My short bio: I am 55 year old retired male living in Long Beach, CA.

My Proof:

Comments: 1592 • Responses: 103  • Date: 

tuneart967 karma

Did you experience any of the initial signs? If so, what did you feel.

iconoclast631073 karma

Just persistent chest pains combined with a terrible pain in my jaw.

tuneart684 karma

Thanks for your reply mate, I always get paranoid when I get slight chest pains which turn out to be nothing. I'm sure there's a name for it.

iconoclast63951 karma

I would have never taken it seriously until I checked my blood pressure. I thought it was a panic attack, as my brother had died the previous day. But luckily the VA provided me with a fancy blood pressure monitor so I checked it just in case.

thehazzanator715 karma

So sorry to hear about your brother

iconoclast63353 karma


beacoupmovement124 karma

So your bro does the day before you had a heart attack!? I’d say it was partially stress related.

iconoclast63133 karma

Perhaps. The doctors were very interested in that story while I was there. They asked a million questions about everything.

pugglez80 karma

So the pain in your chest or jaw wasn't worrisome enough to get you to the ED? Interesting. What was your blood pressure? Any cold sweats or nausea?

iconoclast63163 karma

Some cold sweats and slight nausea. Checking my blood pressure was the final straw. I tried to tough it out at first.

JollyCoOptimus7 karma

What did the blood pressure reading say?

iconoclast6324 karma

The highest I saw as 210/135

Rosiebelleann12 karma

My condolences and as well, wishes for continued good health for yourself.

iconoclast6313 karma

Thank you.

astinog6 karma

Can I ask you what the values were?

iconoclast6318 karma


TheJakeRockz13 karma

Have you ever experienced those chest or jaw pains before ? Together or separately and were they to that severity if so ?

iconoclast6321 karma

Chest pressure, yes, jaw pain like that? NEVER.

Guy_Fieris_Hair11 karma

Was it obvious what it was? Its always my fear that I will shrug it off.

iconoclast6330 karma

You will NOT shrug it off. It wasn't obvious what it was but it was VERY obviously something.

tintin_0078 karma

Were your eye sights clear or you were seeing everything blurry?

iconoclast6319 karma

Eyesight was fine.

GodzillazAnus7 karma

Were they sharp, quick stabs of pain or a pressure sensation lasting for seconds?

iconoclast6310 karma

No .. it was steady and unrelenting.

suicidalgoat333 karma

I have very bad anxiety and I convince myself that I am having a heart attack 2-3 times a week which my doctor has prescribed as severe acid reflux.

Would you say a heart attack and acid reflux share the same symptoms in some respects or would you say there’s a significant correlation between the two?

Asking for my own peace of mind but I’m glad you’re okay buddy!

Edit: a word

iconoclast63267 karma

I've never had acid reflux but I did learn from this experience that you can't almost have a heart attack. There are clear signs on your EKG as well as enzymes that show up in your blood work that make it certain.

You should get a blood pressure monitor.

monsooncloudburst263 karma

How much did it cost in the end?

iconoclast63823 karma

I am a disabled Vet. my health care is free.

razta96251 karma

God bless. Happy you are okay.

iconoclast63141 karma


mountainjew152 karma

Veterinarians get free health care? Weird.

iconoclast63405 karma

PETA pays for it.

rubidoux9 karma

How do you find the VA healthcare when it comes to major surgeries? I've heard horror stories regarding major operations, and I've had a couple issues of my own with them over the years.

How long were you in patient before your discharge? Cali has some of the best nursing laws, did you find the quality of care satisfactory, and how would you compare it to other healthcare facilities, VA and outside network (if you have recent experience)?

Hope your follow ups go well!

iconoclast6319 karma

I am very happy with the VA.

Brambo111263 karma

What went through your mind when you got the heart attack?

Also, maybe you should cover your last name and/or part of your date of birth.

iconoclast63215 karma

I thought I did. Dangit.

lrm_m253 karma

What were your immediate thoughts, if any, during the heart attack?

Hope you're okay :)

iconoclast63435 karma

Honestly I had no idea what was happening. I was overwhelmed by a VERY bad feeling but couldn't put my finger on it. Luckily I have a blood pressure cuff and thought to take my blood pressure and the numbers were off the charts, 200/130ish .... seeing that I immediately went to the ER.

iconoclast6369 karma

I didn't concede it was an actual heart attack until the ER doctors confirmed it and by then I was on my way to surgery.

