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Post Heart Attack Sad+Stressed
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Post Heart Attack Sad+Stressed

I'm new on here - just had a heart attack less than 3 months ago and really sad and lonely. Family has let me down, finances are a mess, my relationship is on the rocks, and I suddenly feel very very lonely. I'm 42, had a 100% blockage of my LAD, and partial blockages of my Left and Right coronary arteries requiring emergency angioplasty and 3 stents.

On some days I'm eager to get better, but mostly, I just hope I get another heart attack that will put an end to this misery. But the days of wanting to get better are fewer every week. Is this a depression? It's getting worse, not better...despite what the nurses and doctors told me.

I've been sad and stressed out for many years, and now the heart attack has made a bad situation worse. I read about how important it is to have a good support group around you, but I have NO friends - plenty of co-workers but no friends.

I'm in a relationship that is about to fall apart and is being held together because of the new emergency (my heart attack) They have quit work and I've been supporting this person financially for almost 6 mts, and I know they're now with me only because they need the financial support. I don't know whom to turn to for help and what to do. My own family (siblings and parents) doesn't really care - they're all into their own lives - and I understand. This is my prob, not theirs!

I'm not suicidal, but I pray every night that I don't wake up the next morning, yet I take my meds on time and exercise and eat a heart healthy diet. I'm living a dual life - more like existing - and don't care if I get better and just hope to leave this world.

Has anyone in this forum gone through something similar where they do not have a "support system", and still kept a healthy balance? My coping mechanisms are failing me badly, I don't have the energy to go back to work, but I have to for the health insurance and money for food on the table and meds. But I feel like a robot, just waking up every day and going through the motions of existing, with no purpose in life and no passion or reason to carry on. I pray without faith and feel that god has stopped listening to me a long time ago. But I still pray....

Anyone who has gone through something similar - I'm open to your counsel. I'm not looking for encouragement, or being told it'll get better, or to keep my faith in God blah blah blah. I just want to know if some of you have gone through similar ordeals and how you coped or are coping.

Thanks,
Borg42



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Avatar_m_tn
Went through pretty much of the same stuff after bypass surgery.  Anti-depressant drugs was the answer for me.  Started with Lexapro, and it did help a lot, but I didn't care for the side effects.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and have been living happily ever after.

I'd sure recommend some counselling, too.  Just having a better understanding of what's going on really helps in coping with it.

And, yes, that is classic depression.

It'll get better in time.

Oh, and keep your faith in God.

Sorry.  Just couldn't help myself.........;-)
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Avatar_n_tn
Back in 1988 my Dad had open heart surgery and I wound up hanging around CCU's and CCU waiting rooms for month and months -- and I wound up marrying a cardiology nurse.

I was always stunned how the entire medical community would overlook the emotional effects of open-heart surgery. After an insult to the body like a heart attack and then major surgery - of course the patient is going to be depressed. But no one ever adressed it. Just zip them up and send them home.

After my father in law had a heart attack, I told the docs he needed to be on Prozac, but nothing happened. He just went downhill until he died.

Despair is "sickness unto death" as Kierkegaard said.

And you've got to remember what else he said about it " The specific character of despair is that it is unaware of being despair."  In other words - you're not thinking straight. And you've got to try to remember that.

And get on some anti-depressants right away.

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21064_tn?1309312333
Hello and welcome!!  First, you need to know, you now have friends!!  This is a great place to come and talk with other people who really do understand your feelings.  It is absoutely normal to go through a period of depression after a life changing event.  Certainly a heart attack, and at such a young age, is life changing.  

My Dad had bypass surgery in 1998 and the emotional aspects can be compared to a roller coaster.  As you said, some days are OK, others are difficult.  

Have you talked with your cardio or personal physician about what you're going through?  I agree with the other posters about giving the anti-depressants a try.  I have not had a heart attack, but I have been through depression.  It's a tough time, but there are better days ahead.  Do two things for yourself today:

1)  Stick around and let us help; feel free to ask questions, vent, rant, whatever helps you feel connected to others
2)  Call your doctor's office and leave a message that you are concerned over ongoing depression.  The meds can take a little while to kick in, but they may give you back what you need to enjoy your life again.

