Sheer Heart Attack: update 1

Friday 16th September: 15.00
I’m put on a bay of four beds.

I learn very little about the three other occupants of the bay.

I’m concerned that the long list of things I must do at work, and concerned that the projects I’m running all need me.

The chest and arm pain fades in to the background, eventually fading away completely.

Sam comes back to the hospital after going home to do necessary tasks.

I’m given aspirin and blood pressure and temperature checks.

I feel fine.

The first doctor tells me that there will be another set of checks at 5.15pm (which is about 6 hours after the most recent and most painfulĀ attack).

He explains that this would be a decision point.

It’s possible I may be allowed home, when they read the results about 7pm.

I’m optimistic.

Sam sits in the chair next to my bed.

We talk.

We take the piss out of each other.

She can’t fool me.

I can see the worry in her eyes.

I play the fool.

It’s a role I’m comfortable playing.

5pm arrives, the tests are taken.

I feel so tired.

The hospital food seems to have escaped Jamie Oliver’s scrutiny, but I’m sure it has some kind of nutritional value.

8pm arrives, unlike my test results.

To try and expedite things, I hang around the office where the duty doctor does stuff.

He’s incredibly busy.

I feel guilty, but make sure he knows I’m loitering, before I go back to my bed.

About an hour later the doctor comes to see me.

The results have unfortunately shown signs that yes, there has been some serious cardiac-related activity.

They had thought it could have been angina.

But it seems that it was an actual heart attack.

I’m not allowed home.

Inside I feel crushed.

I want to go home.

I don’t want to be this heart attack person.

I want my home and my cats and my cuddles and my junk TV programmes and my books and my woman.

I get a night in the ward.

Sam goes home.

She doesn’t allow me to keep my work laptop, but at least I’ve got my work mobile phone, so I start to let people know the news.

About 1am I have some more blood pressure and temperature obs, and while she’s doing that, the duty nurse says I will be transferred to a specialist cardiac unit tomorrow.

Well that’s lovely.

I fall asleep watching Pitch Perfect 2 on my tablet.

Sheer Heart Attack: Background

This true story starts a few days ago, but is retrospectively included here for context

Thursday 15th September: 3am
The fire klaxon in my hotel room bangs me out of a peaceful state of sleep with such aggression that I find myself running around the hotel bedroom in circles, not knowing where I am.

The noise is so intense that I barely know who I am.

Heart pumping as if I’d just completed a massive sporting achievement, my brain begins to kick in.

I’m in Hothorpe House Hotel, on the second day of a course.

No, I don’t know why the fire klaxon is going off.

And why is it going off in my room?

And why is it SO FUCKING LOUD?

Despite the near debilitating assault on my ears, I pull some of my things together and throw on some clothes.

Outside it’s foggy.

I say it’s foggy because it is 3am on an English autumn morning, obv.

There is no smell of smoke in the air.

So it’s fog.

There are no fire marshalls either.

No people in friendly HiVis jackets.

Just a couple of other hotel guest-stragglers, wandering about.

Eventually someone appears, makes apologies, and we return to our rooms.

I’m still hyped up by the noise, and unable to sleep.

At breakfast at 7.30 my colleagues and I discuss the very shocking awakening.

The fire klaxon in every bedroom had gone off.

We wondered why there had to be a fire klaxon in every room when the fire klaxons were so debilitatingly loud.

Many hours later the course finishes and I drive home.

I feel unwell.

Nothing I can put my finger on.

And, let’s face it, I’m not exactly a sickly child.

I just know that I’m not right.

I go to bed early.

Friday 16th September:
The next morning I wake at the normal time.

I feel sick.


And I’m cold/clammy and sweaty.

I make it in to the bathroom but I don’t actually vomit.

Things settle down.

The nausea passes.

The world returns to normal.

I do the usual bathroom duties, but as I get dressed I start to experience a pain.

In my chest.

It’s not a sharp stabbing pain.

It’s a pressure inside me.

It builds and fades.

I feel a little short of breath.

The pressure builds again and my arms hurt.

Bizarrely, the little fingers on both hands tingle.

I sit on the bed for a moment, and the symptoms all pass to nothing.

I finish getting dressed.

A few hours later at work, the pressure builds again.

My arms hurt again.

My little fingers tingle again.

This amuses me.

The shortness of breath returns again.

There is an unwritten law that one should never google symptoms.

I google my symptoms.

I text Sam that I appear to be having a heart attack, and go in to a Very Important Meeting.

An hour later I check my phones.

Sam’s gone nuts with worry.

I take a minute to tell my Director that I’m not feeling well.

I’m deliberately vague about symptoms and my suspicions because it might not actually be that serious.

I just say I’m not feeling well and I’m going home.

At home Sam has left work at lunchtime.

I leave my car at the house, and she drives me to hospital.

An hour later I’ve been poked, prodded, had blood extracted, and I have been admitted to Nottingham’s QMC, as I seem to be actually having a heart attack.