Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Share a survival experience with us and explain what you learned from it. You might help someone.

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Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by ninja-elbow » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:16 am

That aspirin thing works!

Last Thursday I had just got to my desk at work at the office. Sat down, sipped coffee, said good morning to my coworker Mike... normal stuff at 8AM. Another coworker I support came by my desk and dropped off some work for me. I turned around to say good morning and she did not look well. She's been very busy with some transactions lately and also has had a cold for a few weeks. She is older too and a legal assistant to one of our founding partners.

Me: "Are you OK? You look like that cold came back."
Her: "I don't feel well but "mr. lawyer" is closing on this deal today."
Me: "OK, I'll get these to you in a few minutes."

I get the mini project done in 5 minutes and go to take the stuff back to her desk. She is face down on her desk. I nudge her and she sits up.

Me: "Are you sure you're OK?"
Her: "I'm not feeling well, this whole morning. It's that cold. I'm going home at 10."
Me: "OooKaaayyy.... if you need anything, ask me."

BTW - I am a floor safety chair. I am on the Safety Committee and the firm pays for my first aid training. I also advise on security issues and act as a liason between us and the building mangement when it comes to safety and security.

She looked pale but was not sweaty and completley responsive. She's an honary cuss too. She hates attention (as do I) at the office. We get along.

5 minutes alter she's back at my desk dropping off more work. I get it done and go back to her desk again, she is head down again but pops up when I come around the corner.

Me: "Ms. Legal Assistant - if you are not feeling well just go. I'm worried."
Her: "Shut up Gabe, I'm going home at 10. It's just that stupid cold everyone has and I can't get rid of it."
Me: "Okay then, I'm right around the corner."

I get back to my desk and tell Mike about it all. We decide to check on her every few minutes. We make no calls yet.

5 minutes after that another coworker, Karen, comes by me and Mike's desk and says, "I think we need to call HR about Ms. Legal Assistant, she loos real bad." I pop around the corner and see her standing in front of her desk rubbing her left shoulder.

Her: "My back and my shoulder hurt real bad from all that coughing I'm doing."
Me: "Have you taken and aspirin?"
Her: "We don't have any aspirin in the first aid kit, we only have that damn ibuprofen."
Me: "Yes we do... I'm getting it. Should we call an ambulance?"
Her: "For what? I just have a bad cold."

I tell Karen and Mike to call HR and get them up here ASAP and get ready to call an ambulance. I run off to the kitcehn to the first aid kit and the defibrulator thing we have and I am trained on. It sounds like a heart attack to me. We do have aspirin, it is a major ingredient in the named OTC "Pain Aid", it even says so on the packaging "ASPIRIN". I grab the box, the defribulator thing, and a glass of water and head back to her desk. When I get there Karen is talkign to Ms. LA and she is sitting and talking on the phone to her husband and on her cell phone to a nurse at her doctor's office. I can hear her nurse telling her to et an ambulance. I show her on the box of Pain Aid where it says aspirin and, almost, shove some down her throat.

"Do me a favor and rub the middle of my back for me, it'll make it feel better." she asks me. I do that as she is on the phone. HR director and assistant show up. Karen gives them the goods and HR is all, "Call an ambulance." Ms. LA exclaims how she is so embarrased and dosen't want all the attention nor an ambulance. As I am in physical contact with her I can feel her pulse going fine. She's got some rattling going on in her chest when she breathes but she is not clammy or sweating. She is 100% responsive, even laughing and bitching which is normal for her. She thanks me for rubbing her back and I hand her off to the HR folks after I tell them what I did. An ambulance IS called but Ms. LA wants to meet them down on the street and not have them come up to the floor and in the office. HR obliges her and goes down to he street to wait for her transport. This whole thing was done by 8:20 AM, I had been at work for 20 minutes.

The rest of the day goes by normal. We get no word on Ms. LA's condition. Friday morning I see one of the floaters covering her desk and I ask if she had heard anything. She told me the report yesterday night was she was in the hospital with pneumonia. I'm thinking how glad I am it was not a heart attack. 30 minutes later one of the paralegals, who is also a close friend of Ms. LA's, comes to my desk.

Para: "So, I hear you're a big hero."
Me: "For what?"
Para: "She had a heart attack. Her husband just called me. Her doctor said that whoever gave her the aspirin made the difference. You gave her the aspirin, right?"
Me: "Are you sure? I heard it was just pneumonia."
Para: "She had that too."
Me: "Both?! Holy shit. Naw, I'm a floor safety guy, just did what the Red Cross taught me to do."
Para: "Well, we're all pretty grateful. Good job."
Me: "Thanks. No big deal. I'm like her that way. No attention."

