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Heart attack wids? Share your story...

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It's been a big help over time to connect with others who lost their loves to a heart attack or issues relating to the heart. I lost my husband very suddenly to a heart attack and it was extremely difficult to process his death for a very long time because it was so incredibly sudden. I hit a brick wall out of the blue while life was cruising along at a beautiful speed...he was fine one minute and gone the next. This thread really helped lots of us at YWBB over the years and we'd welcome hearing your story...


Re: how many sudden heart attacks - 05/24/09 11:50 AM

My Richard died April 13, 2009 of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease. He was asymtomatic until 30 minutes before he died and even then, his symptoms didn't have us entirely alarmed.


Richard had left me a voicemail about 9:45AM on his way to a meeting. He sounded fine and told me he'd call me after his meeting. I happened to be in my office at 10:15AM when he called again. He told me he wasn't feeling great and asked me to come on home. He'd never, ever done that before so I scooted on out of there. I talked to him on the way home and what he described was kind of flu-ish. He told me he had sweated through his clothes (now I know to be alarmed at that...I thought he might be spiking a fever and wasn't terribly worried as he'd had the stomach flu a week before.) He said his lungs were a little achy, kind of like asthma. I had him go take an aspirin just in case and chatted with him on my drive home. I got home about 10:45 and grabbed the laptop to get insurance info to make a doctor's appointment. At this point his temp was a little low, but his color was ok and we were talking like normal. I put him on the phone with the insurance company nurses to run his symptoms by them. I heard him talking to them in the front room, his voice was normal, I could hear him saying "No, my chest doesn't hurt. I feel better when I am standing up. No, it doesn't hurt to breathe. No, my arm and jaw don't hurt." I heard him get out of his chair and thought he was coming back to the bedroom to ask me something. I heard kind of an odd sound in the hall and went to see (not a crash, no bad sounds, nothing scary really.) I saw him kind of crumpled in the hall. He didn't really fall...it was like a light switched off and he sank down like a child. I rolled him to his side to clear his airways, called 911, and worked to give basic first aid. We live a mile from a brand new, major hospital and the paramedics arrived within about two minutes. It was right at 11:15AM. Although he had a few gasping breaths, I could tell my Richard was gone from me. They were able to get a very irregular rhythm in the ambulance but weren't able to maintain it at the emergency room. I knew when they brought the chaplain in that things weren't good. They let me go see him as they worked on him and the doctor followed me back to the little room and told me he was gone. Most likely, if he'd had the heart attack in the emergency room with a cardiac surgeon on hand, the end result would have been the same. To sum it all up, I was a wife when I kissed him goodbye at 7:30AM, was a worried wife heading home to take care of his sick self at 10:15AM, and a widow by 11:15AM.


When I got the official cause of death it wasn't a shock per se. The way events rolled out pointed clearly that direction. What was so surprising was that he had no symptoms. He was 52 years old, had normal cholesterol and blood pressure levels. He was a lifelong athlete...gym rat and runner of marathons. We were married 11 1/2 years and I worried myself silly because I was terrified he might develop Parkinson's or Alzheimer's like the majority of the men in his family. We had a 15 year age difference, so I'd worried about losing him early, but I never had any inkling that he would slip out of my life in a breath. I distinctly remember thinking how rotten it would be to lose him young...I was envisioning him at 70 and me at 55. Not him at 52 and me at 37.


What I've learned from this is to truly treasure each moment we are given and not take one single thing for granted. I made a lot of assumptions about my future...dreams, fears, hopes. What I know now is to treasure the present and leave the rest to God. My husband was called home entirely too soon, but we had a lifetime of love in our 11 1/2 years. I miss him with everything in me, but I am forever grateful for the ongoing gifts of his love and our life together.