When you're ready, you will feel so empowered by helping someone else through this same ordeal.  Some of the other posters (like Jim) have "been there, done that" and are so great about helping others who are now in their shoes.  

You now have a world of friends : )
Connie
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you Jim, Dan and Connie for the helpful words of encouragement to carry on. I couldn't sleep last night yet again, and now I feel tired and weary.

1/ I'll do as you suggest to call the cardio and let him know again that I'm not feeling "normal" and to put me on some anti depressants.

2/ Can HR at work have access to my medical records? I'm in a very very competitive high stress job, and I've seen people let go for losing the "edge".

I just want to run away from all of this - it all feels terribly eerie and surreal.





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21064_tn?1309312333
Hi again.  

I'm so sorry you're having a crummy day.  We really do understand and will help you along your jouney to wellness.

Are you in the U.S.?  If so, I think HIPPA laws may protect you against other people seeing your medical recods.  However, there are "loopholes" so I can't be certain.  I really think you will be better off once you've talked with your doctor.  Medication may really help you to get that "edge" back.  

Don't run away!  Don't let this bump in the road keep you from living a great life!  It's just that, a bump...a BIG bump, but nonetheless, there are better roads ahead.  I'm not going to go all sappy on you, but I do want you to know that what you are feeling is quite common.  Is there a particular movie, or comedian that could give you a little peace today?  Maybe switch on the TV and see what helps to put even the slightest smile on your face.....Do you own a pet? like animals?  They can be great companions.  I have a golden retriever and he's good company (a lot of work, but we're making progress).  Have you ever searched the web for puppies?  Even if you don't want one, they may make you smile....Look at the golden retriever puppies, I'm biased ; 0

Please stick around.  We're going to help you and you'll see someday you will be helping the next guy.  For now, we'll be there to help you through.

Connie
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302972_tn?1207684981
Hello, I just want to start by saying that it is great to talk to  you! I am now 31 and I have my heart attack at 27. Talk about depression! You are NOT alone! I still suffer here and there from phases of depression. I have been on this site for a while, looking at other topics and tonight I decided to come to the Heart Disease section to see who was all on here and see if anyone felt the way I do!

I want to let you know, if you do live in the US, employers can not have access to your medical records unless you sign an authorization to release them to them. I know because I work in a hospital in medical records. We have employers try calling up all the time to get records and then we tell them that they have to have a signed authorization. Then if you are being treated for depression, you will have to sign a special authorization to release that info anyway, so do not worry about that.

Yes, I had a heart attack at 27, it was especially hard on me because I have a son, he was 6 at the time. I was so scared I was going to be taken away from him! I also was a smoker. I quit!!!! I have not had a cig since Nov. 2003! And let me tell you, there is nothing wrong with being put on medication for depression! That is why they have it. I was also put on Lexapro, I had not side effects. I also take Xanax as needed. I call them my happy white pills! lol.

Just know that you are not alone and you are here for a reason. Do not ever think different! Family just does not understand what you are going through sometimes, and as for the relationship....I hear you on that one too. I have been with my b/f for 12 years and half of that time he has not worked. That is one stress situation you do not need! So, if you feel you need to talk about that too...I can chat with you on that one! I am glad I logged in here! Hope to hear back from you and anyone else that would like to talk!
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21064_tn?1309312333
Hello!!  I'm SO glad you posted!  As you know, it is not too common for young people to deal with a heart attack.  But, as the two of you know, it can happen.  The good news, you are NOT alone.  Thank you so much for deciding to join in the discussion.  I've found that giving back and trying to help others has actually helped me.  Weird how that all works : )

I remember the exact day when my Dad quite smoking.  He was on a gurney thinking he had a heart attack (he was 48).  Turned out to be angina, but after 20+ years of smoking, he also quit!  That's a lousy way to kick the habit, but I'm glad it worked for him. He has not smoked 25 years. Congratulations to you for quitting, especially at a time of heightened stress!!  It was, and is, a great decision for you, and for your son : )

I know about the "happy white pills"...they can be really helpful for those really tough days.  

Sorry to hear about how your relationship is going.  One step at a time.  You have already proved how strong you are.  One step at a time.  I'm not sure if you know this, but you can also send a private message to members.  Enjoy the day.  Thank you again for posting such a heartfelt comment.

connie
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for the info that only I can authorize who gets to see my medical records. It makes me feel a little less insecure about my job situation when I go to see a therapist.

