Two weeks ago was a really big day in our family. It was my mother’s birthday and she was also set to retire. Prior to the special day, we planned to go out to dinner to celebrate together and then head back to Nana and Papa’s house for cake. I went out and bought the cake that morning. Photos to make sure it was the right kind were sent back and forth to my father. In the afternoon, my middle school kiddo and I went to buy something special just for Nana.
NHL and I went to see Nana after her last day of work. We decided to go with my parents to the restaurant. TechyDad would meet us there after he picked JSL up from an after school program. When we got to the restaurant, we ordered our meals and drinks. Just before our dinner arrived, I noticed my mother fishing around in her purse for something. She mentioned she had heartburn. This is something she had been bothered by a bit more recently.
I was sitting next to my mother and could tell she was getting no relief. In fact, it was pretty clear that things were intensifying. I watched to see where Mom was grabbing on her body. She was rubbing by her sternum and over to her left clavicle.
Alarm bells started to go off and I pulled out my smartphone. I did a quick search that I wish I never had to do. My search was symptoms of a heart attack in women.
You see, my mother has a heart condition that started years ago when a virus attacked her heart. Something bothered me with what I was seeing.
As I searched things changed again.
Mom started to sweat like I have NEVER seen before. She could barely keep her eyes open and looked like all of the color had drained from her face.
That was it. I mouthed to my father that I was calling 911. My mother, putting her grandkids ahead of herself, told us no. While it seemed like an eternity, Dad got Mom to head to the car. She wanted to go home, but Dad said he knew there was no way. Yes, we should have called emergency personnel – but in the heat of the moment it was more important to get her to the emergency room STAT.
I was numb and sat with the boys who had no clue what was going on. I asked to have everything packed up. I left text messages for my brother to let him know to call me immediately. Then I sent a text to my aunt to see if she was still in town. She replied back to me just as we got to the car. TechyDad got the kids into the car and I stayed outside to chat with her because I did not want to scare the boys. At this point, they really had no idea what was going on.
My father messaged me shortly after this to tell me he had made it to the ER and Mom had her EKG and it was fine. I was able to breathe a little as we made our way to the hospital.
Much of the events in the ER are a blur. Mom’s pain continued, but they did not think that she had a heart attack. They believed that it was an esophageal spasm and gave her things to help that.
NO change and the pain intensified again. I told the nurse and thank goodness she listened. We got mom baby aspirin and she gave her nitroglycerin to see if it would relive the pain.
During this time, my brother and sister-in-law had called me. I was able to talk to them and later on text things that I didn’t want to necessarily say and alarm my parents until we knew more.
Within seconds, there was a difference. My own heart sank. That’s about the time some blood test results came back. The cardiac enzyme result was negative. Based on this they felt it was not a cardiac event, but because the nitroglycerin helped some they were admitting her over night for observation and to do two more cardiac enzyme checks.
At almost 11, we moved up to the Cardiac area of the hospital. While settling Mom into her room, the second cardiac enzyme came back. This time it had gone up. The nurse told us and immediately went off to contact her cardiology group.
This is exactly why they do multiple enzyme tests because they can change within 6-9 hours (thank you again smartphone search). Dad and I left for the night knowing that they would check things once more and would wait to hear from the doctors in the morning.
Saturday morning, I was up early and heard the words that brought tears to my eyes.
My mother had definitely had a heart attack on her birthday and the same day she retired.
I was numb.
By this point, we knew that her levels were decreasing. The cardiology group had decided to keep her for observations while giving her IV blood thinners. The plan was to add her to the schedule for an angiogram on Monday where we would hopefully find out the cause of the heart attack.
While I don’t encourage using Dr. Google for medical advice, I do encourage you to use your smartphone as a resource. When out and about, you have nothing else quickly check things. Use your phone to dial 911 and never second guess this. Keep an extra charger with you because when in the ER and hospital for hours you will want to be able to check in with family, friends, and others.
Quick update: My mother is doing very well. During the angiogram, they put a stent into an artery that caused the heart attack and likely her recent heartburn symptoms. More to come about some additional items I learned during the last two weeks coming soon. For now, please hug those that you love a bit tighter.
Disclosure: As a member of the Verizon Lifestyle Bloggers, I receive devices like the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Droid Turbo to test out and share ways that I use it in my life. I am a long time Verizon customer, and all opinions are my own.