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He left for work like every day... I was home because it was summer.  My boy had gone to work at the vet's office, my husband's son was still asleep at home.  I got a call from his secretary that I should come to the office... They thought he was having a heart attack.  My first thought, because he was a bit of a hypochondriac, was, "Oh geez... Don't do this at the office..." But then she said the man he was meeting with was giving him CPR.  I sprang into action then, got his boy out of bed, and we dashed in to the office.  I was still in the shorts and t-shirt I had slept in.


By the time we got there, the EMS Guys were doing rescue, trying to shock him, doing CPR.  I called my son and luckily caught him before they went out on a vet call... He drove us to the hospital following the ambulance.  I never NEVER thought I would get the answer from the doctor that I did... That they did everything they could, but he was gone.  WHAT???  That's not the right answer... Go back and fix things!!


Everyone here knows the rest... The disbelief, the horrible calls to family, the PEOPLE in my house later when I just wanted to go in my room and bawl...


I never thought I'd ever get past it.  Luckily I've had good people around me who helped me learn to live again, helped me to live always for today, because tomorrow is never promised.  Many of those people I met through the board.  I'm forever grateful to them!!

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My husband, Charles, also passed from Atherosclerotic Cardiac Disease, and was asymptomatic. He had slightly elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, but the doctors never flagged him for it. He was fit (only 15 pounds overweight) and active.


He died overnight in our guest room where he often went to watch tv when his insomnia struck.  I don't know what time the event occurred, but it was probably within an hour or two before I found him at 5:30 on a Monday morning.  He had propped himself up in the guest bed to watch television. I found him slumped over, blankets undisturbed so I know he didn't thrash in pain. He must have died instantly.


I performed CPR until the EMTs arrived and they worked on him for about 20 minutes, but I knew.  His lips and feet were blue. The EMTs said they could find no electrical signs at all.  At 7:00 am the Coroner's Office arrived to remove his body. I woke up our 5 year old daughter and took her into another room so she couldn't see what was happening (I figured she was due to wake up any minute and wanted to prevent her walking into the scene). A chaplain told her that God had taken her daddy. She asked to watch cartoons.


It will be 14 weeks tomorrow. The shock has worn off, although I still have a hard time processing it.  His heart was so strong, whenever I laid my head on his chest I could hear it beating so clearly. I still barely believe it.

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My wonderful husband of 10 years came home from the gym complaining of back spasms. I massaged his back and he said it was feeling better, he was even able to go kiss our young boys goodnight. I remember him asking if he should take a warm bath, I said it can't hurt.

So off I went to go clean the kitchen, start packing things for our trip to an amusement park the next day. I can remember that initial thought of where is he? Checking the basement and the garage before running upstairs... Knowing what I would find as I opened that door, it had been too long. I remember grabbing his face screaming his name.  I still see his face as I found him. Everyday.

So here I am 6 months later in disbelief that this happened to him, to me, to us. And I guess to all of us here.


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She was still awake at midnight when I asked her to come to bed. It wasn't unusual for her to have a little insomnia now and then. When I awoke at 5 am to get ready for work she still hadn't come to bed. I found her sitting in the kitchen floor and thought she had fallen asleep but when I tried to wake her she was unresponsive. Called 911 and began CPR, the medics arrived and God bless them, they worked on her another 30 minutes before loading her for a trip to the E.R. She was pronounced dead 20 minutes after arrival and the staff let me say good-bye after they got her unhooked and cleaned up. I asked the coroner to have her examined at the regional morgue where they found an occluded left anterior descending artery (a.k.a. widow maker). I not really a sound sleeper and didn't hear any distress or noise- nothing.

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11/5/2013 and he didn't come home from work.


It was really weird because I had this feeling for like 2 weeks that something wasn't right. Husband and I were wrapping up our big Halloween event that we have been doing for 15 years. But this year was different. He didn't even wear his costume because he shoulder was bugging him. He kept saying he had a knot under his right shoulder blade. For days I would massage him, we went faithfully to the chiropractor and he kept taking Advil to relax the muscles in his back. He figured he was sore from all the Halloween construction we do.


