After a little hiatus, I am back blogging about my experiences in nursing school. The last week and a half have been absolutely crazy! Last week my Dad experienced a heart attack. For those of you in the Nursing/Health profession, the more accurate term is Acute Myocardial infarction. He had been experiencing angina for a few days, but was not alarmed because he had felt this pain before. Of course, I was really worried about him and urged him quite insistently to go to the hospital (I tend to be a little bit of an alarmist because of school right now- a good thing this time!!!). As it turned out, Dads pain was getting progressively worse and was actually changing from stable to unstable angina. Apparently, and unknown to me, he had been experiencing some stable angina for some time and attributed this new bought of pain to problems with his CPAP machine. When the pain was finally too much to bear, he decided to go to the hospital- and just in time because he was actually experiencing the infarction when he arrived. The medical team put him on a thrombolytic TNK- which, from my understanding, breaks up the clot to restore coronary blood flow to the myocardium. It was amazing, after the administration of TNK he felt loads better and was resting comfortably for the next day or so. The doctors decided to do an angiogram to locate the occlusion and then performed angioplasty to open the occlusion and stabilize the artery with a stent. I live 2 ½ hours out of town so by the time I got down to see him the procedure was done and he was resting with a 10pound weight on his groin to prevent bleeding at the femoral artery access site. Dad has since gone home and is feeling good- he even seems to have more colour in his face! It has been a scary couple of days! To top it all off- we are studying the pathophysiology of cardiac problems and MI at school. One of my teachers told me to stop “living out the lessons”. I agreed! :)
Everyone should know this- and please don’t diagnose yourself or shrug it off based on this information- SEEK PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL HELP IMMEDIATELY!
Patient Presentation of Acute MI (Emedicine.com) READ THIS IT’S A GREAT READ FOR MEDICAL/NURSING STUDENTS.
There are two types of Angina:
Stable: Chest pain with a typical pattern- often induced by overexertion and alleviated by rest.
Unstable: Chest pain that is unexpected- resting or taking nitoglycerin may not help. This is characterized by pain getting worse, lasting longer, happening more often or occurring at rest.
Signs and Symptoms:
Most common = severe chest pain
Many people describe the pain as: discomfort, pressure, squeezing or heaviness in the chest; also look for the patient making a fist to their chest to describe the pain. Pain may often present as a spreading down the left shoulder and arm or other areas such as the back, jaw, neck or right arm.
People often experience these symptoms as well:
- Pain in the upper belly- often thought to be just heartburn
- Nausea and vomiting
- Trouble breathing or Shortness of breath
- A feeling that the heart is racing or pounding (palpitations
- Feeling weak or very tired
- Feeling dizzy or fainting
All of this information is taken from WEBMD and I encourage you to read the full article- which is far more in-depth.