Notatumor199027 karma

Did you get surgery or stents? I'd be surprised if they didnt at least attempt stenting.

iconoclast6344 karma

I was immediately rushed to the cath lab where they attempted, unsuccessfully, to place a stent.

Notatumor199024 karma

Ah. Yea saw that comment further down. I remember watching cath try to stent a guy and they couldnt get him stented. Unfortunately the hospital couldnt do open heart so he got sent out on ecmo.

iconoclast6330 karma

The cardio doc decided medication would suffice in my case.

Chadbbad1110 karma

That is just what they say when they can’t fix it, they don’t have any other options, occluded vessels can’t be bypassed.Presumably you had a portion of your heart wall not getting blood, they weren’t able to open it, now that tissue will die. I imagine they kept you in the hospital for your infarct to end. your pumping function, known as your ejection fraction will take a hit. Normal is 60%, it is likely that it was reduced to 30 or 40%, if it’s below 20% it warrants an insertable defibrillator because you are much more likely to have an arrhythmia. Even if you did have a reduction in your EF, it is likely to bounce back, and the requirements are that you take medicines for three months I think, to see if it does come back before doctors are allowed to put in the ICD.

If the doctor wasn’t able to fix the blockage, it tells me the disease is very advanced, you may have highly calcified vessels which makes delivering a stent very hard. Or you have so many blockages that one stent won’t cut it, or it’s too complicated and might damage other vessels.

Dr sometime sugarcoat their findings. “Yeah you had a heart attack, but we weren’t able to get it open, we are going to put you on some meds, you will be fine.” But the reality is, you have heart disease, now maybe heart failure, more chances of arrhythmias that cause death, likely atherosclerotic disease in your carotids and brain that can cause stroke, and everywhere in your body that can give you problems. I am not a doctor but I have assisted in the same procedure you had over 8,000 times. I will tell you that even one cigarette can cause you to have another heart attack. Every time you smoke your vessels constrict, that’s what gives you that lightheaded feeling, or used to. This constriction can release plaque from your vessel wall, and cause a heart attack.

Next time you see your cardiologist, ask him what your EF is, ask him to write down any blockage you have over 20%, which vessel and where it is. One will be 100%. Ask him what other preventative tests we can do for finding atherosclerosis in other parts of my body. Good luck and take care of yourself.

iconoclast6384 karma

A sobering, yet informative response. I posted my situation on r/askdoc right when I got home hoping to see a comprehensive answer like this but unfortunately no one commented.


mais2six116 karma

I lost my dad at 55 to a massive heart attack, thank you for sharing your experience. He was overweight and a 2 pack a day smoker. I always wondered if it happened so fast and he died pretty quick or if he was in pain and suffered? Your ama has really helped clarify the pain you felt, I wish I could have been there to get him to the ER. Thank god you are ok best of luck with what you do next, enjoy every second of family time because I'm sure they would miss you if you left them.

iconoclast6331 karma

Thank you!!

justplaneben114 karma

I got prescribed adderall, and within about a week I convinced myself I was having a heart attack. Chest pain and all. However, eventually I talked myself into realizing it was a panic attack and not an actual heart attack. What were your go to signs that made you confident in your decision to seek out a doctor?

iconoclast63100 karma

Blood pressure in the red zone. I checked WebMD and the chart there instructed me to seek emergency medical attention.

shaokim107 karma

Out of the 5 classical risk factors (age, sex, smoking, hypertension, diabetes), which ones do you have?

Is there any talk of chronic heart failure? What's your post-infarction LV ejection fraction?

Sorry, I'm more into the technical stuff.

iconoclast63108 karma

Age (55)? Hypertension and smoking. I still have follow up appointments next week because they didn't provide any of that information. I will ask though.

RakNoel64 karma

Are you planning to quit smoking because of this?

iconoclast63133 karma

Planning to try.

jeanvaljean_24601198 karma

Best of luck with your recovery and with becoming a non smoker. Can I offer two suggestions?

  1. Get "Alen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking"
  2. Subscribe to r/stopsmoking

I started smoking at 14. I smoked 10-15 cigarettes a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less.

About 5 years ago I get this weird pain. Started in my jaw and moved to my chest. I thought it was a heart attack... but it passed after about 3 minutes. I look it up online, and it said that the pain was most probably 'stress induced', but tobacco was definitely a factor. 6 months later it happens again. Then again. I had heard about Allen Carr. I downloaded the book. It stayed there, unread, until that weird pain happened for the fourth time. I started reading the next day.