And thanks for sharing your experiences. My situation seems miniscule compared to what you've been/are going through - I feel like I'm whining.

It's one of the most life sapping experiences when everything hits at once and one doesn't have the emotional strength to cope. I have been having stomach curdling nightmares EVERY night since I had my heart attacks in Jan. I wake up in cold sweats with my heart pounding and my pulse racing at a 120. It happened again this morning minutes before I woke up. My body is quivering on the inside, I feel disoriented and disconnected, and don't know what to do - and this happens every morning. Its become so bad, that I don't feel like going to bed anymore - the thought of "getting a good nights' sleep" is absurd now. So I stay up till 4 or 5 am until my eyes can no longer stay open. I have not had a restful nights' sleep since January.

Emotionally, I'm fragile. I'm inches from breaking down and my facade of strength is eroding quickly. And all this is happening now that I'm back at work. My job involves traveling every week making presentations and 15 hour days including customer dinners. I've been back for 4 days and my calendar is filling up and I'm just dreading it. I don't know how I'm going to have the strength to carry on...my body feels physically weak, emotionally distraught, and mentally fragmented.

The cardio teams are very dismissive and I have simply stopped sharing - I'm weary of being told I'm "over sensitized to the pains in my chest". I asked my cardio if I need sleeping pills (I've never taken them before) and he said I didn't need them. I just need to relax!

I've been in a relationship for 12 years and mine has worked for about half that time. In fact he had just returned from a vacation on his own (since I had to work) when I had the heart attack. He said he was too stressed out from being laid off and needed a vacation. He hasn't worked in 6 mts, and it's not like he doesn't have the qualifications - his job title is at the Director level. A week after my heart attacks he said he wants to talk to me about possibly moving to Europe - alone - to find himself! Meanwhile, he has locked his money up in MM accts and Roth IRA's and has been living off my paychecks while I'm on sick leave. Writing this I feel so stupid and then again I just don't care anymore. If the money is gone - it's gone. And if God wants to look out for me he will....

I greatly value being able to share this with all of you. It's been bottled up and my frustration had turned to anger and there was no one in the family to lean on or share with. Even my parents were more worried about what would happen to my possessions and the transfer of my property and finances if something catastrophic happened! And they're very well off!

Sorry for the emotional data dump! I feel so worn out. You are all very kind people to listen to my petty tales of woe.






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391561_tn?1227050815
Hello, I'm Steve and welcome. I am fairly new here also, but I think you will find that it will turn out to be a fantastic decision on your part. The compassion and support herein is incredibly invaluable.
  I not only hear you, I feel your torment. I left the hospital in jan '08 with newly diag'd severe heart failure. I went in with Abdominal pain from Gall Bladder. I was devastated with what I was being told as to how bad my heart was and what was now my new reality. You sound like you may be similar to myself, whereas men are raised being taught that we must be rocks and not look for help. We have not learned to establish a support network, so when we find ourselves needing such understandably, we are at a loss. Should we not be in a strong personal relationship we are in trouble, because that is typically our only source.
  For the next few months I experienced a myriad of emotions which I believe mirror yours. They were extremely exagerated from the effect of all the new medications I was now taking. I have always considered myself a person of strong inner character, and I can sense from your writing that you possess it as well. To find ourselves in this new situation is a true challenge for us.
  I have a very bad heart, need the ICD, yada-yada...  I am beginning to come to terms with channeling this info. My initial feelings were that I was now useless, broken, defective. How was I now to be the productive man I used to be?  Hmmmm, guess what?  I still don't know. But I am learning just how deep my INNER strength is. I am doing my best to redefine myself.
  I can hear that you have a strong inner self as well. Allow yourself time to channel the vast array of emotions that you are feeling. Just do not wallow, for this is unproductive. I still have my bad days, but continually try to move in a positive direction. It is certainly not a desirable place we find ourselves, but it is our reality. It is our challenge to be the best we can, given these challenges. Life is so wonderfully precious. But it ultimately ourselves alone, who do the work needed to enjoy it's beauty, or let it pass us by.
  I am sorry to hear of your condition, but I offer you my support and care. Feel free to contact me. Wishing you well, Steve.
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302972_tn?1207684981
Hello again...first off, I can see why you have been having these "attacks" in the morning...my gosh! It seems like your schedule is crazy! I can see why you are stressed out. Let me tell you..the thing about the bf...I tell you I really know what you are going through. After 12 years with my bf, I finally broke up with him and all it took was about 3 weeks...it was the hardest thing I have went through in a long time but as of right now, he kisses my butt...sorry for that phrase...lol. He has been working and taking care of ME for once!!!! Like I said, it was not easy at all, but I found myself wrapped up in my son, my job, and just going out and doing for me finally! It felt so good!!! This may be something that you will need to eventually do. You do not need the added stress and that is how I looked at it. I kept telling myself that my bf was going to put me in my grave and I refuse to let that happen! You need to make it about you, take care of yourself...I told myself that if he really cared about me, he would not add to the stress in my life by not working or helping out at home or with our son. It is not worth it!!! But you are!!! Ugggg, god, I KNOW what you are going through!!!I am so glad that I logged into this! You just have to keep your head up and do what makes you happy and realize that you need to try to get rid of any other added stress around you! And believe me....when I went to my cardiologist and told him I needed to be but on something, I pretty much got the same response..."Why do you need that?" "Why are you so depressed or stressed out?" I felt like telling him that...hmmm...I am 27, have had a heart attack, had to stop smoking, go on this nice diet, start exercising....completely change my life around and I should not feel depressed???? lol...easy for them to say!!! Now I am venting but it feels good to!!!
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21064_tn?1309312333
I'm glad you stopped by!  I think it's so helpful to hear from other people who really understand how life altering these experiences are.  Thanks so much for sharing your story!  Sounds like you, your b/f and son are enjoying better days.  That's great!

