Save a life, it maybe yours

Women and heart attacks (Myocardial infarction)

Did you know that women rarely have the same dramatic symptoms that men have when experiencing heart attack…you know, the sudden stabbing pain in the chest, the cold sweat, grabbing the chest &dropping to the floor that we see in the movies. Here is the story of one woman’s experience with a heart attack.

This is from a e-mail I received the other day.

“I had a completely unexpected heart attack at about 10:30 PM with NO prior exertion, No prior emotional trauma that one would suspect might have brought it on. I was sitting all snugly and warm on a cold evening, with my purring cat in my lap, reading an interesting story my friend had sent me, and actually thinking,”A-A-h, this is the life, all cozy and warm in my soft, cushy Lazy Boy with my feet propped up.” A moment later, I felt that awful sensation of indigestion, when you’ve been in a hurry and grabbed a bite of sandwich and washed it down with a dash of water, and that hurried bite seems to feel like you’ve swallowed a golf ball going down the esophagus in slow motion and it is most uncomfortable. You realize you shouldn’t have gulped it down so fast and needed to chew it more thoroughly and this time drink a glass of water to hasten its progress down to the stomach.

This was my initial sensation—the only trouble was that I hadn’t taken a bite of anything since about 5pm. After that had seemed to subside, the next sensation was like little squeezing motions that seemed to be racing up my SPINE (hind-sight, it was probably my aorta spasming), gaining speed as they continued racing up and under my sternum (breast bone, where one presses rhythmically when administering CPR). This fascinating process continued on into my throat and branched out into both jaws.”

“AHA!! NOW I stopped puzzling about what was happening–we all have read and/or heard about pain in the jaws being one of the signals of an MI happening, haven’t we? I said aloud to myself and the cat, “Dear God, I think I’m having a heart attack !” I lowered the foot rest, dumping the cat from my lap, started to take a step and fell on the floor instead. I thought to myself “If this is a heart attack, I shouldn’t be walking into the next room where the phone is or anywhere else…….but, on the other hand, if I don’t, nobody will know that I need help, and if I wait any longer I may not be able to get up in moment.”

“I pulled myself up with the arms of the chair, walked slowly into the next room and dialed the Paramedics… I told her I thought I was having a heart attack due to the pressure building under the sternum and radiating into my jaws. I didn’t feel hysterical or afraid, just stating the facts. She said she was sending the Paramedics over immediately, asked if the front door was near to me, and if so, to unbolt the door and then lie down on the floor where they could see me when they came in.

“I then laid down on the floor as instructed and lost consciousness, as I don’t remember the medics coming in, their examination, lifting me onto a gurney or getting me into their ambulance, or hearing the call they made to St. Jude ER on the way, but I did briefly awaken when we arrived and saw that the Cardiologist was already there in his surgical blues and cap, helping the medics pull my stretcher out of the ambulance. He was bending over me asking questions (probably something like “Have you taken any medications?”) but I couldn’t make my mind interpret what he was saying, or form an answer, and nodded off again, not waking up until the Cardiologist and partner had already threaded the teeny angora balloon up my femoral artery into the aorta and into my heart where they installed 2 side by side stents to hold open my right coronary artery.

“I know it sounds like all my thinking and actions at home must have taken at least 20-30 minutes before calling the Paramedics, but actually it took perhaps 4-5 minutes before the call, and both the fire station and St. Jude are only minutes away from my home, and my Cardiologist was already to go to the OR in his scrubs and get going on restarting my heart (which had stopped somewhere between my arrival and the procedure) and installing the stents.

“Why have I written all of this to you with so much detail? Because I want all of you who are so important in my life to know what I learned first hand.”

1. Be aware that something very different is happening in your body not the usual men’s symptoms, but inexplicable things happening (until my sternum and jaws got into the act ). It is said that many more women than men die of their first (and last) MI because they didn’t know they were having one, and commonly mistake it as indigestion, take some Maalox or other anti-heartburn preparation, and go to bed, hoping they’ll feel better in the morning when they wake up….which doesn’t happen. My female friends, your symptoms might not be exactly like mine, so I advise you to call the Paramedics if ANYTHING is unpleasantly happening that you’ve not felt before. It is better to have a “false alarm” visitation than to risk your life guessing what it might be!

2. Note that I said “Call the Paramedics”. Ladies, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE! Do NOT try to drive yourself to the ER–you’re a hazard to others on the road, and so is your panicked husband who will be speeding and looking anxiously at what’s happening with you instead of the road. Do NOT call your doctor–he doesn’t know where you live and if it’s at night you won’t reach him anyway, and if it’s daytime, his assistants (or answering service) will tell you to call the Paramedics. He doesn’t carry the equipment in his car that you need to be saved! The Paramedics do, principally OXYGEN that you need ASAP. Your Dr. will be notified later.

