Coronary Artery Dissection
In Victoria, BC
I don't know how to begin, every time I think of the events I just get teary eyed.
I was discharged on the 4th day from the hospital after having a c-section with my last baby then that night a terrible chest pain woke me up. I thought my milk was starting to come so I sat up and stayed on my rocking chair for a good portion of the night. The chest pain somehow slowly went away but I had this funny feeling on my chest accompanied by a headache on and off after that.
Prior to my open heart surgery, I had about 4 visits to the local hospital and they would do blood work, ECG and X-ray.
At one point they thought I had a pulmonary embolism, as a result I was sent to the Red Deer hospital for a scan twice but nothing was showing. There was even a diagnosis of Gastric Acid Reflux Disease and was prescribed a medication to control it. All these things never worked for I continued to have unexplained chest pain, headaches and high blood pressure.
I had even said the one time I showed up in emerge that I was having a heart attack but I ended up getting discharged in the evening.
I guess there was no indication that I had one. It went on for days. I believed the doctors that have seen me at the local hospital for the fact that I worked with them.
One Sunday morning, my husband suggested we go to Calgary to visit my sisters. He thought the change in environment would help make me feel better.
Somehow my chest pain had gotten worst when we got to my sister's place. I was crying by then so my one sister suggested we better go to the Foothills Hospital. I still did not want to go and told her I didn't want to wait for hours and hours at the waiting room. She made a phone call to find out how busy emerge was and was told it was not bad.
She insisted we go and thank God for her. I still waited in the waiting room and was not put right away in a room because it
was full. Although my sister is a Reg. Nurse at the Foothills, I did not jumped the line and waited like everyone else.
The pain got worst so finally, they took me in and did blood work and ECG. Next thing I knew, a doctor came and told me that there had been changes in my ECG. Then 2 cardiologist came and were supposed to do a test but I ended up having 2 episodes of chest pains that I would say were the worst of all. I ended up in the cath lab. and I woke up during the night to find out I was in Cardiac Care Unit (CCU). That showed how sick I was.
The next day a group of doctors came and I asked them what was going to happen next. I was told, they will have to review my file and decide what would be the best option. After that, the cardiac surgeon came, followed by the rest of the team.
It was decided I was going to have surgery. In short, I ended up with an emergency quadruple bypass. There was extensive dissection to my arteries I learned later and apparently it was brought on by hormonal imbalance during post-partum.
It is rare condition and women that have it usually will not make it. Also, my cardiac surgeon has mentioned that there was an old damage she has seen in my right coronary artery.
I told her that after having my second baby I went through same symptoms shortly after mydischarge from the hospital but I was diagnosed then with a migraine. The symptoms I had then were not as pronounced like the last episode that led to my surgery.
I hope my story will not scare women to get pregnant, my case was rare. I hope it will enlighten some people to listen to what there bodies say and be their own advocate. I am a Reg. Nurse and told the local doctors then what I felt but my only regret was, I did not insist.
I do not blame anybody, I believe that things happen for a reason. What matters most is I am alive and be with my family that is why I am sharing my story.