It's great to vent and oh it can feel so good!  Have a great day!  
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Avatar_n_tn
I can only second what the others have said.  I was 53 when I had my heart attack. I had one stent put in.  About 2-3 weeks after my heart attack, I started to feel the symptons of depression.  I told my PCP and she put me on Zoloft.  The Zoloft was a big help. I was on it for about  6 months.

The other thing that help was rehab.  If your haven't gone thorugh rehab, you should ask your dr for a referral.  Rehab helped me alot. Exercising under supervision gave me a great deal of confidence.  We also had classes on nutrition, stress, and the emotional aspects of heart disease. I found the classes to be very rewarding.

You might also check to see if Mended Hearts has a chapter where you live. It's a good support group.

You have been through alot, there is no doubt about it. The main thing I would tell you is that life does get better.  Take it one day at a time.
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21064_tn?1309312333
Those are great suggestions!!  I forgot about Mended Hearts and Rehab is awesome for getting back on your feet (physically and emotionally).  You sound great; how are you doing?
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I feel pretty good.  It's been a little over 2 years. My drs are pleased with my progress.  I see my cardiologist once a year.  I take my meds. I watch my diet very carefully. I havn't had a pizza, donut or a cheeseburger since my heart attack, and I've found that I don't miss them at all. I used to smoke a pipe and quit on the guerney in the ER. I exercise every day. I still go to rehab 3 times a week and other days I go to the Y.  I walk 5 miles 4X a week at the Y.

With the meds and diet, my total cholesterol is 98, ldl 40, HDL 49 and tris are 44.

I have no chest pain or shortness of breath. My cardiologist told me that my heart attack was "large" one; my EF was 40% and is now 45%.

Although not a diabetic, I have to watch my blood sugar. I lost about 30 lbs last year learning how to watch the carbs.

All in all, I feel like a pretty lucky guy. It could have been much worse. I have a second chance and am taking full advantage.
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21064_tn?1309312333
WOW!!  You sound terrific!  I am so impressed with all that you have done to improve your lifestyle.  You're on a great program!

I went to see a rehab program with my dad awhile back and the people were so nice!  The atmosphere is comforting and very supportive. Your exercise progra is awesome!!  

I'm so glad that you have a second chance.  You seem like a great person with incredible strength!  

I love your screenname -- any particular story behind it?  

Take care and enjoy the day!
connie
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Avatar_f_tn
First - thank you for sharing. The feedback from all of you who have experienced this post-MI depression is making me see that I'm not alone in feeling so unlike my usual self.

