"the nicest and the sweetest days are not those on which anything very splendid or wonderful or exciting happens, but just those that bring simple pleasure, following one another softly, like pearls slipping off a string."
Lucy Maud Montgomery

Monday, February 23, 2009

Listen to your heart...(IV)

Thank you all for hanging in there with me, I know this is a rather long telling of the story but, I think it is an important one.

From my journal dated August 26,2003:
I woke up this morning at 5a.m. and felt like I was having a low blood sugar. I tried to sit up and take a chem-strip but I was so groggy and dizzy that I couldn't manage it. I ended up disconnecting my insulin pump just in case. Woke up again at 10 and finally managed to get up and to the bathroom. When I went down the hall to feed the dog I was suddenly very dizzy and nauseous. I had to lie on the floor for a few minutes. Finally, I managed to get the dog fed and outside but I felt just horrible. That's when I realized that it was afternoon. I am having a little trouble figuring out where I lost two hours. I must be having trouble processing the pain meds. I won't take it again until I feel less dizzy.

August 27, 2003
I have never felt so awful in my life. I am exhausted, dizzy, nauseous and scared. I have been sitting all day today...I can't get up. At this point I don't care what they find on the bone scan tomorrow...I just want this to stop. Tell me it's not my heart.

At this point the journal ends for several days. Looking back I believe the heart attack happened the day I passed out and lost several hours. I did go to the bone scan the next day. After being injected for the scan Scott and I went to breakfast. We had a few hours to wait before the scan part of the test. When we got back to the hospital and started heading to the radiology department I collapsed. Scott grabbed a wheelchair and ran me over to the E.R., all the time me saying that they had better not try and send me home this time. I was not leaving until someone figured out what was wrong. As I was being wheeled back into the room I distinctly remember hearing the triage nurse say, "she's back and now she's complaining of dizziness." I swear to you that after I was diagnosed I wanted to hunt her down and say "see, see...I was right...why couldn't you listen to me???"

After my initial diagnosis in the E.R. I was taken to the Coronary Care Unit where I stayed for a few days and was then moved to the medical floor. I had an angiogram, the morning after I was admitted, and it showed a 100% blockage of my right coronary artery. I have been told this is the most survivable type of heart attack and thus the reason I could have symptoms for so long beforehand. One of the most interesting and frustrating things was a comment from my doctor saying that if I had only come to the E.R. two days earlier they could have prevented the blockage. If only.

About a year later, in fact a year to the date, I had another angiogram performed by my new cardiologist. During the exam she found a tiny, tiny, leakage of blood in that artery. Upon calling a cardiac surgeon it was decided to try and clean out the artery as much as possible and a stent was placed. I had another angiogram about a year ago and everything appeared stable at that time.

I had no idea how emotionally exhausting it would be to read that journal and re-tell this experience. There were a few times I had to stop as I was starting to have panic attacks. They have been an unwelcome friend to me for quite some time now.
Time for a little rest...


  1. That nurse needed to be slapped... thank God you are still here!

  2. unreal... you had been begging for someone to listen to help for so long and they blew you off... I am glad you survived to tell this story we need to hear it.
    HUGS Laura

  3. That is scary stuff. Every doctor should read this journey. So glad you were finally heard....

  4. I pray to God i'm a better listening nonjudgmental nurse than the one you had. Like... you WANTEd to be there? LIke... you had nothing better to do then bug her?

    You'll probably find that after you tell your story, it will be a chapter easier to close and feel more comfortable with - healing. Sometimes the things that are the hardest to endure are the hardest to heal from.

    I'm sorry for your pain. I'm sorry for your continued issues.

  5. Oh... my sisters name is JoAnn and I call her jojo :}

  6. Thanks for sharing your story, and also for your kind words to me on my blog. I am glad that you survived that and I could meet you. Now take care of yourself and know I love ya, Jojo.

    God Bless~

  7. Thanks for telling the story. It should be required reading for all medical students. A person knows their own body, and when it speaks, everyone should listen.

    I'm so glad you're here!

  8. Thank you, JoJo, for your educating us. I know we can't know the effort it is taking you to re-count this story,but I'm so glad that you are a survivor that is willing to share with us to help us be more aware.


  9. I think there ought to be some procedures in place other than subjective BS a nurse believes about a patient. (shaking my head in disbelief) Why is my question - I'm trying to keep it clean. :)

  10. Your story just might help and encourage someone else passing through some scary times. Medicine is a "practice" and none of us should every forget this. You are here for a purpose and you have been given time on this earth to continue on your mission. God bless.


  11. Hey Jojo-

    I'm pretty sure the 1800mg is the max for headache prophylaxis. According to my very favorite iPod program, Epocrates (all about how different meds work, etc.) the max for neuralgic pain is 3600mg a day.

    So I maybe lose the Neurontin contest. :)

    And hrm about the following. I'm not currently following anyone. Perhaps it's time I get on the bandwagon?

  12. That was very brave of you to tell your story and I appreciate it!!

  13. I've read so many stories of people begging for help and being dismissed only to be deathly ill within hours. It terrifies me.

  14. JoJo, I have been reading your story and I have to thank you for sharing it. I can't even imagine how scary it must be for you to relive your experience through your journal!

    My brother knew that something wasn't right with his heart, yet every time he went in to see the doctor, or even when he went to the ER because he was having chest pain, he was put through some tests and dismissed. He was too "young"(40) and healthy to have any serious worries. Well, as you know, a year later, he was dead from heart failure. The medical field is far from perfect, so we have to be our own advocates. I am SOOO glad that you are here to tell your story, friend.



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