how to give yourself a heart attack




A couple of weeks ago I googled 'symptoms of a heart attack'.

This was after ignoring left-side chest pain for three days, increased shoulder pain for two and tingling  down my left arm when I woke up. Hmmm. 

I don't generally over-dramatise things or make a fuss, but there's some bad hearts in my family history (medically speaking, let me rush to add, BIG hearts if we're talking metaphorically.) So I googled it, and panicked just a little, and wondered how on earth the world would go on without me, and I shed a small tear imaginging my little family doing just that, and would it be a quick death? 

I spent another day worrying about whether someone else would be able to untangle the farm accounts and paying the plumber because surely no one would think to do that in the days right after my death. The left-side chest pain got worse and my fingertips started to go numb. I picked up the kids from school and dropped them at youth club and quickly spoke to a friend as I ran out the door to the doctor's surgery. 

She made me stop. She had had the EXACT same symptoms six months or so ago. And she had some specific advice for me. Breathe. Breathe really deeply. My friend had already self-diagnosed MS before she took herself to the doctor who apparently laughed and said: you're not breathing deeply enough. Your circulation's not working properly. 

My friend made me take ten deep breaths. I felt immediately better, mostly because I really didn't want to die with the house in the state it's in. No one will ever find anything. Really must get it sorted out. 

Breathe in, breathe out. 

Sit and have a cup of tea. 

Taking nice deep breaths. 

And worry instead about that latest thing you read on Facebook about how we're absorbing toxic chemicals from the paper wrapping of the tea bag. (And at least take a deep breathe at the same time.)




13 Comments on “how to give yourself a heart attack

January 8, 2014 at 1:22 am

On your wish list for gifts put a tea infuser, some red rooibos tea leaves (great for relaxing), plus any other tea leaves of your choice and never use another tea bag. Keep writing, I love to read of your adventures even though I end up exhausted just trying to comprehend how you fit it all in and from laughing. That man of yours is showing many hidden talents.

January 8, 2014 at 5:49 am

Come on Fi, you know the family history as well as I do… Pick up the phone and make an appointment. Please. There are no medals or flowers for ignoring heart related issues. Xx

January 8, 2014 at 7:55 am

Yes, at least go for a check up and get them to hook you up to the echo machine. Fit, healthy people have heart attacks too!

January 8, 2014 at 9:04 am

Love it Fiona! Always a smile when I read you.
How about a massage for the new year, eh? xx

January 8, 2014 at 9:16 am

Love it Fiona! Always a smile when I read you.
How about a massage for the new year, eh? xx

PS get that ticker checked out anyway

Just Joyful
January 8, 2014 at 9:19 am

Yes, breathing is good. But definitely don’t ignore those signs – get it checked out!!!

January 8, 2014 at 10:15 am

Numbness is not a good sign and I would seek immediate medical assistance. Women actually have different symptoms to men and that can be back pain rather than chest pain. You know your body well and this feels different you need to take it seriously. Hope you are feeling better. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

January 8, 2014 at 10:21 am

10 deep breaths is great advice, it’s good to reset when it all builds up – the stress, the emotions, the to do lists, the crockery and clothes mountains. Doesn’t hurt to see the doc though to make sure you’re in tip top shape.

And 10 deep breaths looking over that gorgeous ocean view with a restorative cup of tea! Hello serenity! Or go look at your hilarious pigs with the tips of their ears bobbing up and down as they snuffle around – that’s gotta make you grin!x

January 8, 2014 at 2:22 pm

So, just checking… Did you end up going to the doctor? And have you told Adman because I bet he would make you 🙂 might as well go get a full health check done (always good at 40 anyway). And just a tip, you might need to breathe a little more often, it’s highly recommended 🙂

January 8, 2014 at 8:18 pm

The same thing has happened to me in the last twelve months. Like you I have a family history of heart attacks so when I seemed to be presenting with all the symptoms of a classic heart attack I took myself to the doctor for an ecg. I live in a country town, over one hour from the city so it was more a “be prepared” kind of thing.
I’m happy to report that I’m still here (I just checked again) and it would seem to be a gastric problem. I was prescribed some pills (last March), took them as directed for 2 weeks, it was meant to be 4 but the symptoms had gone, and put the rest away in the medicine box.
This week the symptoms came back and I think they are stress related, so I dug out the remaining 2 weeks of pills and I’m feeling better already.
So, what I am saying in the most long-winded fashion, is just go and have a check up. It will relieve all stress and make you feel better. Good luck.

January 8, 2014 at 9:10 pm

My new Tetley decaf tea bags have little messages on them like ‘I have gone on holiday from you and caffeine’ and ‘It was you or this Tetley. I stand by my decision’ and ‘Do not disturb. I’m de-stressing with a decaf.’ Love it and had a laugh the first time I saw them!

Aunt Narelle
January 9, 2014 at 7:13 am

Fiona , you must get a full health check from your GP.
Do it sooner rather than later.
Aunt Narelle

January 9, 2014 at 4:22 pm

What? You are you seriously going to cure a medical condition with a cup of tea and deep breaths? It may not be MI/ angina, but maybe something spinal/ nerve related, or muscular, but still you may be allowing something minor to become worse by worrying you were just worrying! Yep, breathing deeply might help, managing anxiety might help, but unless your friend is a cardiologist or GP, I think you need to have some medical advice and check up done. Good luck…


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