However the day he died he woke up and said, "Damn, now its the other side that has the knot! I must have slept wrong." He took a long shower and I rubbed his back and shoulder on the other side this time. He said he felt better, kissed me and our 8 yr old daughter goodbye and left for work. Something told me that was the last time I was going to see him but I didn't know why.


Around noon my home phone rang. I normally screen my home phone because of telemarketers and everyone of importance calls my cell. But this time I knew. It started to go to the answering machine and the person hung up just before I picked it up. I started to run for my cell when the home phone rang again. It was my husbands job telling me he collapsed at work and the ambulance was taking him to the hospital. He has been complaining that his back/ shoulder hurt and he got up from his desk and fell into a coworkers arms. It was that quick.  He was gone at 40.


2 weeks later we did his funeral service and the week after that I found out I was pregnant. Mind you we were trying to have more children years earlier. But we had 2 miscarriages and failed fertility so we gave up. Plus I was on medication that shouldn't allowed us to get pregnant and the fertility doctors told me my chances were slim to none. I figured my baby was conceived 3 days before he died. Now I have an almost 8 month baby girl who is fair skinned, very blond and blue eyes like her daddy was. 


Yes he was overweight, yes he was a former smoker, yes he had severe allergies and sleep apnea. But he was very active, no other heart problems, and a good cholesterol screening, good blood pressure, good blood sugar, etc. It took almost 10 months for me to get his autopsy report back. His artery just completely gave out.  It wasn't Atherosclerotic Cardiac Disease but is was something close to that or a form of that. I just cant remember the exact wording.

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April 1, 2010,


The story of Mick?s death starts with a beautiful afternoon on the golf course. It was Thursday, April 1. He and I both agreed to take the afternoon off from work to play golf with our two sons, who were home from college for Easter break. Mick chose to walk the 18 holes, as was our usual practice, and played amazingly well, shooting in the low 70s. 


After golf, the four of us went out to dinner. Mick had a cheeseburger and a few beers. He seemed to feel fine. After dinner, we headed home. Mick and I chose to watch a movie, The Informant, which was mediocre. We both were drifting off to sleep, Mick in his chair and me on the couch. Around 10:00, we decided to head up to bed since we both had early golf matches the next day. I told him I?d meet him upstairs, since it was my turn to take the dog out. I was outside with our dog for maybe five minutes and then proceeded to go upstairs to bed. As I made my way toward the bedroom, I could hear a strange sound, like Mick was snoring. It turned out he was trying to gulp in air or it was a bodily reflex, I?ll never be sure. But he was making some strange breathing sounds so I assumed he was breathing.


As I entered the bedroom, I noticed Mick was laying on the bed, still fully dressed. His legs were hanging over the edge of the bed as if he had been sitting and just lay back. I asked him what he was doing and he did not answer. I became annoyed, thinking he was messing with me and would answer any moment. When he still did not answer, I went to check him more closely and saw that something was very very wrong. His face was swollen and he was still making those strange breathing sounds. I ran to the phone and dialed 911 and then ran back to the bed to try to administer CPR, what little I knew. I stopped briefly to phone my older son, who had just left the house about 10 minutes earlier to go to a friend?s house. I urged him to get home immediately and he asked what was wrong. I told him something is wrong with Daddy. He said he was on his way. I did some more CPR, then stopped again to call my younger son. I urged him to get home as well.


Within minutes, the paramedics had arrived. They went right to the bedroom, moved Mick to the floor and began to administer CPR. I watched in horror as they made little to no progress in reviving him. They hooked diodes up to his chest and the flatline told me that there was no heartbeat. Meanwhile, both my sons had gotten home and rushed upstairs. They too had looks of horror on their faces and looked to me for support. I tried to remain calm, even though ever fiber of my being told me this was the end. I asked my older son to call his uncle (Mick?s brother Lou) to inform him of what was happening. He was at work, but said he?d head right to the house.