The whole rest of the day was people in the office telling me good job. I honestly don't want the attention, I had work to do. The thing I pulled from it is:
1) Aspirin works
2) Know your gear - like Pain Aid is aspirin
3) I don't want a heart attack, so I'm getting a tread mill and/or bike this spring :)
4) Be calm, get the job done, freak out later
5) I don't like attention like that

I really need to lose some weight too. My last check up was good - got the usual "quit smoking and lose weight" though my cholesterol was good and such. I know I am lucky as half of my peers in my age group with similiar lifestyles all are diagnosed with something. So far I am the only one that has not got "the sugars" or a heart attack (or any of the liver/kidney issues my hard-life peers all have now). My number is up though. The other half of my peers HAVE lost weight and are doing well. I have one friend that has been in seclusion for 3 years - he lost 200 pounds (gastric by-pass). He's looking great now and is in a relationship.
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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by lowjohn19 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:27 am

Good job, and good take aways. Potential cardiac issues are pretty scary. My last job, I had about 10 employees over 5 years deal with chest pains etc. I always gave them asprin (per training), retrieved the aed (just in case), and had someone call the ambulance (whether they liked it or not). I'd much rather have them be ok and argue with an EMT than dead and unembarrassed. Again good job, and thanks for posting.

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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by wee drop o' bush » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:30 am

Good going :clap:
You handled that really well!

Two years ago my father in-law-was in hospital the night before a hip replacement. Almost fully prepped and ready to go first thing the next morning. The anaesthetist comes round for his last consultation, does a routine Electrocardiogram and finds a problem not there previously. The whole op was cancelled pending further cardiac investigation. Turns out my father-in-law had just gotten over a bad cold and according to the cardiac specialist that was what had done the cardiac damage. The specialist told him that Colds, influenza etc can have a seriously adverse effect on the heart. Who'd have guessed :?

Your colleagues pneumonia probably had something to do with her heart attack. disclaimer I know a lot more about sheep than I do about Cardiology.

Edit: my dad 'has the sugars' and takes BP Meds, statins and aspirin. Ditto for me but as yet no aspirin.
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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by spanningtree » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:44 am

Great job! Thats also some sound advice at the end. I have had very high blood pressure a couple of times whilst sick, the effect of the aspirin is very immediate. I carry aspirin in my BOB as well as all over the house/car(s). I second the weight loss also... time to come of hibernation this spring with a plan. :crazy:

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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by majorhavoc » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:48 am

Thanks for sharing NE, but mostly: bravo, sir. BRAVO! :clap: :clap: :clap:

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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by Dawgboy » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:48 am

I'm sure you don't want to hear it, but great job of paying attention. You probably did stop a clot forming.

A little more food for thought on aspirin: http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/1 ... ?hpt=he_c2

I take a baby aspirin every day.
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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by ninja-elbow » Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:52 pm

Just got word, she is at her beach house (her husband and her own a home on the Oregon Coast) resting after getting released. Doctors installed some thing in her chest - forgot what it was. She says she only needs a week off but her attorney, whom she assists, told her to take 2 weeks off. I can hear him in his office on the phone arguing with her now. :clap:
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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by ninja-elbow » Mon Mar 11, 2013 12:56 pm

Dawgboy wrote:I'm sure you don't want to hear it, but great job of paying attention. You probably did stop a clot forming.

A little more food for thought on aspirin: http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2013/03/1 ... ?hpt=he_c2

I take a baby aspirin every day.
I tend to prefer aspirin over ibuprofen as it works better for my pain relief needs. When I get a cold it works good too to help reduce/regulate my temperature.
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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by CarolinaPeach » Mon Mar 11, 2013 1:25 pm

I know you don't want praise but you were observant and you acted. A job well done.



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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by bacpacjac » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:05 pm

majorhavoc wrote:Thanks for sharing NE, but mostly: bravo, sir. BRAVO! :clap: :clap: :clap:
Ditto! Way to go, Ninja, on all counts!!
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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by Boondock » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:32 pm

Most of my FAK's contain a few aspirin specifically for heart attacks.

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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by Ike » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:36 pm

Awesome job! My grandpa (3 open heard and one pace maker surgery) just saved my grandma the same way. Hers was so bad they had to place three stints.

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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by ZombieGranny » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:36 pm

That was a good result, but how did you know the aspirin wouldn't make it worse?

Not trying to pick a fight, it's an honest question from a lay-person.
Being an old lady I know they warn people not to just start taking it unless the doctor tells them to.
Myself, I would have to balance my stomach problem with the heart problem and see which was worse I guess.
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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by Ike » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:38 pm

I would say if your stomach problem isn't life threatening and your displaying the signs of a heart attack. The benefits out weigh the cost.

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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by Vicarious_Lee » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:07 pm

ZombieGranny wrote:That was a good result, but how did you know the aspirin wouldn't make it worse?

Not trying to pick a fight, it's an honest question from a lay-person.
Being an old lady I know they warn people not to just start taking it unless the doctor tells them to.
Myself, I would have to balance my stomach problem with the heart problem and see which was worse I guess.
Heart attack is almost always worse, but.....It's one of those "buy the ticket, take the ride" type of things. With cardiac problems, aspirin almost ALWAYS helps, but what if she was bleeding somewhere or had an aneurysm? You can't tell, except to watch the signs and symptoms.

