I had a heart attack.

Dear John:

I had a heart attack.

My name is Roger B. and this is my story.



Started on a Monday eve, was washing a horse on a hot afternoon. Felt light headed but thought was the heat. Later, I got up from watching TV to go upstairs to bed. I felt odd, my arms both ached, felt worse laying down, got up and eventually laid down and was fine.


Upon a coworker insisting, I went at lunch the next day and had an EKG and labs drawn. EKG normal, labs pending. Left town for a vacation the next day. Road trip…5 hrs later, ate lunch, walked around, started feeling off, sick, sat down…feeling subsided. Got worse again walking to car. Rode another hour to hotel.


Discomfort in left arm and gall bladder area oddly. Sooo, I thought it might be gall stones.


Called doc from hotel. No labs back yet. Walked to brewery, struggling with odd ill feeling but being a trooper and not complaining. Got nauseous but it passed once we were sitting down. Ordered beers, sausage n cheese tray with hot baked pretzels. Was amazing. You know, cuz that’s what ya eat when you don’t know you’re having a heart attack.

Labs back next morning….normal. Doc said maybe GI, take Prilosec in morning, Zantac at night.


Hung out touring the burg for 2 days. Walking or activity frequently triggered the symptoms…arm discomfort, heart burn feeling and right side pressure in gallbladder area. Resting relieved it. Never could pinpoint the chest discomfort. Friday afternoon, 3 hrs drive to in-laws for a graduation. Taking my antacids. Saturday morning, felt like a million bucks.. thought I was cured.

Went to a graduation, climbed stairs, walked blocks, no symptoms. Later, went out to lunch. Ate fries and a burger. I don’t usually eat like that but we were on vacation. Soon, felt discomfort and chest pressure by time we walked to car. Relief went sitting again. This repeats thru day. Bu evening, there was little relief no matter what. Folks went to bed…I paced all night, it hurt to lay down, my arm felt odd but not like heart attack odd I think.

Its gotta be my gallbladder and I want to go home. Not getting my gallbladder out until home.


I vomited that morning, we headed homeward and 8 hrs later, went directly to the closest to home hospital… didn’t even go home first. Walked into ER, told them my chest was uncomfortable and had right side pain, had to be gall bladder but my arm felt weird too. Quick EKG and labs confirmed a heart attack. Gallbladder ultrasound done, it was normal. Meds and 2 stents later on Monday and I my life was spared.

I never smoked, 5’4, 140 lb, ate reasonably well whe

not on vacation anyway. I do have a family history or coronary arteriosclerosis. I was fine until the day I washed the horse. Well, it’s been 5 years and recovered with no heart damage thankfully and the docs are amazed. I do take a low dose statin and daily aspirin to stabilize plaque and inflammation in the arteries. It’s not about statins lowering my cholesterol…it was never high, but I still developed plaques that ruptured…these stabilize them and I have no ill effects from the statins.


That was long…but point is, a heart attack can happen and not be that chest clutching event. It can take minutes to kill you or days of symptoms we can pass off easily as anything but. The simplest way my doc could put it is, if you can point to a particular spot for chest pain, it’s not likely a heart attack. If you’re discomfort is brought on by activity and relieved by rest, you can’t point to a particular pain, you start sweating, become nauseous, faint, short of breath, any of these together, get to a doctor. Enjoy every day…we are never guarantee another.


Roger B.


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John Bellamy Comments: I have been several times to A&E thinking I was having a heart attack. First time turned out to be a pulled muscle in my chest due to over doing it at the gym. ( yes - it was years ago.,.. )

Second time, some years later - when I was 19 my left lung collapsed and has always left me with pains in my left shoulder, down the arm and in to the chest and I just wanted to make sure everything was fine, and once again everything was okay. The relief is amazing when you are told there is nothing to worry about. Especially for us men who are babies anyway when it comes to anything like this.

HOWEVER - going to A&E BOTH TIMES and this was years before the NHS went into a free fall of underinvestment, Covid and not enough nursed and doctors because the NHS did not plan ahead for Brexit at all - and I was there between 7 and 10 hours each time - which is absolutely abusive by the NHS to keep people waiting with no food or drink available except high sugar and salt content stuff out of a vending machine - IN A HOSPITAL THEY ONLY OFFER BAD FOOD AND DRINK - and no wonder so many people do not bother. With the NHS is a complete FREE FALL towards privatization and where we will be offered a better service we pay for - or be prepared to wait hours on a gurney in a corridor and then have doctors with an appalling bed side manner as they are too busy and while we have paid for the NHS through our taxes, we are looked down on by various specialists and Misters as they become pompous and arrogant and think themselves too good for us common folk and I have been offered some appallingly arrogant service by specialists whom I have read the riot act at - in front of their nurses etc. and told them exactly how obnoxious and patronising they come across and how unappreciated it was coming from someone who PAID TO TRAIN through my financial contributions and being so arrogant was NOT going to work with me or make any friends. One time with a certain liver specialist, his arrogance really rubbed me up the wrong way and when I gave it to him full barrels - the student nurses behind him were all giving me the thumbs up in approval ( which he couldn't see ) and in the middle of my giving him what for, I had to keep a straight face as the students were thrilled someone was giving this pompous fool some home truths and they were quietly laughing and cheering behind his back and it was hard to keep a straight face.

Turns out he had a bad reputation even amongst his fellow work mates and doctors, and


regardless of this, if you ever feel unwell or have chest pains or feel as if something is fizzing in your throat - go to A&E and waste an afternoon - take a bottle of water and some sarnies - and spend the time and find out what is wrong before it becomes serious.


My recent 7 hours spent at A&E made up one of the worst days of my life - it was awful as I was so ill and needed to be in bed not sitting on a hard seat in a very noisy waiting room - but at the end of the day they gave me the medication that immediately started to work and by the next morning I could feel an improvement after 9 weeks of ill health, and it was that simple. It may have been an awful experience, but it had a positive outcome.


Remember. Hamilton Hall is always here for you and should you ever need some where to chill out, rest and recover and where we will take good care of you - as friends and NOT as a nurse or doctor... we are here, we are friendly and we understand.


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