After working on Mick for about 15 minutes, the paramedics finally decided to transport him to the hospital. I had little hope at that point since I could plainly see they were making no progress with the CPR. I rode in the ambulance, while my sons followed in their own car. When we got to the hospital, I was put in the family waiting room.


Soon, the boys joined me in the waiting room. We all were together when we got the final news that there was nothing the doctors could do. Mick was gone. Lou arrived shortly afterward and we told him the sad news. I remember him throwing his hat on the ground in despair. 


What followed after that is a blur -- going home, family converging the next day, funeral preparations...and the utter loneliness that follows when the dust finally settles. As I look back, I'm so incredibly thankful for my family members, who stayed with me, helped make arrangements, and cried with me. A month later, I found the board and so began the path to healing.


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Thanks for starting this thread as our experiences seem to be rather similar.  Dan's family had a long history of heart disease and heart attacks so we knew the risk and were being so careful about regular dr. visits,  exercise and diet.  He had actually been to the dr. a few months before his death and everything was great.  So, on 9/27/2014 it was a normal Saturday night for us eating dinner on the deck, sitting by the fire pit with a glass of wine and then watching television before bed.  There was absolutely no indication that day or during that evening anything was wrong.  At about 9:30 p.m. Dan got up from the recliner, walked outside to the deck, came back inside, grabbed the left side of his chest and told me he thought he was having a heart attack.  I asked if I should call 911 and he said that i should do that while he sat back down in the recliner.  I ran for the phone begging for immediate assistance then turned around to see beads of sweat on his forehead, one belch/burp and then a huffing type breath with a total blank stare/completely nonresponsive. We live next to a fire station so we had always assumed they would be there immediately but that didn't happen for a variety of reasons, mostly procedural.  So, there we were, just the two of us, me doing what I could but knowing in my heart I was basically witnessing Dan's last moments.  When the paramedics finally arrived they found a shallow pulse but after that nothing.  I remember asking if he was breathing when they wheeled him out of the house to go to the hospital and the response was "they are still working on him" but there didn't seem to be any action to validate that statement.  When I arrived at the hospital the Dr. painted a bleak picture but, for the most part, I already knew and shortly thereafter I was told he was gone.  So, within the span of 1 hour he was here and then completely gone and the 35 years we were together, 30 years of marriage, came to an end.  But, if he could have scripted his departure, this is exactly the way he wanted to go.  I am so thankful for the time we had together, have absolutely no regrets and look forward to seeing him again later.  Interestingly enough my oldest daughter is due with a baby boy on his birthday in August which, in my mind, isn't a coincidence. :)

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I am so glad you started this thread. My Don died a week after his 51 birthday. We had just days before gotten back from a vacation he had planned (which never has happened before ;) Our Favorite type of vacation of just driving with very little plans but a few destinations. So it was a wonderful time which I cherish now more then ever. The day it happened was just another day

We had plans to go to a friends housewarming party, we got there and don didn't feel great . said it was just indigestion but not to make a big deal about it.  little bit later he wanted to have us pop to the store to get rolaids.  On the way to the store (which was also the way to the hospital)  He told me to slow down and don't panic , it was no big deal, I ran into the store and when I got out ,he was in the passenger seat, eyes open and no reaction...I could tell "it" had happened and he had a heart attack

the store called 911 for me as I did chest compression, felt like hours before they got there but must have been minutes....I drove behind the ambulance as they were working on him. I got into the hospital and they put me on the quiet room..knew what that meant right away but in my heart I knew anyway....a compassionate nurse came in and said I shouldn't be alone and wanted to let me in the room they were working on don in. Think it was the Doctors and everyone else way of knowing they tried everything to save him , In a way I was glad I was by his side , like always , to hold his hand.   

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Heart attack's ran in my husband's side of the family.  His father died at 49 years of a heart attack and a few of his aunts and uncles also passed around the same age.  My husband went to the doctor three months before and got a clean bill of health.