Since I was on a biz trip when I had the heart attacks, they treated me and released me to go home after a week. No one has suggested "Rehab" even though I asked about it. They told me to just join a gym and hire a personal trainer - so that's what I did. Is this normal? If it is, no worries.

Has anyone had residual chest pains post-MI around the area of the stents? And were your nightmares related to stress or medications?

Last night I had a dream that I was watching two "tribals" fighting with swords and spears. The one with the spear stabbed the other and he lay on the ground blood pumping out - then all of a sudden I was the person on the ground with the spear in my chest. I woke to find my chest hurting, my heart was pounding and I was breathless. Is this stress?

The night before I had a dream that I entered a haunted house and a ghost was trying to strangle me. Same thing - I woke up with my chest pounding, pulse racing and weak and breathless. It's almost 3.30 am, and I'm too afraid to go to sleep again.

When I called the cardio's nurse and she laughed and said not to worry, that it was just stress.

Will the antidepressents help resolve this whole nightmare issue if it is just stress? I feel like printing out all the replies and taking them to the next appointment!

Thanks for all the support.
Chris
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21064_tn?1309312333
I have not had an MI, but I know a little about the weird dreams!  Some of my prior medications caused very weird dreams - to the point I did not want to take them.  Mine were mostly becaues of antiarrythmics.  I do have vivid dreams when I'm taking Inderal (beta blocker), but they are not the weird/creepy ones.  My dreams were not as intense as yours and did not leave me with the pounding, pulse racing feelings.  I am somewhat shocked (and a bit appalled) that the cardio nurse laughed and said not to worry, "it's just stress."  How does that make it OK?  I can totally understand your anxiety over going tosleep - I think you should phone the doctor's office again and leave a message for the doctor to return your call.  Let him know this is very disruptive and is causing increasing physical discomfort.  You absolutely need good rest and I am sure there are ways to deal with this.  You are not the first, or the last one to deal with this side effect of the MI.  Don't assume the nurse's comments would mimic those of the doctor.

Not sure if rehab is SOP, but I'd ask the cardio his opinion.  Being around other people who have faced similar circumstances can be very helpful.  If he feels your current regime is good, so be it.  But, I'd ask...Besides, rehab may actually be covered by your medical insurance plan. is often a covered medical.

Remember, these are big bumps in the road, but there are many good things beyond them.  

Connie

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Welcome Welcome Welcome!!! You will find many, many friend here!! My dad had a heart attack many almost ten years ago and all of the medications he is on make him have very bizarre dreams so you are definitely not alone there.  I have been on a small dose of beta blocker for heart rhythm issues and have very bizarre dreams as well.  Also, depression is a very common result of a heart attack.  Feeling sad and alone?  Boy can I relate to that, although for different reasons.  I am a single mother to three little boys under six years of age and I don't get any child support...I know all about feeling hopeless.  The good news is...once you kick that nasty relationship...you will feel much much happier...even all by yourself!! Being happy by yourself is much much better than being with someone and miserable.  In fact, I think that feeling lonely with someone in your own home is ten thousand times worse than regular lonely! What a lucky guy you are...you've been given a second chance at life! Heart attack at 42 and a good 42 more to go!  So what are you gonna do with those next 42 years?  I say kick that nasty relationship, join a cardiac rehab program, and get out and meet some nice new people.  Do you like dogs?  Sounds like you may need a nice early morning walking buddy and you two can get out and enjoy all the beauty that spring has to offer! Congratulations on your new start to this life and don't waste any more of it being miserable!!
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Avatar_n_tn
Your MI sounds like mine in one respect.  I was on vacation visiting relatives when mine happen. The Drs and nurses did a very good job at telling me things like rehab.  They didn't tell me about depression though.  I have read that up to 50% of heart patients will suffer from dperession during the first year.  Unfortunately, not all cardiologists are sensitive to this issue. I never understaood why since, if you are depressed, you are less likely take your meds, exercise, eat right, etc.  You may even engage in destructive behavior like smoking or too much drinking. To some cardiologist, you are just a walking heart.  Others are much better. My PCP was incredible about the whole depression.  She put me on Zoloft as soon as I told her about my symptons.