3. Don’t assume it couldn’t be a heart attack because you have a normal cholesterol count. Research has discovered that a cholesterol elevated reading is rarely the cause of an MI (unless it’s unbelievably high,and/or accompanied by high blood pressure.) MI’s are usually caused by long-term stress and inflammation in the body, which dumps all sorts of deadly hormones into your system to sludge things up in there. Pain in the jaw can wake you from a sound sleep. Let’s be careful and be aware. The more we know, the better chance we could survive…

A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this mail sends it to 10 people, you can be sure that we’ll save at least one life. Please be a true friend and send this article to all your friends you care about.”

So I thought it was more effective to put on my blog.

Are we headed for World War 3?

As I poke about on the internet I am listening in on a conversation going on behind me. One is my husband who spent some time in Germany serving in the British army after World War 2, the other is a man who was inducted into the Hitler youth in Germany when he was very young. They are talking about the last war and in the course of conversation expressed their view that we are headed for World War 3.

It does seem inevitable that more and more countries will get drawn into the war against terrorism, and that the world does seem to be in such turmoil. Does it seem to you that we cannot avoid another major conflict?

The awful thing is that most of those (barring terrorists) don’t want to fight. They have families and lives that have been interrupted by politicians who can’t come to a resolution. My husband said that when he was in Germany he met many people that were caught in World War 2 but didn’t want to be there.I have always felt that I could fight to defend my own home and family but I am not interested in fighting for anyone else. However terrorism is a different type of war isn’t it? How can people be so lacking in conscious that they attack innocent people?

I am not against war, I think that is rather naive to think mankind can avoid it, but I would have to be personally angry about a situation before I could be caught up in it. Why is it we think we are all getting better as a species, that we are somehow evolving into a higher life form. What rubbish! I think we haven’t changed, just our methods have. We are just as primitive and cruel in our ways as the Mongols, Romans, Greeks or Persians, Assyrians and so on. Maybe we don’t gut the pregnant women and kill all the boys and men now, but we poison the land, leave bombs behind us to blow up unsuspecting people and use germ warfare. I am not using we, meaning Canadians, Americans or English or any other nationality for that matter, I am saying we meaning the human race.

What a mess the world is in, but I guess it always has been, but now we hear about it all the time on the TV, maybe I will avoid listening to the news it doesn’t seem to help. Is ignorance bliss?

Chicken little and the grizzly bear tracks

We took Annie the dog for a walk down by the river today. The sun felt really warm although the wind was quite cold. My husband wanted to check if he get down to the bank to go fishing yet. I think he is crazy clambering about on slippery rocks but the fish are calling him so what can I say.

He was excitedly pointing out animal tracks, “Oh look there is a moose” or “I think that is a grizzly because the black bears aren’t out yet”. He was making me quite nervous. I am not really the outdoorsy type and I would feel a lot safer on a city street than walking in the tracks of a grizzly, especially as we watched the movie “The Edge” last night with Anthony Hopkins. It was filmed in Alberta and had a man eating grizzly taking one of the major parts!

My husband always tells me my fears are unfounded, he feels it is a lot safer in the bush than in a city, whereas I am the exact opposite. Even when I am messing about in the garden in summer I always have an eye out for a bear which is not unfounded as we have had several on the property.

My husband has great plans for the ATV he bought. He wants us to take picnics out into the bush and enjoy nature. I see it another way. If I don’t get eaten by a bear the mosquitoes will get me. We don’t have a gun so I hope he can get the ATV up to top speed. I know I am making a fuss here on the blog but I won’t spoil his fun, he really loves living out here. I don’t mind it but I like to view my nature from the safety of our truck, or the comfort of my living room, chicken that I am.

I am looking forward to going to Calgary in May to see two of our sons and inhaling the fumes of the passing cars, seeing the window displays, and doing city things. My husband hates cities and can’t get out of them fast enough. It had to be the attraction of opposites I can’t think how else we ended up together.

Making changes

I found by using Stat Counter that most people prefer to use a resolution of 1024 x 768 rather than my preference of 1280 x 1024, so when I checked it out on my new monitor I found my template had to have some changes. My coyote and fish were half off the screen. So I had to flip them. I am a bit of a perfectionist about these things. I also had to make changes to a couple other websites. I made a big mistake, and I should know better, in that I prefer to use Firefox2 and I have AdBlock always on, so I forgot when creating one of the sites that I couldn’t see a side advertisment that was on it so I had to go back and do some recalculating so that the text could all be seen. I really should know better and I have IE7, Firefox and Opera on my system to check these things, although very few people seem to use Opera. I always used to check Netscape also but hardly anyone seems to use that anymore. I was surprised about the resolution though, I find the small version 1280 x 1024 much easier to read, it seems sharper and you can see more of the screen but the larger 1024×768 was the hands down favourite by over 50% of people viewing, most people still use Internet Explorer but I greatly prefer Firefox, as it has extensions (small programs) that I have found extremely useful. Opera has its advantages too, as I can load a site with no pictures or just the cached ones and read the content and if I choose I can then load the new pictures. This makes dial up much quicker and I have a few favourite blogs that are heavy in pictorial content all the time, so I visit them in this way.

