Diary of a heart attack

Last Weds ( Oct 19th) I was watching TV and around 8.00pm I became aware of an ache in the region of my ribs on the left side. It went off about 10.00pm. I put it down to either straining my ribs or indigestion.

I knew a heart attack can seem deceptively mild in a woman so I did have a little niggle about it.
I went off to sleep & was woken at 4.00 am by pain in my ribs again – the same ache as before but it had also gone round to my back. I got out of bed & prowled around the house, still not sure what it was.

It lasted two hours & I think then I realized it was a heart attack but as the pain went at 6.00am I lay quietly making my mind up to ring 111 for advice.

I rang 111 about 8.00am & after questioning me the lady said she was sending an ambulance. I told her the pain had gone and I just wanted to go to the local hospital for an ECG but she insisted on the ambulance.

I went in a bit of a panic then – threw a few things in a bag – woke Tony up & phoned my son. I said to Ady ‘Look after your dad. I think I’ve had a heart attack & an ambulance is coming for me.’ He and Paula were over within 15 minutes just as the ambulance arrived.

After examining me in the house the paramedics then took me into the Ambulance to have an ECG & a stent put in my wrist. They then poured an anti sickness liquid down the stent as by then I was being sick. I think they also poured blood thinners & other drugs as needed.
All this time Tony, Ady & Paula stood on the doorstep waiting.

‘Ok we’re away to hospital now’ the ambulance man said. Ady agreed to look after Tony and Paula insisted on coming to hospital with me. I tried to discourage her as I thought I would be fine on my own. However I’m so pleased she came with me. All the time I was in A&E she was there by my side…

More later.


A very good post to start, Carol.

I suspect that a lot of people get pains which they don’t want to think are a heart attack!

Did it myself ten or so years ago.

Hopefully, they will get it all under control, with some medication (thinners), etc., and you will carry on with a near normal life.

It’s best to talk about it!

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That’s what good friends do, Carol! I wish you well - you are in the right place.

Hi Besoeker - I think you mean ‘That’s what family do’ … Ady & Paula are my son & daughter in law. :blush:

Good friends and family do. Ozzie’s mum is back home but she can’t walk. We walk Ozzie in the morning and my wife stays with her in the afternoon. So yes, I do mean we are good friends.


We arrived at the hospital and I was wheeled into A&E. After doing all the initial tests they put me in the plaster room with wide open doors looking out on the very busy A&E dept. The foot of my bed was practically touching the open doors.

People were walking past us all the time & the nurses came every two hours to take blood from me. I remained there for 10 hours. One nurse couldn’t get the needle in my vein – she tried three times & it hurt. I told her I’d had enough & to leave me. Then the doctor came and told me I’d got to let them take blood. I agreed so long as they sent somebody more competent which they did. She did it first time!

Ady & Tony came about 8.00 pm thinking they might be taking me home but they were told I had to stay in because there was something suspicious with my chest x-ray. This was the pneumonia of course.

My family had an hour with me and went home at 9.00pm taking Paula with them. Paula was a rock for me. She comforted me, fetched me magazines, drinks, took me to the toilet in a wheelchair & really boosted me up. She asked the nurses intelligent questions and interpreting for me when I couldn’t understand some of the staff.

The staff were almost all Carribean, Indian or Japanese. Some were lovely but I found some were racist and not very fond of the colour of my skin as I will prove later…


Carol, l think this thread/blog is a good idea as it gives an insight into what we should look out for, be alerted to, if the same should happen to any of us.
I think some people might just put pains in their chest and rib area, down to indigestion/heartburn, or a pulled rib and not something worse.


Outstanding blog Carol. So interesting to read. Will continue to hit the like button rather than make further comments until you say it’s ok to open up for discussion.


Thanks everybody - more later. x



At some point after the family had gone they came & told me they were moving me to somewhere quieter. I quickly threw my stuff into my travel bag and a male nurse pushed me in a wheelchair to what looked like a doom & gloom place. It was a long corridor with beds tucked in small recesses all down the side. It was dark & gloomy & I could sense the unfriendly atmosphere almost as soon as I arrived there.

As I was wheeled past the nurse’s station not one of the three nurses on duty looked up & smiled at me or gave a word of greeting.

After dumping my stuff in the room, I needed the toilet. The ones near the ward were closed for some reason so I had to walk back down the long corridor I had just been pushed down in a wheelchair. I came to a busy area of people waiting to be attended to by A&E staff. I went past the waiting patients & found a solitary toilet.

I was walking back to my room down the long corridor when a Japanese nurse confronted me. ‘You are not allowed to be wandering around at this time of night, get to your room’ she said. I told her calmly I wasn’t wandering about I had been to the toilet. She then ignored me & bent her head over some paperwork.