I would go for rehab route rather than a gym if at all possible. A gym can be a rather impersonal place.  Rehab has nurses and exercise physiologist who know heart patients.  They know when to encourage and when to discourage you. The classes on nutrition, stress, emotional health onhandling a heart attack were very good.

One other thing is that you with men and women who are at various stages of recovery.  From rookies just starting out to people whose MIs are years in the past.  You are among your own kind;you are all in the same boat. You are not the outsider.  It can be hard for people who have not had MIs to understand what you are going through. They mean well, but it is not just the same. You can tell the people in rehab what you are going through and they will understand.  You will meet people who had much tougher than you did (I know I did) and they survived.  You can too.  One of the most important things to learn is that your life is not over.  You can have fun again.  It takes time, but you will  get there. Just keep taking it one day at a time.

Rehab is very beneficial. From a Mayo clinic study, http://www.mayoclinic.org/news2004-rst/2399.html

"On average, for patients who participated in cardiac rehab, it was almost as if the heart attack never had happened. They had the same three-year survival as what would be expected from area residents of the same age and sex who had not suffered heart attacks,"

"Increased participation in cardiac rehabilitation could lead to improved survival among a large proportion of heart attack patients."

I would push my cadio very hard to get into rehab.  If s/he won't do it, they better have a good reason.  I would even consider getting a second opinion.
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21064_tn?1309312333
I agree with MysterChemist on the Cardiac Rehab program.  You will meet some incredible people with hearts of gold.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks again for this advice. While I've enrolled at a terrific gym, I feel I'm left to my own devices when it comes to my heart. The personal trainer takes my pulse every 10 mins to make sure I'm "in range" but has never worked with post-MI patients.

Rehab sounds like a more holistic approach from your description of the program. The gym is a rather clinical environment, and I'm simply given exercises to do and he makes sure I've got "good form", and "give me 5 more" and "you can do it"! :)

As I learn from all of you I feel there is a tremendous need for a booklet containing checklists. Things one should be looking for and asking before an event, questions during your hospital stay, and a checklist of MUST DO's before checking out of the hospital. A booklet by heart patients for heart patients, and not sponsored by a Pharma.

There seem to be sooooo many gaps in the information chain from when should I go to the ER, to side effects of meds and the pitfalls to be aware of when you return home. This could include HR issues, HIPPA issues, how to deal with family who are also emotionally exhausted, how to be your own best caregiver, etc.

So here's my story and a minor rant as my anger flares. At the outset I want to tell all of you that I am not interested in taking any legal action for my misdiagnosis. Too tired and stressed out and just want to move forward.

I was misdiagnosed a month before the actual event. Drove myself to the ER and checked myself in, following a strange band of discomfort from shoulder to shoulder. Stress test showed all was ok and they discharged me after an overnight stay, with the suggestion I may have a pinched nerve.

Met with my internist 2 weeks later and he reinforced the same diagnosis and showed me how to do standing push ups to "release" the pain when it comes. I asked him and the cardios if they need to do any MRI's or CT scans to make certain it's not the heart. I even said I'll pay for it if the Ins. co's refuse. They all reassured me that I've nothing to worry about - my heart is fine.

I must have had 80-100 angina attacks over the next month that concluded in the 3 heart attacks when I was out of town. In fact, when I had my first 2 attacks in the middle of the night that shook me out of sleep, I awoke and did the standing push-ups to relieve the "pinched nerve". And when I went into the ER, I told them I had a severe pinched brachial nerve that's badly inflamed.

When I spoke to the cardio who performed the emergency Angioplasty, he just shook his head in disbelief that I had been diagnosed with a pinched nerve. Troponin levels were at 89 (I understand that 0.04 is the baseline showing you're having heart damage)

Also asked the cardio why they didn't catch all my blockages when they did all the tests  in Dec. and he revealed one of the many dirty little secrets - that the Stress Tests are accurate about 80% of the time and if you have any anterior blockages a Stress Test could miss them. Currently he said the best test - which ins. co's do not like cardios prescribing - is the 64 slice CT scan.

Can you fathom - 1 in 5 patients doing a stress test who have anterior blockages in the LAD, could be misdiagnosed! This is not like forecasting the weather...to tell us that well you're just one of the 15-20% who didn't show up is unacceptable. But it's too late now. And I feel terrible for all who are continuing to be told they're alright based on stress tests.