I was 'relieved' that the first instruction in the book is keep smoking until you're done. I took a while to read this small book, ironically because I only read it while smoking. Halfway through the book, smoking started to be a chore. Something that I HAD to do, not something that I enjoyed doing. I made it a point to only read while smoking to make that lesson stick.

The last day I smoked I smoked 4 cigarettes. They all tasted like shit. It felt so satisfying to read that last page, smoke that last cigarette (only half of it) and throw it away with my lighter.

I got cravings, sure. But the book teaches you how to deal with them, how to play the mental game of quitting.

BTW, I quit 1,251 days ago. I have not had that weird pain since I quit smoking.

iconoclast6337 karma

Upvoted, thanks!

bagofrainbows2 karma

It’s not perfect, but switch to a vape like Juul and then quit. Fucking walk in the park compared to cold turkey.

iconoclast632 karma

In conversations with my daughters, who both used this method, that is where I plan to start.

bagofrainbows2 karma

Legit took me two days to switch over. Took my friend one session of using it. And they have lower nicotine pods now, so it’s easier to “step down” in a way. Godspeed bud.

iconoclast632 karma


RakNoel1 karma

Then I wish you the best of luck.

If you keep loosing the battle a family member had great success with vaping.

iconoclast631 karma

That's my first step in trying to quit.

DocCannery8495 karma

Are you prepared for the fifty percent chance of depression?

iconoclast63152 karma

I wasn't aware of this. I don't feel depressed at all, rather I feel very lucky to have survived.

keepforgettingpass1434 karma

What did the attack feel like?

iconoclast6351 karma

It felt almost like a panic attack but with chest pressure and jaw pain and it would NOT stop.

Lukealloneword33 karma

What branch did you serve in? (Im a USMC Afghan war vet. Hope that heart gets its shit together for you brother.)

iconoclast6340 karma

USMC early 80's.

King-Boss-Bob27 karma

You know how they say that there are signs of an incoming heart attack? Is that true?

iconoclast6327 karma

I didn't notice any signs. Just a terrible pain set in and wouldn't stop.

King-Boss-Bob5 karma

Damn that’s though

Are you ok now?

iconoclast6317 karma

It started about 30 hours ago but thanks to some great medical care I feel normal again.

King-Boss-Bob6 karma

That’s great I’m really happy for you!

I hope your health continues to get better

iconoclast636 karma

Thank you!

Red_Brick_Builder16 karma

How is your weight and do you exercise regularly?

Thank you for answering questions as it is educational. You may be saving others’ lives.

iconoclast6313 karma

I'm a little overweight and I don't exercise much as I had been advised by my doctor to keep exercise at a minimum.

ba_boom16 karma

What went through your head while you were having the heart attack? Also, did your life flash before your eyes/religious experience?

iconoclast6329 karma

No. I never felt like I was dying.

NewGuyToReddit13 karma

Glad you made it out OK! A little of topic but what did you do for a living to be able to retire at 55?

iconoclast6314 karma

Disable veteran.

Venger1013 karma

Was it as painfully as people say? Some people say the pain is so bad it cripples them.

iconoclast6316 karma

It was definitely a debilitating pain, but I could still walk and talk.

BaidDSB11 karma

Has there any ban on Alcohol consumption from the doctors?

iconoclast6313 karma

Nope. They never even brought it up.

iconoclast639 karma

I've been at this for 5 hours now and need to take a break. I will check back in a little while.

theonewhoknocks__8 karma

is this a lifestyle change? and if so how?

iconoclast6335 karma

I'm going to try to quit smoking and eat better.

Captspiff146 karma

In light of your (very) recent experience, what’s your thoughts on the idea that heart attacks are nearly all preventable? I liked a doctor (forget his name) who said: “I don’t mind the idea that one day I’m going to die, but I’d prefer it to not be my fault.” Would you ever consider a Dr. Esselstyn, Engine 2, or Forks Over Knives diet?

iconoclast636 karma

I've never heard of those diets but rest assured, I will be looking more closely at diet, lifestyle, etc ... from now on.

Captspiff144 karma

Excellent. Just know, even as an internet stranger, we’re all glad you survived it and are here with us sharing your story. You’ve got a tough journey ahead with some VERY drastic lifestyle changes. Don’t forget you are lucky. Take care of yourself.

iconoclast633 karma

Thank you!

formido116 karma

Did you call 911 yourself or was there a point you told someone you’re not well?

iconoclast6310 karma

I told my daughter to come get me and take me to the ER.

