Quoted from The American Heart Association
“Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the “movie heart attack,” where no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.”
How It Started
We’ll skip a lot of stuff and get you caught up to October of 2014, when we decided to have our carpet replaced with a sheet vinyl that looks just like wood. Living on a farm and having animals is not condusive to having carpet. I had ordered the flooring product and lined up the installation to happen in August, but Menard’s damaged my roll of sheet vinyl. It was a large order and had to be reordered from the mill for the dye lot to match. So the installation got postponed until October. I tell you this because it is very important. My plans were to have the carpets ripped out when the windows could be open and fresh air diminish the effects of breathing the dust and dander, mold and mildew and anything else that might be lurking in that ten year old carpet. I also requested no volatile organic compounds (VOC) glues be used when installing my sheet vinyl to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals that become airborne from glues and other construction adhesives and products. However, since the job actually was done in October and the weather was cold and the heat was on, all the contaminents were staying inside the house and we were breathing them.
Once the floor was done and the furniture all back in place I started experiencing problems breathing. I went to the clinic the first week of November and was treated for asthma. I never had been diagnosed as having asthma so I told the nurse practitioner about the carpet being replaced. She told me there were hundreds of allergens in that carpet, including a lot of chemicals used for stain resistance and fire retardants just to name a few. She prescribed steroids for me. They were NOT a good idea.
I felt like I was climbing the walls on those steroids. I started exhibiting symptoms of autism, including ADHD, OCD and gut problems. I was overly sensitive to sounds and visual stimulants. I got very upset if the cabinets or drawers weren’t closed all the way. I began bouncing my knee with nervous energy. I couldn’t concentrate. I felt like a mental mess. My husband had worked in the past with autistic patients and he could see autistic traits in me he’d never seen. We’ve been married for 35 years this year…you would have thought something would have shown before now. No…it was the side effect of the steroids. Not only that but I learned later that these medicines cause fluid retention that could lead to congestive heart failure.
I get through the Thanksgiving weekend and feel like hell. By December 15th I thought I better go back to the clinic. I felt like death would be a welcome relief to the misery of trying to breathe. I kept hitting the inhaler the nurse practitioner had given me. Little did I know, it was making things worse. The same nurse practitioner saw me that had seen me in early November. She didn’t do any tests to see if I had pneumonia, a heart problem or anything else. She just rewrote the same prescription for steroids and this time gave me a breathing machine to take home. I didn’t get the steroid prescription refilled, I would rather die. I thought about going to the ER but home was closer and I wasn’t sure I should be driving.
OMG…I’m Having a Heart Attack
The next morning I called the ambulance. I had a heart attack while the paramedics were attempting to get me to walk to the gurney. When I stood up I felt as though my heart would beat right out of my chest, my hands were clammy and I was drenched in sweat. OMG…I’m having a heart attack and I couldn’t breathe enough to talk and tell them. Later blood tests confirmed I definitely had the heart event at that time and not before.
I actually had what is known as “sudden cardiac arrest” and not a heart attack. An SCA, as it’s called, is when the heart stops due an electrical malfunction. A heart attack is caused by a blocked artery and often is fixed by a stent. Only 7% of people who suffer a SCA survive. Without an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) to restart the heart’s rhythm the patient dies. How are they different? Learn more on the American Heart Association’s website.
I spent six days in the hospital and couldn’t wait to get home. I didn’t eat anything from the hospital cafeteria but chose instead to eat from the organic fruit/gift basket that my non-GMO friends from around the country had sent to me. I knew that eating the hospital food would result in what I refer to as “fowl bowel” or gatrointestinal problems. So I refrained from any of the hospital meals. My cardiologist, Dr. Kahn, doesn’t like the hospital food either. Check out his Facebook page on the subject, Ban Hospital Food CarciNOgens.
The Gift That Saved My Life
My saving grace arrived the day before I went home from the hospital via a gift given to me by a very special friend, my co-founder of the NoGMO4Michigan group, Tanya. She sent me a copy of of a book written by Joel Kahn, MD, that I wanted to read (even before my heart event). He and his book, The Whole Heart Solution, helped save my life. It was in these pages that I learned more than I ever could have imagined.