I have been evangelizing this test and my colleagues are shocked. Several have been put on nitro and anti plaque meds in the last month since they have spoken to me and followed through.

There is so much I don't know, and what frustrates me and no doubt many of you is that I'm unable to ask questions about things I do not know. I did not know I would be inclined towards depression until I googled "post heart attack, depression" and found all of you on this forum. I did not know until after the heart attacks that I should have demanded a 64 slice CT scan. I did not know that the meds would play hell with my memory, emotions, hair loss, weakness, etc. And the scary part is I don't know what else I don't know.

I asked about Acupuncture as an ancillary treatment to lower stress and control BP. My cardio said that's something I will have to explore on my own. Oh well, I'm sorry that I go on every time I get online.

I dearly wish there is a better way to do a knowledge transfer of all this precious information. It petrifies me to think there are hundreds of people going through the same gauntlet as we have been through.


"So we beat on boats against the current...." The Great Gatsby
  
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I read your post with mixed emotions.  On one hand, I am appalled and saddened that you have had this experience.  On the other hand, I read your post thinking about what you have leraned and how you can make the best of it.  You have the unique opportunity of sharing first-hand knowledge so that other people may not experience what you have.  Just by telling your story here, you have empowered the next guy!  It's a lousy lesson to learn, but if you can turn it around and make something good come of it, it might lessen your burden.  

After reading your story  I was reminded of what my Dad said after he had his bypass surgery.  He felt so comforted and safe going into the procedure.  He had had angina for about 18 years and was assessed often for CAD.  When it came time to fix his arteries, he was ready to get the job done.  He met with the surgeon, was given a booklet on what to expect in the hospital, attended a hospital tour of the coronary unit and ICU; he felt prepared.  The surgeon was excellent and the staff was effecient and comforting.  After the surgery, he was in his hospital room and several people came in to discuss nutrition (it had only been a day since surgery and he doesn't even remember the discussions!).  Three days later, he left the hospital, totally unprepared for what might lie ahead of him. There was no mention of the potential for depression or mood swings or the immense fear of "what if?"  He was very frustrated at the complete lack of post-op information available.  He said they did a great job preparing him for the surgery, but left him out to dry once the "job" was done.  Patients need to know, realistically, what to expect when they got home.  He was to follow up in 4 weeks - WHAT about the time from leaving the hospital until then??

I understand your frustration.....and, I've got an idea that may help you and a lot of other people.  Would you mind sharing what you have learned (CT scan, tronopin levels, etc) and putting it into some type of format on one of the Health Pages?  Any member is free to post valuable information on the pages.  It is entirely up to you.  It could even be a checklist type of post...."What I have learned....."  

I completely agree with your thoughts on rehab versus a private gym.  The rehab facilities and staff are incredible!!  The comraderie is unbelievable!   While you are getting in some great excercise, you are not getting the emotional support you may need.

This forum reaches millions of viewers and the stage is yours!  You are empowered now and you have already made a difference in someone's life..mine!  I have seen a cardio since 1982.  I am not a CAD patient, rather a valve and arrythmia patient. so my knowledge surrounding CAD is limited to my Dad's experience and what I learn here (and on reliable medical sites).  Given my family history, I feel much more prepared on what to ask for should I be uncertain in the future.  I now know the importance of requesting a 64 slice CT opposed to a stress test for diagnosing CAD; I know something about tronopin levels; and I've been reminded of the importance of knowledge when it comes to assessing new symptoms.  I guarantee you that, besides me, someone reading your post feels more empowered because of what you have shared.  Sorry if this may sound sappy, but it's important for you to know what good has come of your experience.  Thank you!

Connie
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I can understand why you are angry after your experience. (Incidentally, anger is also a a sign of depression).  

On stress testing, I had read it is 80-85% accurate when the patient has 3 vessel disease but only 50% accurate when a single vessel is involved.

http://www.heartsite.com/html/regular_stress.html

Did they do the enzymes test on your first visit?  Just curious.  