Sputnik00776 karma

did you get that DMT high that's apparently occurres right before you die?

iconoclast634 karma


DarkMaGiicS5 karma

What did the hospital do? Treatment wise and diagnoses?

iconoclast638 karma

The EKG came first along with the blood work. I had IV's inserted into both arms and I am not sure what they were pumping into me. In less than an hour I was in a cath lab where they worked on me for a couple of hours. From there it was the ICU for the next 20 hours.

Chip_dirk915 karma

Did your diet play any role in you having a heart attack, and if so, what changes were you told to implement, if you don't mind me asking?

iconoclast639 karma

Low sodium seemed to be the mantra, a diet which I have never followed in my life.

Pancernywiatrak3 karma

How did it happen? When and how did you notice? How did you call 911?

iconoclast635 karma

It just started happening and wouldn't stop. I called my daughter who took me to the ER. I never lost consciousness or the ability to walk and talk.

Melansjf12 karma

What did you do to provoke it?

iconoclast632 karma

It all started back in 1963.

What kind of question is that?

holidaysex2 karma

why did you neglect your body?

iconoclast632 karma

Because I wanted to regale Reddit with my personal health crisis and get condescending, worthless feedback in the comments.


TheDash582 karma

I work in a cardiac cath lab and help the doctors do these procedures. Did they use a radial or groin approach and what do you say you remember most about the care the staff gave you?

iconoclast634 karma

Radial but what I remember most was the awkwardness I was feeling as a male and female stood on either side of me shaving my groin while my little soldier must have been shriveled and trying to hide.

TheDash583 karma

I am a male and trust me it is awkward for us to shave either gender. We do try and keep people covered up with a towel while we do that though.

iconoclast633 karma

I was joking nervously until the meds kicked in then I just laid there and listened as best I could.

jimmycarr12 karma

Were you alone or with others? Who called the ambulance and how fast did it arrive?

iconoclast636 karma

I was alone. I called my daughter and she took me to the ER.

Notatumor199013 karma

Next time call an ambulance. As a paramedic a heart attack is one of those situations where time is muscle. Plus generally if you're having an ST elevation MI (one diagnosed by the EKG) the medics can diagnose it in the field. They'll take you to a facility capable of PCI and give them a heads up so the cath lab is prepped.

Edit: I mean, ideally theres no next time...

iconoclast638 karma

I was given that advice while I was there. I won't make that mistake if it happens again.

takenwithapotato1 karma

At what point did you realise it was a heart attack and not something less serious like heart burn or muscle injury?

Also, glad that you came out of it fine, hope you make a full recovery!

iconoclast635 karma

When I measured my blood pressure and it was deep in the red zone.

RealHausFrau1 karma

Did you have any symptoms of the impending attack earlier than the day it happened? Like chest pain for a week or anything like that?

iconoclast631 karma

Nope. No hint.

bigsexy771 karma

Ha! I was sick with flu and run down, I made a massive batch of congee, prob julienned 1/3 pound into it and had a couple of big nourishing bowls. Went to bed soon after and woke like , an hour and a half later with the full on reaction. Freaked me out. Wanna know what I did as soon as I finally got my breathing and heart rate down to a level that doesn’t induce panic.....? (Which took close to 10 minutes)

iconoclast631 karma

Do tell ....

swolemedic1 karma

Your main image doesnt actually offer verification of a heart attack?

What treatment did you receive, did you have a catheterization, any stent, did they call it a code stemi, which artery was blocked, did you have high values of troponins, etc.?

Because a gp follow up for a heart attack isn't what they normally recommend, it is usually a cardiologist and if they put in a stent your instructions say to keep taking your anticoagulants, what to do if you have symptoms, when to call 911, etc.

Edit: viewed the dropbox, looks like the same single page. I had heart attack discharge paperwork despite not having truly had one, my immune system attacked my brain/body and screwed up my blood flow, I still had the standard AMI/acute coronary syndrome discharge paperwork which is pages long and it said the diagnosis on it. I've never seen a heart attack only have the instructions to see your GP

You sure you had a heart attack and not something else like bad angina?

iconoclast631 karma

My discharge papers didn't list the condition for which I was treated, HIPPA regulations I'm guessing. I messaged the mods about that and offered to send them a list of my medications which would likely confirm the diagnosis.

