Last month I had an unusual heart attack – SCAD (Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection). It typically happens to fit, active, healthy females, with NO previous cardiac history … like myself.
To celebrate reaching my one month ‘alive-aversary’ I vacuumed the house. Never before have I been so excited to do the housework! (I know Hoovering is not usually on anyones ‘want to do’ list but this time it was a measure of my physical ability which, for now is awesome).
I’m my own pace-maker
Activity wise I still have to be really careful so I’m my own pace-maker: meaning I don’t do anything I don’t want to do – really what more could one want in life?
Spending a lot of time at home does not bother me – plenty of books to read; photos from my trip to edit and enjoy; blogging and craft to do but I do monitor what music I put on: Bee Gees (Staying Alive) and Queen (Another One Bites the Dust) are off the cards.
The cardio nurse had discussed gentle exercise – no stairs; level ground and short walks each day (my new red shoes are soooo disappointed in me). Well I can’t get to my front door without going down a flight of stairs and we live in a village built into a steep hill!
My strolls are very nurturing and I’m grateful for stunning views. Sometimes I take the dogs with me. Being old, they are slow and I’m cool with them stopping to shove their nose at the base of every lamppost to pick up their “pee mail” because it gives me a chance to sniff the fresh air, pant and catch my breath without feeling a fool.
I’m now allowed to drive: my biggest problem here is a psychological one because my SCAD started while I was driving (and foolishly rather than pulling off to the side of the road and calling for help – I carried on home thinking it would get better). So I bus when I can but, instead of looking around and noticing the lady with the green hair and the young guy with raunchy tattoos – I now wonder “which one of them is capable of doing CPR”?
Yesterday I went with friends to see the movie ‘The Bookclub’ during the day. No bother wondering who in the audience could help me in trouble – they were all pensioners so (apart from my two friends) everyone in there was a cardiac arrest waiting to happen! Mine was still the loudest laugh in the theatre though, only this time I was holding my boobs tightly across my chest to stop an artery in my heart from exploding rather than holding my abdomen to stop me wetting myself.
Concern about loved ones
Because he doesn’t want to stress me and cause another SCAD I’m getting my own way a lot with hubby. Sometimes I feel like asking for something outrageous just for the laugh but I do have my own concerns for him. He has been so kind and caring and I really don’t want him to worry. So we have circular conversations that go like this “I’m worried that you are worrying about me. Please don’t worry or else I’ll worry that you are worrying”.
Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection
Next month I see the cardiologist. Because SCAD (Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection) is rare there may be more than one cardiologist attending the session. I was too drugged up at the time to notice what any of them look like but, if there’s an Antonio Banderas look a like, well of course my heart rate will increase and I’m going to go into arrhythmia. How do I get around that one? Think I might need to wear a blind fold to the appointment!
(I am so relieved this happened once I got back to New Zealand and not on my big trip overseas. The doctors assure me it is not related to the travel. I’m connected with an online SCAD support group which is invaluable and we keep up to date with the latest research through the Mayo Clinic. Be aware that symptoms may not be typical – mine was intense pain down my RIGHT arm and a slightly tight chest but no breathlessness, no sweating, no jaw pain etc. Sometimes SCADS have been mistaken for a massive panic attack but they are far more serious.