My husband just got off six days of working 12 hours shifts and was really looking forward to a day off work.  I was already in bed when he came in and said he had "the big D".  I asked him what that was and he said diarrhea.  He then proceeded to sing the diarrhea song.  My husband was the king of snoring and woke me sometime during the night and then the snoring calmed down and I feel asleep.  I got up in the morning and got ready for work and then went back into the bedroom to get my coat.  My husband could sleep through anything especially after working that many hours so it wasn't unusual for him not to wake up but for some reason I just could tell something was wrong.  He wasn't breathing.  I yelled for my eldest son to call 911 and my youngest came in the bedroom and we started CPR.  The paramedics arrived and they pronounced him dead.  He was 48 years old. 


One of the horrible parts of all of this was what the coroner did.  She called us and told us they didn't find the cause of death and that they had to do further tests.  She was worried their might be a genetic disease and my children could be at risk.  My children and I went six months without knowing the cause of death. I would call the coroner office but the receptionist wouldn't give out any information.  Finally our family doctor called.  They did have the cause of death at autopsy.  He had a "widow maker" heart attack. Not sure how she didn't forward that on correctly. 

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My Name is Sandy and I lost my husband Eric on 02/26/2015, 22 days ago.  Eric and I started dating in 1992 when he was 18 and I 21, we dated for almost 3 years.  We broke up for 5 years and reunited in 2001 we were married in November of 2002.  E was diagnosed with high BP and End Stage Renal Disease at 27. He receive a kidney transplant from his mother in 2003.


He had been ill (the flu) dehydrated for about 2 weeks, he went to his regular kidney appointment and they admitted him for dehydration.  He spent 3 days in the hospital getting fluids and attempting to eat.  He came home with still no appetite but knew he needed to eat.  He went back to work 2 days after the hospital as he is stubborn and if he "goes to work, I will feel better" "I just need to get back to work".  Saturday morning he woke up, checked his BP and his heart rate was a bit elevated, Took a shower, complained of nasal drip making his stomach upset, he kissed me goodbye (3 quick kisses), told me he loved me and left for work. 


I received a call from my MIL stating that his job called his dad and said he had a Heart attack.  I immediately call his job and they confirmed.  Panicing I called my brother and he drove me to the hospital in a blinding snowstorm as fast as he could.  When we got to the hospital the doctors said he had had a cardiac arrest that caused a heart attack.  They weren't sure if how long he was down so they put him into a medically induced coma for 24 hours.  We do not believe he was conscious at any time.


After the 24 hours was up, they warmed him but they discovered he had a bacterial blood infection that his body was fighting and  due to the hit to all organs the kidney was not filtering the sedation from his body.  They started a slow dialysis to help remove the sedation, toxins and infection from his body.  After 24 hours of dialysis he was beginning to open his eyes and the neurologist was getting some response.  We were cautiously optimistic. 


I went home that night anticipating more responses the next day.  I received a call from the hospital at 4:50 AM that my husband was not doing well and I needed to get to the hospital.  I called my MIL and we both were on our way.  When we arrived at the hospital they said his lung had collapsed and his heart stopped again.  He was having trouble with the vent and I knew this was it. 


Discussions with the doctors were not even close to hopeful.  Our biggest wish for my husband is that he was not baptised as a child however raised in a catholic household.  He always wanted to go through the classes and be baptized, anointed and confirmed.  We expressed out wishes to the nurses and hospital staff.  The hospital E was taken to is a faith based hospital and they were able to provide my husband, MIL and myself with our wish to have him baptized .  I believe that once he was baptized, anointed and confirmed he was at peace. 


We called his family (4 siblings), my family and our closest friends to come to the hospital.  I had to make the hardest decision and sign the most horrible paper in the world.  My husband was removed from all life support and passed away surrounded by his family and closest friends at 6:30 PM on February 26, 2015. 


Thanks for listening.