I was immediately rushed to the cath lab and they attempted to remove a blockage and insert a stent but had to stop because the clot had "calcified" and they decided further intervention would be too dangerous.

I have a cardiologist that I will be reaching out to tomorrow.

swolemedic1 karma

My discharge papers didn't list the condition for which I was treated, HIPPA regulations I'm guessing.

Even if they don't list the explicit condition they're supposed to give you instructions at a minimum telling you what to expect/when to call 911 after being treated for a general condition. Lol I had one packet that was huge, it was filled with everything from cardiac warning signs to warning signs about when to call 911 for a stomach flu. I promise you HIPAA has nothing to do with what they give the patient, hipaa is for people other than the practitioner/the patient.

I messaged the mods about that and offered to send them a list of my medications which would likely confirm the diagnosis.

What meds are you on? What did they give you in hospital?

I have a cardiologist that I will be reaching out to tomorrow.

I mean, tell your GP and all, but I'm just shocked by the lack of discharge paperwork for a heart attack and how they only tell you to see your GP. They don't even mention what to watch out for if the location they entered to catheterize starts to bleed internally/the natural bruising? Just seems weird for what you went through

iconoclast631 karma

but I'm just shocked by the lack of discharge paperwork for a heart attack

I got 10 pages of instructions plus Cardio Rehab pamphlets and other things as well. I just chose not to present the entire book on Reddit AMA.

They don't even mention what to watch out for if the location they entered to catheterize starts to bleed internally/the natural bruising? Just seems weird for what you went through

I got all of that as well.

iconoclast631 karma

Upon discharge I was prescribed: asiprin, atorvastatin, clopidogrel, isosorbide, and metroprolol tartrate.

FrescoKoufax1 karma

What are you retired from? Do you use tobacco? Are you overweight? What's your diet like? Do you exercise? Thanks!

iconoclast631 karma

Disabled Vet/Cigarettes/No/Lots of red meat and salt and sugar/Rarely.

im_a_professor1 karma

You doing okay now?

iconoclast631 karma

I feel much better, thank you.

Curtle_The_Turtle1 karma

How did they treat the heart attack? Did you get any stents? If so, how many & where?

iconoclast631 karma

They rushed me into the cath lab and tried to install a stent but said it was unsuccessful.

Curtle_The_Turtle1 karma

Did they explain how they treated the occlusion? Perhaps ballooning?

iconoclast631 karma

The head cardio doc said it was calcified and that further intervention would be too dangerous. The ballooning didn't work.

monadoboyX1 karma

What did you see? do you really have a 7 minute dream about your life?

iconoclast631 karma

Just lots of doctors and nurses.

monadoboyX1 karma

what so you saw doctors and nurses when you were dead?

iconoclast632 karma

I was never dead or even lost consciousness.

unfurL2 karma

That’s weird. I always thought that a heart attack results in losing consciousness.

iconoclast631 karma

Not in my case it didn't. I slowly realized something was wrong, made my way to the ER as quickly as possible and started asking for pain meds as soon as I got there. The pain meds (morphine) leveled out the pain and I slowly relaxed. 20 hours in the ICU was very taxing though.

monadoboyX1 karma

oh i see thats strange what was the actual order of events then? Did your heart stopped working but doctors were able to save you in time but you were still aware of everything going on?

iconoclast631 karma

My heart never stopped beating. It just went into a crisis mode. I was aware of everything that was happening.

monadoboyX1 karma

wow that must have been an experience well i am glad you are ok and spend this extra chance you have been given 🙂

iconoclast631 karma

Thank you. I was only relating my experience.

lmao44311 karma


iconoclast631 karma

No family history and the doctors could not pinpoint an immediate cause.

MacUallas1 karma

Did you display the classic symptoms or were there other signs that were - yep - hospital time?

iconoclast633 karma

Yes and no. I had lots of pain and pressure in my chest but also, inexplicable, a terrible pain in my jaw.

b1lly41 karma

How did it affect your family? Did they have to look after you more?

iconoclast632 karma

It just happened. I got home from the hospital this afternoon. We shall see.

lurking_digger0 karma

Hello, thank you for your time!

Black out your name and DOB?

Tell us about your hottest nurse/provider?

iconoclast634 karma

Her name was Sarah and she was in the triage unit. So gorgeous.

TriggeredPumpkin-4 karma

Did you pray to god for sparing you?

iconoclast633 karma

Not religious.