My heart attack symptons were atypical.  I was visiting relatives and had walk to a local store to pick up some soda pop.  When I was walking back with a 12 pack,  I suddenly felt weak, tire and nauseated. I felt some tightness between the shoulder blades.  I walk home, and felt a bit better.  At first I thought it was the flu, but since symptons went away, I thought I had a pinched nerve or had pulled a muscle. I remember wondering if it was heart attack but I dismissed it because I had no pain or tightness in the chest, jaw, or arm. I remember walking up and down the stairs with no additional pain. I just has a small feeling of discomfort or tightness between my shoulder blades.  Two days later, I went to the ER because I wasn't sleeping well as I couldn't get comfortable. They Xray my shoulders and found nothing wrong. One of the doctors thought it would be good to do a EKG since I was over 50.  They ran the EKG, the technican left very suddenly muttering about starting an IV, and then my cubicle filled up with Drs and nurses sticking IVs in me. I ask what was happening and they said I was having a heart attack.

I have wondered what would have happened if I had gone to the hospital sooner. My heart was damaged. If I had gone sooner, would I have had less damaged? What if I had eaten better, gotten more exercise, stopped smoking sooner, etc. I finally decided to stop kicking myself. It was all water under the bridge. What counted was what I did from this point forward.   (I am not suggesting you should take this approach. You had a really bad experience. I am only saying what worked for me.)

I have read that 30% of heart attacks are silent;they have no symptons. They are only discovered later, when the patient has an EKG.

You might also explore Yoga as way to reduce stress and BP.

Best of luck! Keep posting to let us know how you are doing.  You are not alone in this. It will get better with time.
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Just felt like talking again...lol.
I am scheduled to go see my cardiologist in a couple of weeks because I have not been to him in a year. I know it will be time for a stress test which always ends in a cardiac cath because they always see the damaged part of my heart and think that my stent is blocked. Ugggg...I hate this time of year, supposed to be fun and nice with the nice weather coming and all but I know that I will be laying in that bed soon. Do you ever feel like you just hate to go to the doctor because everytime you do, they find something wrong with y ou???? I know, when I had my heart attack, I woke up that day and I remember having this feeling between my shoulder blades like I was hit with something, but I put it off thinking I just slept wrong. As the day went by, I started experiencing pain in my chest I thought was just heartburn...then it just got worse and I starting vomitting and then my arms were really weak. I had my boyfriend take me to the hospital and told him to take my son to his aunt's house because the hospital waiting room was full, well little did I know, within 10 minutes of being there was thrown in a trauma room with all of these people running in, sticking me with needles, doing xrays, throwning oxygen on me and telling me I was being taken to the cath lab emergently...well I was hysterical because no one was there with me and I knew I was going to die and no one would even know!!! It was something like you saw in the movies! It just scares me because I have chest pain sometimes, but I also have panic attacks, when do you know when to go to the hospital??? You don't want to run there for everything!!! Of course if I have pains, it is always on my left side-go figure! Ok, just venting again and sharing my story and to let everyone know I am worried about going to my cardiologist!  
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Hi, I have a very bad heart,,had a triple by-pass 3 years ago,,1/2 years ago I have 2 stents put in my heart  because I was blocked  again  ,,I have CADS ,  well  3
  weeks ago my Bp went thur the roof,,went to  hospital  and was told  the 2 stent,s were blocked  and I have 3 more blocked arterys besides that, well they fixed them
and since  I have been depressed a lot,,I,m 62  and I guess  they donot think we
  get depressed, but let my tell you  everyone that goes thur what we have does get
depressed  because of the unknown,,well the  Dr,,put me on Xanex  and it really does
help,  tell your DR you need something and i promise you will feel a lot better
been thur this for about 3 years now and Iknow it will happen,  so we have to want
tostay,maybe there is someone on here only you can save,never know but you are still
here for a reason and we are here for you,,,you will not be alone again,we are your
friend,s.
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Just know that when people have depression after a heart attack or heart surgery, the cause is physical.  The heart is involved in modulating emotions, so when the heart is physically wounded, it has trouble doing its job.  As the heart recovers, your ability to cope and maintain a good emotional balance will recover also.  In the meantime, counseling and the other resources mentioned above can help.  I hate to tell you that "things will get better," but ... more than likely, things will get better.  You just gotta hang in there, do the best you can while times are hard, don't do self-destructive things that make the situation worse, and -- this too shall pass.  It might take a year before all of your physical systems get back to normal.  The length of time for recovery is different for everybody, but three months is not that long.
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