Today was one of those days none of us, especially those of us in midlife, want to think about — our mortality. You see this afternoon I thought I was having a minor heart attack and I handle it similarly to Rosie O’Donnell and probably most women. There I said it — H*E*A*R*T A*T*T*A*C*K.
For the past 4 or 5 days, I’ve had a sharp pain down my left neck and shoulder. Not having done anything strenuous (don’t judge me!) lately, the onset of this pain struck me as odd. I chalked it up to being tight and inflexible so I added yoga for the past few days.
… Today after lunch, I suddenly felt pressure in my chest and a tightness in my throat. There are no words to describe the feeling of having pressure and tightness in my chest other than my 1st thought was “I should take some aspirin.” To find our office medical kit contains only ibruprofen!
I googled “women heart attack symptoms.”
Heart Attack Signs in Women
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
- As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
If you have any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away. (source: American Heart Association).
Finally I IM a co-worker and she offers to get me aspirin. Instead we and her lovable pitt, Luke, walk to 7-11 where I buy aspirin. It soothed me that Luke sensed nothing abnormal about me. To him, we were out on a walk.
I felt better after the aspirin, causing more stress and relief. Did I feel better because I was having a heart attack or because nothing was wrong? I felt fine until close to 4p when I was overcome by nausea, lightheadness and a persistent headache. Damn.
To make a long story short, I didn’t call 9-1-1 nor did I rush to Urgent Care. Instead I went home, found a cardiologist and madedinner of braised short ribs and sweet potato pie. While drinking a damn good Champagne!
I had to confront my mortality, the fact that I’m 50 years old and yes, there is a possibility I had, am having or will have a heart attack. Thankfully, I was able to enjoy a great bottle of Champagne, a few sexy texts, fantastic braised short ribs, polenta and sweet potato pie. If I HAVE to go, there’s not much I’d add to get ready.
What about you? Have you had a scare? Have you thought about death? Sickness?