necessarily have to be a heart attack. Could be a variety of heart issues, that left untreated could lead to a heart attack. Get thee to a doctor to be checked out. Always with chest pain, get thee to a doctor or ER to be checked out. Believe me, they prefer it be a false alarm than for you to be sprawled out on the floor at home because you waited too long.

    Keep us updated.

  4. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    H&R, please do call your doctor. In the event that it is something serious, the quicker you get on this the better for your health. Best to be sure.
    Sending good thoughts that everything is fine.
  5. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I just remembered that when my mom went in for her routine exam and they sent her to a cardiologist they ran some tests (not sure which) and it was discovered that mom had had up to maybe 4 small heart attacks without even knowing it! Apparently, there was some scar tissue and that how they knew...but she may have felt something and chose to ignore it (or it simply wasn't that painful for her) - that's the stock I come from: Just press on, ignore the pain. That's what ended my sister up with 4 blown discs in her back! I am usually very careful about listening to my body. I will call my Dr today. Thanks~
  6. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Yes, have it checked. It is especially concerning if it is your heart and happened at rest.

    If it happens again, go straight to the ER. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Got it?
  7. Mom2oddson

    Mom2oddson Active Member

    It's better to go in and be told it's not a heart attack than ignore it. I lucked out, the pain in my chest and numbness in my left arm was from a pinched nerve in my neck. And I got the news that my EKG looked better than the one in my records. It was worth the trip to the doctors.

    I hope your visit goes well. Glad you are calling the Dr.
  8. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    I think I can understand the part about not taking care of your health all of the time. I confess - I'm guilty of this too. However, while it might not be anything serious, call your doctor ASAP!!! I know this is the advice you would give - Please follow it!!!

    My husband had a heart attack last year. Unfortunately, he didn't do anything about it soon enough. Looking back, I don't think he really believed it was happening. Now, he is still trying to regain as much functioning as possible - At best, this is 60%. I'm not trying to scare you. What you experienced could be an entirely different, much less serious problem. However don't procrastinate!!! The sooner you see your doctor, the sooner you'll have answers instead of just questions.

    Keeping you in my thoughts... SFR
  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    About 6 years ago, husband and I got a babysitter and went to the demo derby at the local county fair.
    Sitting in the stands, laughing my butt off, I suddenly got insanely hot and started sweating profusely, my entire chest cramped and I felt short of breath. My arms both felt heavy and pain shot into my shoulders and hips. I could feel my heart beating irregularly in my chest - fast fast fast fast fast ......nothing.....then fast fast fast fast. I made my way out of the stands without saying anything to husband or anyone else and sat against the far side of the cook shack for close to 30 minutes before it started to let up.
    Later that night, tho I felt better, I still knew something wasn't right, and my pulse confirmed that my heart rhythm was still off. I finally told husband and we went to the ER.
    They confirmed a very irregular heartbeat, but aren't sure beyond that what was going on. Some suggested a panic attack but I've never had anything even remotely similar happen since (and I've had lots of chance to have one! lol) Occasionally my heart skips a beat, and I feel it most of the time (at least I think its most of the time) but its never been like that night since.
    I guess what I'm saying is, I look back on that now, and it still scares me. I was stupid to go it alone and walk out of the stands like I did. I don't know that I had a heart attack or anything, but I know what happened was very wrong. You know they say you have that "sense of impending doom" when you have a heart attack? Well, I look back on that night and feel that "doom", tho I didn't at the time. Every fiber of my being says whatever it was, was bad. I won't take that chance again.
    Three years later, I lost my dad - tho he also had evidence of unknown heart attacks, they determined it was a bout of uncorrected irregular beats that, this time, didn't correct themselves, that took him.
    Don't mess around with your heart.
  10. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I had what I thought was heart pain back in 05 and went to the ER. They were very concerned and admitted me. That made me very After a few days in there on nitro and pain medications, and after taking a stress test, they determined it wasnt my heart but more of my arthritis...sigh.

    I still get pangs in my chest. I also got shooting pains in my chest area from the embolism. Now I get worried when I have that sharp pain in my chest and I am short of breath. Is it my heart, is it another embolism? Or just the arthritis which I just have to live with. I just live with it and hope it doesnt get worse. Worse means I will do
  11. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Thank you everyone~

    I saw my Dr, they did an EKG which was normal. They are sending me for a stress test (treadmill to remind just how out of shape I am, can't wait!). Dr also told me to take Prilosec 20mg/day in case it was a simple acid refluc issue. She said sometimes it can be acid that gets stuck in the esophagus and can cause this type of radiating pain and tingling. She said if it happens again, get myself to the ER. She said ER's don't make chest pain patients langor in the waiting room - my biggest hesitation ever to go to an ER - but they will get you in ASAP.

