Day-By-Day Diary Of A Heart Attack Survivor: Part 1 It All Started With Indigestion

[My Electrocardiogram - ECG]

My Electrocardiogram – ECG

The last couple of weeks have been rather eventful, even life-changing.  I have been writing short updates on Facebook to keep people updated in real-time & have had so many private requests to write a blog, that I have succumbed.

Enjoy & please give me your feedback.  If this series helps one person, it will have been worth the physical & emotional effort.  Thank you for taking the time to drop by & read.

I am still on the journey, facing further surgery & things may change, for the better or worse.  What I will do is document my journey as openly & honestly as possible, including the dirty stuff like emotions & struggles.

I have lost several close friends through heart attacks.  Why I should survive & they not I cannot answer, but I can lead you by the hand through my challenges, struggles, victories & life-changing decisions.

So, here goes …


Saturday 13th August 2017:  I am out in a pet department in Wolverhampton near Birmingham UK, working with Geoff, my boa constrictor, introducing him to customers; enthusiastic & not so enthusiastic.

12:00:  Indigestion rears its ugly head. A bit sweaty with this bout but after a minute or two, everything subsides & I continue with my discussions.  All is going well for another hour.

13:00: This indigestion is not going away.  The pain increases rapidly again, peaking after about one minute.  The pain is tucked right under my ribs, up into my chest & this time I feel very ‘clammy’ & sweat more profusely.  My arm pits really ache with this event but everything subsides over the next 5 minutes until it is suddenly gone; completely & I feel almost a new person.  At last! Indigestion has taken the hint & departed.

14:30: This is no longer funny.  Here comes another bout of pain, right in the middle of an interesting conversation with a visitor. Spontaneously, I say, “Just let me sit down for a minute,” whilst continuing the conversation.  The pain is unpleasant, though no more than before but I am really wet & clammy now & my arm pits hurt.  My left wrist feels a bit strange, probably because I have been stood holding Geoff for the past few hours.  Then, as before, it is gone.

16:30: Conversation is interrupted once again with pain & sweating.  By now I am really wishing I had some Rennies!!  Pain; sweating; gone.  All in 5 minutes.

17:30:   Time to pack away.  Load the car & drive home without a problem.

21:30:  I have to be in Bracknell, 125 miles away, by 09:30 on Sunday morning to do another session in a store so it’s time for an early night.  Everything is prepared for tomorrow. Just a sleep & I’ll be off.


But my evening didn’t go according to plan …

23:45: Wake up with a pain in my chest & armpits again, plus profuse sweating.  This is so damn inconvenient. I need it to pass so that I can get back to sleep before an early start.  But the intensity of pain drives me to distraction.  I start to go downstairs for the Gaviscon, get half-way & then decide upstairs is best.  I get upstairs & decide that I really need to be downstairs.  But after setting off, that doesn’t feel right either.  To be honest, I don’t know what the hell I should be doing.

Then the thought dawns on me: what if this isn’t indigestion? What if this is a heart attack?  But I need to get to sleep in time for tomorrow! Why not call the emergency number & see what others think.  Reluctantly I pick up my ‘phone & make the call.  After less than 5 minutes of discussion & the lady on the other end say, “I want you to get yourself to the nearest hospital, as quickly as you can.

Okay! So this may be wind masquerading as something else I thought.

My wife appears & I relay the conversation I have just had.  She & my son take me in to our nearest hospital, Leicester Royal Infirmary & drop me off at Accident & Emergency.

Sunday 14th August 2017 — 01:30:  They are expecting me.  I pass through to triage within 5 or 10 minutes & then again through to ‘Majors’ … the sign at the entrance leaves little doubt that I am being taken seriously.

[Majors -- So This Is Escalating Rather Quickly]

Majors — So This Is Escalating Rather Quickly

In what seems to be just a few minutes I am wheeled through to Emergency & Resuscitation.  Things are escalating quickly.

For the next hour or so I am prodded, tested, pricked, listened to & eventually a young doctor appears with a reassuring smile on her face.  Thank goodness! It is nothing serious.

03:15:Mr Wood? We are pretty certain you have had one (or perhaps more from your account of today’s events) heart attack.Your heart trace shows no evidence but your blood tests tell a very different story”  There it is: cool; calm; gentle; like a battering ram whose impact is so hard I don’t take it in.  My brain hears; my emotions don’t.

We have arranged for you to be looked after by Glenfield Hospital.

Excellent! Out-patient then.

The ambulance will take you across in the morning after 7am when the crews are back on.

So there we have it! But surely this dream will end & I will be back home, safely in bed.  I pinch myself again, but the pain seems real.

Perhaps this is a bit more than indigestion after all.  We will see.

04:15: I am cannulated & an infusion set up. We still have 3 hours until 7am. I try to rest but the sound of a dislocated elbow being put back on place & a rather drunk man stabbed in the face who is pleading with his girlfriend (who he recently jilted) to have pity on him & take him back keep me awake.

This will be a long night … but not as long as the rest of the day.

(To be continued) …

About waywood

Hi & Welcome to my thoughts. I share subjects that are important to me. As you’ll notice, these subjects can be quite broad & varied. I like variety; I like breadth & I like a challenge. I am passionate about helping others overcome their fears, grow in confidence & succeed. Although many people would label me as an achiever, I have battled low confidence, low self-esteem & a couple of nasty, long periods depression over the years. I can’t say, “I know how you feel” but I can hopefully empathise & offer some of the things that are helping me to turn my life around. Please feel free to comment, share & enjoy. Take care, best wishes & keep well Stuart
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5 Responses to Day-By-Day Diary Of A Heart Attack Survivor: Part 1 It All Started With Indigestion

  1. Pingback: Day-By-Day Diary Of A Heart Attack Survivor: Part 2 A Dream Or Nightmare? | Stuart Wood's Weblog

  2. Pingback: Day-By-Day Diary Of A Heart Attack Survivor: Part 8 The Aftermath | Stuart Wood's Weblog

  3. David Lammyman says:

    Hi Stuart,
    My name’s Dave, and I’m a student nurse training in Leicester. Thank you so much for writing this – it is very interesting and helpful to know about a patient’s personal experience. I’ve spent a few months of my training working on one of the cardiac wards near 33A, so I can very easily picture your NSTEMI experience and visualise the treatment you received from your description.
    With your permission, I’d like to share this with my fellow student nurses, as I’m sure some of them would also find your blog insightful and interesting.


    • waywood says:

      Hi Dave

      Thank you for your kind comments. By all means, please feel free to share my experiences with anyone you feel may benefit. It’s why I wrote this in the first place.

      Take care & I wish you every success with your ongoing training & career.


    • waywood says:

      Hi Dave

      If you or any of your colleagues would like to chat to me I am always happy to come in to Glenfield. Subsequent to these posts I underwent CABG which also has a significant story 😊


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