Surviving a heart attack on your own

Generally when we head down to the Men’s shed it’s to have a laugh with the boys and talk about the fun or loving things from our collective pasts. This one is a bit more serious as one of the men, Jeff, had just returned to the Shed after recovering from an enormous heart attack.

After the fellas welcomed him back, someone even brought some healthy oatmeal cookies to celebrate; Jeff wanted to share his story that that other in the same situation could hopefully survive the ordeal.

“It started out a pretty standard day,” Jeff started. “The wife went out with the girls for a coffee, and I stuck around the house to work in the garden. I worked for a few hours before going into the house to get something for lunch. I thought I had the start of a cold coming on so when I felt lousy going into the house I didn’t think much of it. I was making some lunch when it felt like a cat was sitting on my chest.”

“I stretched because I thought something got pulled when I was out in the garden. But then the dizziness and nausea hit me. So vigorous and quick. I rushed to the toilet and started to be sick when the pressure in my chest grew. It was then I knew I was having a heart attack. I won’t lie. I was scared, especially since I knew I was home alone. I remember that my friend told me about taking aspirin was supposed to help so I calmly went to the kitchen and grabbed the phone on my way there. I called triple-O and took the aspirin. I really tried to focus on the dispatcher’s voice and my breathing.”

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“The paramedics arrived just as the pains in my arm started and I was almost too weak to stand. They took me to the hospital, and I ended up with four stents. But I’m here. The wife was mad at me because she had heard I should have coughed hard and that would have helped but the doctor said that was an internet myth so don’t do that.”

We asked Jeff what was the lesson from it all that he would like to share. “Be calm, don’t panic, but have a plan. Don’t call anyone but triple-O and concentrate on the little things. Either that or don’t have a heart attack. Actually, that one. Don’t.”

Have you or someone close to you survived a heart attack? What tips would you share?