Sandy - E's wife

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Big Guy had  a history of hep. C, but his death certificate says heart attack. He died July 1 of 2011, January 2011 his heart was in champion mode....passed with flying colors EVERY heart test known to man. I knew that I was going to loose him, but I figured IMHO I had  10-15 years. Who knew!!!


Fuck heart attacks!!!!


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My chapter 2, my polarbear, died of heart disease, although it was not clinically a heart attack.  I wasn't home with him, either.  Had I been home, I would have awakened to find him dead next to me.  Instead, I was 1600 miles away, at the home of an old friend when I last spoke to him over Facetime late on a Friday night.  I had plans Saturday for a bago at the winery in Connecticut with my "home" bago crew.  John didn't respond to a late morning text message from me.  I didn't try to get in touch with him earlier, because he was in another time zone and planned to stay up fairly late...so I thought he would sleep later in the morning.  I figured he was just separated from his phone...he wasn't someone who always had to have his phone on him.  So...I went to the bago and tried to reach him a few times...unsuccessfully.  I was getting worried, and those who knew me well were aware that I couldn't reach him.  I checked my email and Facebook in case the phone had taken a bath...but no messages.  When the bago ended, I retreated to my car, tried to think of someone I could reach that could check on him, but I ultimately called our local police and asked them to check on him.  It took them an hour and a half to call me back, but by then, I really knew.  I'd been thinking about it all afternoon, trying not to show my distress.  The police chief called me - and I filled in his sentences for him.  He told me that officers had gone to my house...and I said, "And you found him."  He said,"Yes."  I said, "And he's gone."  He said, "Yes."  He told me they didn't expect foul play.  (I had never thought of that.)  I only asked him one question:  "Where did you find him?"  He was in bed.  The autopsy showed he had severe heart disease.  We were completely unaware.  He showed no obvious signs of the severe cardiomegally and cardiomyopathy and congestive heart failure that was quite advanced.  As a health professional, as someone who lay her head on his chest every night I was with him, I never saw it.  The coroner told me that hearts like his eventually went into an arrhythmia and he died in his sleep, never knowing what had happened.  My husband hated going to the doctor.  He would have hated surviving a cardiac insult that would have likely left him incapacitated.  He was an active man.  He played handball 5 days a week.  Just a couple weeks earlier, we had been climbing cliffs to and from a beautiful California beach.  He didn't even struggle on the steep paths.  If he was going to die, I suppose this was the best kind of death for him, but it has left me stunned and lost.  I was spared the trauma of finding him myself, realizing he was dead.  Some of you had to witness sudden death first hand.  Still, it has traumatized me and it has triggered anxiety and panic.  Fortunately, that is under better control, but it is still there.  (My dog has done wonders.)


Thanks again for listening.



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I was spared the trauma of finding him myself, realizing he was dead.  Some of you had to witness sudden death first hand.  Still, it has traumatized me and it has triggered anxiety and panic.



Ah yes. The trauma of finding him. I suffered from PTSD for several weeks after, and it still rears its ugly head sometimes.


As my post above indicates, I found him in our guest bedroom on the bed, he'd been watching television. I thought he had fallen asleep, so I reached out and shook his arm to wake him. His arm was cold, but I attributed it to being outside of the covers in a house that was 64 degrees; it wasn't any colder than those conditions called for. Of course, he did not wake up and I looked at his neck and saw no pulse and sat him up. I knew.


About a week later, I woke up in the middle of the night as I often do now, and went to check on our 5 year old daughter. She was laying in bed and I waited, listening for her breath. I couldn't hear her breathing, so I reached out and touched her arm. It was cold, just like Charles' that horrible morning. I freaked out and gently shook her until she took a deep breath and moved - reassuring signs of life.  The next morning I realized why I reacted the way I had, and knew I had to seek help in working through the PTSD.  Fortunately, I no longer wake her up in the middle of the night for reassurance, but I still listen for her breathing. I don't know if that will ever go away.



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