It is interesting to see how many people actually come to the site by using Stat Counter. A person from South Africa, two people from Japan, a person from China, people from the Middle East, several from UK, USA and Canada, and various countries in Europe. It would be so nice if you would stop and just say Hi even if you don’t wish to comment or have nothing to say other than Hi. I have a blogging friend at A little piece of me who gives booby prizes to lurkers LOL., But if you really would rather not then don’t worry just keep popping in to visit from time to time.

Repenting of boredom

Yesterday I wrote that my husband and I were getting bored waiting for winter to go.

When I went to bed last night I snuggled down in clean sheets with a full belly, a warm little home, my health, no debts and no threats to my life due to my beliefs or opinions. I have access to books and knowledge and medical help should I need it, and I had a loving husband who has never even raised his voice to me.

As I lay there I felt convicted that I had no right to say I was bored, and that I should be thankful for the ennui that I am currently experiencing. Would I want the opposite?

Looking for somewhere to sleep, trying to keep warm, to wonder what I could find to eat tomorrow. To be hounded because of my religion or political beliefs or to be considered almost less than human because I am female. To be denied education or medical help and to be at the whim and domination of an abusive husband.

Today I decided to be proactive with the tedium and emptied all my kitchen cabinets and wiped them down. Cleaning out drawers and sorting out stuff I don’t need to keep. Tomorrow I plan to pull out the stove and fridge and clean behind them. So I am starting spring cleaning early. I usually wait until we stop using the wood stove, as it creates a lot of dust, but if I do it now I will have more time when the snow goes to mess about outside.

Snow Doughnuts

Snow doughnuts, like these found in the North Cascades, form when snow conditions are just right.

I haven’t see anything as unusual as this in our snow. Unfortunately all I can see as the snow melts is the little dumplings Annie the dog has left for me throughout the winter.

The snow is melting though, we can see it going down slowly, in the morning the sheen of the night’s below zero temperatures make the snow look like meringue. Trees that have been bent over all winter are starting to straighten like old men with arthritic backs, creaking and popping as they are released.

My husband and I are getting bored. I never let my children say they were bored, I always found something for them to do. He can’t do anything else right now because he is waiting for the snow to go and I am looking forward to pottering outside in the garden.

I have been reading ‘Gorky Park’ by Martin Cruz Smith, it is interesting but hard going I find. What a grim place Russia must be, at least that is how it is depicted in the book. I have never had any desire to visit there, probably all that snow would be too much like home. I have always wanted to visit Greece and I think China would be interesting. Northwest of us in Prince Rupert, a huge container port is being built, and a great deal of Chinese imports will be arriving there to be shipped by rail throughout North America. Also it is predicted that there will be a large influx of Chinese tourists into this area so I would assume that it will become easier to visit Mainland China in the future.

On the west coast of Canada it seems to me that it would be more profitable for our children to be learning Chinese or Japanese than taking French Immersion classes, that is unless they wish to work for the government or move to Quebec. I learned French, in England, from Kindergarten to Graduation but still can’t speak it. I could write an essay, take dictation, do precis all in French but suffered terrors if asked to speak it, as it turned out I have never needed it. When I went to school pronunciation and grammar were drilled into you so much that you feared to say it incorrectly, so you didn’t say it at all. The Europeans have a much better idea, get the children chattering and the rest will fall into place. Hopefully the methods of teaching a language have changed since I went to school.

The numbers are in on the snow level

The numbers are in and as of Sunday we have had 14ft 3inches of snow but it has been snowing all day so make that 15ft. That is the official report, I don’t know who goes out every day and measures.

I pinched a nerve in my leg somehow on Saturday, it came on very fast so we assume that is what it was. It was extremely painful and I could barely move, so I had been taking pain killers all day Sunday. When I woke this morning it had gone. What was interesting is that an old friend of ours from Vancouver Island, who only calls once in a while (it is a least 9 months since we spoke), called this evening. He said he had had a dream about me Sunday night and that meant, as far as he was concerned, that he had better pray for me, was there a problem. There wasn’t any more because the pain I had been in had disappeared.

Apart from that life seems to be on hold. There is nothing much happening although my husband went to play darts on Friday night, while I had the fun of doing the library tax returns! He went to carpet bowling this morning while I tried to master a program I had downloaded. No animals have been sighted except dead deer or moose on the side of the road but we have had several woodpeckers at our suet feeder, a couple of squabbling squirrels on the deck, some chickadees, blue jays and whiskey jacks coming for the sunflower seeds we put out, even a small flock of pine siskins blew in from the coast for a while but are gone now. We are all waiting for Spring.