Also, if you got it, MONA (morphine, oxygen, nitrates, aspirin). Wouldn't ever use nitrates on someone I just found at a mall, but if someone was having typical chest pain, I'd throw some 02 and opiates at them while waiting for the ambulance.

In the ER, when they're hooked up and evidence can be gathered more quickly, they then usually throw on a beta blocker and even a statin (like for cholesterol). However, you need some good monitoring to make sure your beta blocker is only reducing myocardial demand, and not so much it's decreasing blood supply further.

Good going, ninja-elbow. :clap:
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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by hestenet » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:34 pm

Providing an awesome example of practical preparedness in a situation much more concrete than what we often think of ourselves as prepping for.

Thanks for sharing!

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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by ninja-elbow » Mon Mar 11, 2013 3:39 pm

I don't know - but I was trained to do so by the Red Cross and I do know that she was coherent enough that if she had the small chance of getting killed by Aspirin she would have told me. She had already told me she did not want an ambulance, she had a bad cold, we did not have aspirin in the first aid kit, her back/chest/left shoulder pain was from all the coughing she had been doing the last 2 weeks, she was going home at 10AM, she was fine, she did not feel well on the train that morning, ... very coherent and quite normal in the grand scheme of things for her. Furthermore - she took the aspirin after I had showed her the box of Pain Aid and gave her my "authoritative" look. I'm no martyr but I will always take that risk. So, if a person has all the symptoms of a heart attack and physically takes the Aspirin offered, and does not refuse on grounds of some kind of sensitivity... I'm all good with that. 99% of the time the Aspirin cannot be worse than the heart attack.

Also just learned she had a stent installed. I didn't know what that was so I looked it up and my wife told me over text.
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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by TEC9man » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:41 pm

Last September I came home from dialysis. I ate lunch and then laid don on my bed as I wasn't feeling good. My heart started racing and it felt like someone hit me in the back with a baseball bat. My BP was okay but my heart rate was 160+. We called my Dr's office. His assistant said to call 911 and go to the ER. I'm glad I did as I had a heart attack. Due to my taking steroids for my liver transplant caused my arteries to be bad. They could only fix 2 of the 5 blockages. Heart Dr. says I'm doing fine now.
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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by BattleVersion » Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:36 pm

You did good N-E.

My Uncle (46yo) was having "bad heart burn" for a few days.
He didn't have insurance and refused to go to the hospital.
When he finally told my aunt to call 911, he fell over dead moments later.
His funeral was today.
I share this only for those that might want to wait and see if it gets better.
Or don't want to upset the person displaying the symptoms.
Call 911.
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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by RoneKiln » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:44 pm

ZombieGranny wrote:That was a good result, but how did you know the aspirin wouldn't make it worse?

Not trying to pick a fight, it's an honest question from a lay-person.
Being an old lady I know they warn people not to just start taking it unless the doctor tells them to.
Myself, I would have to balance my stomach problem with the heart problem and see which was worse I guess.
Most threats from asprin that make them recommend talking to your Dr before using has to do with long term regular use. Asprin can really mess you up when combined with certain health ailments and taken every day. For short term use though, the odds are pretty low that it could cause serious harm. So you're really just playing the odds.

My Mom is one of those exceptions. If we suspected she was having a heart attack, we'd be far better off giving her alcohol than asprin.
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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by RoneKiln » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:51 pm

BattleVersion wrote:You did good N-E.

My Uncle (46yo) was having "bad heart burn" for a few days.
He didn't have insurance and refused to go to the hospital.
When he finally told my aunt to call 911, he fell over dead moments later.
His funeral was today.
I share this only for those that might want to wait and see if it gets better.
Or don't want to upset the person displaying the symptoms.
Call 911.
My empathy and condolences. I had a great uncle discover the heart burn he'd occasionally had over the years had also been heart attacks. His heart was a wreck by the time they found out. Oddly enough, cancer made it a nonissue for him.
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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by azrael99 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 8:11 pm

seriously good work there , that prove that knowing his gear and be alert and be trained is worth it weight in gold

without be as bad as a hearth attack, my first aid training saved my life when i had that laceration at my wrist, it was 4 inch long for 1 inch deep. i had that cut at my wrist and without thinking i runned to the bathroom, got the paper toilet roll, wrapped my wrist with it, got the duc tape in the closet in the room, wrap it around my wrist, got the paper again, did a ball with it, putted it in my hand, squeezed it then wrapped it with the duc tape, got my coat and my key then drove to the hospital 1km near me. all that with one hand available.

what saved me was i did as you said:

- Know your gear
-Be calm, get the job done, freak out later

that and my first aid training

after that i realized that i didn't had a proper first aid kit, the next week i bought a full kit at the drug store.
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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by ninja-elbow » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:07 pm

She came back to work today after a week and a half. She gave me a big hug and told me where I could find her nitro pills incase I need to help her again. I was glad to see her.
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Re: Heart attacks, aspirin and a small saga, reality check

Post by azrael99 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:08 pm

good work again

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