Janice’s Heart Attack

women heart attack symptoms

When Janice asked me to call 911, I knew something was bad wrong. She never gets sick. She never goes to the doctor and she never asks for help. And, we never saw this coming.

It turns out that a woman’s heart attack symptoms are very different from what I learned in my years as a first aid responder. I was always taught to look for tingling in the left arm and pressure in the chest. She did not express any of that.

For a few weeks, she has been complaining of a sore wrist and both arms aching. We thought this was an injury from playing Wii sports. Her pain would usually go away by a simple massage or some tension on the wrist. The methods described on Lori Painter’s Inspire to act blog relieved the pain every time.

She also mentioned some middle back pain. Again this pain was relieved by massage.

I never realized that these were the known heart attack symptoms for women. When the ambulance driver told me she was having a hearty attack, I almost had one myself. It was the last thing I expected to hear.

When he said they were life flighting her to a trauma hospital, I was even more shocked. I realized it must be very serious.

She had already been at the hospital for 17 minutes by the time I got there according to the ER desk. I waited a bit but when I went to check on her, they had lost her int he computer system. Erlanger is a large hospital so it was impossible for me to find her without help.

A friend who works there suggested that she was probably in the Cath lab and told me where to go. I found a very helpful nurse along the way who was intrigued by the unusual name of Strawbridge. She was finally able to find Janice for me.

I got to see her for just a few seconds before she was whisked off to emergency bypass surgery. She had seven blockages that required three bypasses to correct.

I am going to have to learn more about how women present heart attack symptoms to that I will be more aware for the women in my life.