The post about my Heart Alert brought many questions on Facebook and behind the scenes – something that delights me because this is an important conversation about a serious women’s health issue that needs to be talked about. Here are the Questions and my Answers:
Q: How long did the diarrhea and nausea last?
A: Less than 5 minutes. It was like my body was stepping up its efforts to get my attention and get me moving toward help.
Q: Did you have any other warnings or was this the first and only clue that something was amiss?
A: There was an episode of the uncomfortable stretching sensation that woke me up 3 nights prior. I breathed my way through it and went back to sleep. Not one of the smartest things I’ve ever done, that’s for sure.
Q: In the comments on Facebook, Dana Boyle LaPointe asked this good question: Can you describe the stretching sensation . . . location? Anything else?
A: The uncomfortable stretching sensation was in the hollowed-out place at the base of my throat. (Where’s that World Book Encyclopedia with the overlays of the human body when you need it?!) It wasn’t on the left side of my chest where I put my hands when sending love to someone, and no pain or discomfort radiated down my arms. The discomfort remained localized at the base of my throat. You know those resistance bands used in fitness workouts? It felt like that. . . like 2 hands were pulling in opposite directions at whatever is in this place in my body. (Research ahead!)
Q: Did you go to Cardiac Rehab?
A: Yes, though I didn’t stay long. When I hadn’t heard from them in a month after my Heart Alert, I reached out to them. The hospital had given them an incorrect phone number for me. I signed up, went to orientation, and show up at the hospital’s gym, ready to go. I danced – I literally danced – my laps that day, so happy was I to be moving forward. I’d been afraid to walk (10,000 to 12,500 steps a day) or dance (every night at bedtime The Engineer and I dance to “Could I Have This Dance” by Anne Murray.) because nobody talked with me about whether I should walk or gallop back into my life. I asked the people supervising Cardiac Rehab and the head of the hospital’s fitness department for parameters: how much could I walk? What was considered a low blood pressure? High blood pressure? Any particular sensations I should be aware of should they appear? What was a good resting heart rate, and what was an alarming heart rate? I got no answers. I asked the cardiologist who directed me to ask them. Because it took us about 40 minutes to get to the hospital, because The Engineer had to tend to Baby Ava for an hour by himself, because I couldn’t figure out what the goal was for me and my recovery, and because we have a well-equipped fitness room at home (complete with treatmill, which is all there were having me do there – walk), I turned in my notice. I was gracious about it, explaining to them what I just told you, and thanked them for being there. I got no response. None at all. I have talked with others who went to Cardiac Rehab in different states, and most of their experiences were drastically different, and they recommended I find another Cardiac Rehab (there is none here).
Q: Of course I couldn’t close this post without sharing the question every member of my family – daughter Alison, son Kipp, daughter-in-love Marnie, and The Engineer each asked me in one form or another (after a respectful amount of time, of course): Did you see St. Peter? How ‘bout Lucifer?
A: Yes, these clowns are my precious family, and I adore them! Truthfully, it never crossed my mind that I might die. Not once. It has definitely changed the way I live, but the notion that I could’ve died didn’t land for a very long time, I guess because there was too much going on!
If you have questions, ask away! You can post them here in the comments, on Facebook, on Instagram (I’ll be posting there tomorrow. Some people don’t like seeing posts on FB and IG at the same time.) And you can always email me: whollyjeanne (at) gmail (dot) com
Appreciate y’all so much.