    My stress test isn't until the 26th! So that's that. Glad I went anyway. I have to go get the bloodwork for my physical within the next couple of weeks so she asked me to go sooner rather than later, so Saturday it is. I am so sick of going to see doctors, etc. Tomorrow I have an MRI scheduled for my stupid left knee and while I'm there Dr has me scheduled for a chest x-ray also. Fun.

    Shari, your experience sounds horrifying!
  12. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    While I'm not glad you have to have so many tests, I was relieved to find this update! Thanks for sharing the good news:D. SFR
  13. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I'm glad you went to see your doctor.
  14. Suz

    Suz (the future) MRS. GERE

    Jo, I'm so glad to see that you are following through on this. We would miss you terribly if you got sick.

  15. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Glad you followed thru Jo. Keeping fingers crossed it was just heartburn.
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hope its just heartburn too.

    Good luck with the stress test. I had the nuclear stress test done but they did the medication for me since I cant walk the treadmill. better tell the doctor about your knee because you might not be able to do it either. The medication was rough but not impossible. I told the doctor he was trying to kill Actually the worse part was putting me in the tube to take the xrays.
  17. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I hated the chemical stress test. It made me feel like I was going to pass out, but you have to keep walking. But, I was talking to a woman at my cardiologist's office on Tuesday who has had several and they don't bother her other than making her hot. So, it really depends on the individual.
  18. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    Good lord, the chemical stress test sounds awful! I am tempted to not even mention my knee issue now! Haha, no just kidding, I will let them know and see what they think.

    I hate the MRI tube also Janet. I will taking a xanax before that and I am downloading some cool tunes tonight so I have a distraction. Fortunately, the place I'm going will allow me to go in feet first for the MRI on my knee so at least my head won't be pounding and I won't get claustrophobic. That's the worst. Lying perfectly still entombed. Ugh.

    I guess heartburn would be better than a heart attack, right? My dad suffered with wicked heartburn my entire life and eventually developed cancer of esophagus and then eventually died of it. These days they treat heartburn with more than just a simple rolaids, so I am thankful for that at least. Don't you know that after I left the DR office I bought a salad for lunch and it wasn't until later that I realized how acidic that was. I had hot peppers and green olives with italian dressing, etc. - probably not the best choice. But there I was, thinking I'm eating light...hmph. I am afraid to eat anything these days, really, between the fat and the acid.

    Thank you for all the well wishes, will keep you in the know.
  19. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I have a flippy floppy heartbeat from time to time. I can feel the center of my chest in an isolated way and then it feels like someone is tumbling dice in my chest. It does kind of make my shoulder feel weird. I've had this for years, and it is some kind of a heart murmur. I try to not worry about it, but I do get an EKG at my exam every year.
  20. Estherfromjerusalem

    Estherfromjerusalem Well-Known Member

    I just saw this, and have read through the whole thread. I am so relieved to see that you did finally go to the doctor. Unfortunately I am experienced in this matter. It doesn't have to be a heart attack, but it can still be something very wrong with your heart. Here's what happened to me just recently: Since I have a history of heart trouble (angioplasty 10 years ago, when they put in 2 stents and two arteries were 90% blocked and I was on the verge of having a heart attack), I recognised a few weeks ago that something was really wrong, although I can't call it pain, but it is such a strange feeling. I got myself to my cardiologist, and she sent me for that chemical stress test and being in that "tube" for so long, two days running (once after stress, once not after stress). Two days later I got a phone call from her (the cardiologist) saying I had to have an angioplasty immediately. Within a couple of days I was in the hospital, and they did the angio (just two weeks ago), and again I had a 90% blockage and they put in a stent. My medication has been slightly changed, and other than that, I am so grateful to her, it's like a plumbing job, and immediately I felt like a different person.

    Since I have also twice had operations because my carotid artery got blocked (my neck is an amazing sight, both sides operated on), I feel very sobered about this and although at the moment it is dreadfully difficult, I haven't smoked for almost three weeks. I reckon that four times having these blockages and modern medicine being so wonderful, I feel as if I have pushed my luck just far enough, and there will be no more smoking until I hit the age of 80 (when I have promised myself I can go back to smoking as much as I want). If I live that long!!

    Anyway, please, Jo, don't wait ever again if you suspect anything. They can do such wonderful things these days. The doctors prefer to prevent a heart attack that can do permanent damage to heart muscle.

    Stay well.

    Love, Esther