One Heart Beating
Donald Sensing‘s dad had a heart attack Sunday morning. Because he got to the hospital quickly, he’s doing fine.
Don photoblogs the event via x-rays of his dad’s heart during the infarction. His summary:
Speed is everything. From the onset of symptoms to dad’s arrival at the hospital was a little more than a half-hour. St. Thomas is close enough to dad’s home that it was more time-efficient for my mom to drive him than call an ambulance. But this isn’t true for everyone, of course.
The default answer is yes. If you wonder whether you are having a heart attack and should go to the emergency room, the answer is yes. It was fortunate for my father that his pain became severe quickly, leaving him in no doubt. This is not always the case. But if you are unsure, then go. The worst thing that can happen is that you live.
Don provides a list of warning signs and links to more information.
My own dad had two heart attacks, the first four years ago and the second three. After the second, he had a triple bypass that, so far, has forestalled a third attack.
I’d differ with Don on one thing: Call 911 and get an ambulance, regardless of how close you are to the hospital. My folks live maybe five-eight minutes away from the nearest ER but my mom called 911 anyway. It was the right call. Doing so has multiple advantages:
1. Ambulances can drive faster, safely.
1b. Ambulance drivers aren’t in a panic about someone they know facing a life-and-death situation and are thus unlikely to have an accident on the way to the hospital.
2. Ambulances carry EMTs with them that are trained to give immediate first aid and can administer treatment along the way.
3. Ambulance drivers arrive at the hospital knowing exactly what to do and get the patient to the proper place, stat. No wandering around to find the help desk and convince someone that you need to see a doctor RIGHT NOW.