I had the most awful headache so half an hour after the ‘Japanese nurse’ episode I ventured to the desk & asked the Caribbean staff nurse for a couple of paracetamol. She refused to give them me. Said I could only get them from the doctor. Lies of course but what could I do?

On that same ward my mobile phone went missing but they ignored my request to phone the previous room I had been in to see if it was there.

I was almost at breakdown point - I got into bed & had a quiet cry to myself – they wouldn’t even let me have a shower…

I kept saying to myself ‘Just make it through this night Carol’

More later…


So pleased to see you posting again, reading your blog as it were. Waiting to see where we go.

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A few observations, having had 6 proper heart attacks on the last 26 months and having heart failure as a result.

It would be very, very, unusual to have Japanese Nurses here in the UK, but we do have a lot of Filipino nurses here.

Nurses can only give medication which has been prescribed by a Hospital Doctor, even something as basic as paracetamol.

An ECG cannot prove a heart attack, that is done by blood tests which measure the amount of an enzyme called Troponin, which is released into the blood when heart muscle is destroyed.

I wish you well, heart attacks are not good.


Carol you must have been very stressed in hospital & I can understand how you felt, but Swimmy is right in saying that those nurses would have been in big trouble if they had given you paracetamol because any medicine could have reacted with what had already gone into you.
Hospitals are not like they used to be as they are seriously understaffed, so I suspect that the nurses were also stressed, rather than racist. All I can say to you is “please don’t refuse to go back in, if a doctor says you must, because that is the only place that can help you recover”
Most of us hate being in hospital so want to go home where we will be happier. Happiness helps us recover. but when we need it, hospital is the only place that can deal with any emergency procedures!


I am so sorry you had such a bad experience when you were so vulnerable Carol. We had a similarly stressful time when our mum was in A&E overnight back in September. Had I not been there she would have been terrified as despite many staff being on the ward itself hardly anyone was available to look in on her and check her vitals and basic needs for the loo, or food/drink for so many hours. By 6am I was crying my eyes out having tried to sleep in her wheelchair with no doctor, no blankets on her bed (good job we bought her coat) and no information on when she would be assessed.

Hospitals are just incredibly stretched, have confused management structures (the unit we were at was being managed by clinicians), basic supplies are not being ordered in sufficient quantities and it seems toilets are not being cleaned or stocked or repaired to a safe standard which may be why the ones on your ward were closed. The basics are just not being maintained.

It seems that the staff looking after you were not receiving sufficient support, were stressed, tired and unhappy as a result. The people who are not desperate for those jobs leave because of the exhaustion, vacancies remain unfilled and patients suffer. Those left in post have no choice because they need the work. It’s a dire situation. The unit being managed by clinicians takes time away from clinicians to do clinical work of looking after patient health. The unit we were in had breaches in health and safety constant arguments between staff, paramedics and stressed patients and was not clean or fit for purpose.

As Swim says it is likely to be a Filipino nurse on your ward. It seems that the entire NHS is filling nursing staffing gaps this way. Many are very kind but inexperienced in our systems. Therefore they are very cautious and may come across as unhelpful. They are just trying to do their best without sufficient training.

Some of the reasons are political and some are just down to the recent pandemic, burnout and loss of staff due to retirement and disillusion.

I hope you are feeling better and that you are receiving good aftercare. I’m sorry you lost your phone and that they would not help you find it. I hope that was resolved.


I’ve been reading your replies & it seems there is a lot of support for the nurses/staff & maybe I shouldn’t be complaining?

Yes I had blood tests done every two hours throughout the day. That’s no excuse for one incompetent nurse poking the needle if three times & failing!

Is overwork an excuse that when I was wheeled past the nurse station in the death & gloom ward not one of the nurses looked up to greet me or to smile? They weren’t stretched - it was as quiet as a graveyard!!

Is it right for a pumped up Filipino or whatever she was to jump on me when I was coming back from the toilet & order me to my room like I was a child.
For Gods sake she should have taken me to the toilet herself it was 300yards away down a long corridor & she had nothing better to do!!

Is it right they refused to let me have a shower? I actually managed one at 3.00am when I was moved to another ward & a kinder nurse said it was ok?

All I wanted was a smile or a little kindness…

At no point have I refused to go back in & I am anxiously awaiting an outpatients appointment to have a stent fitted.
I just couldn’t stay in at that time because I am the main carer for Tony who suffers Alzheimers & had to go home to get him sorted out.

I realise now that they could have sent a social worker or occupational therapist to me to sort my home problems out but they didn’t…


Please could you continue with your story @carol ?
Am sure that the others meant well in their replies, but overlooked the fact that this is a tagged personal blog thread, which, IMHO isn’t really meant for open discussion until you want it to be.

Hi @Dextrous63

I just have a bit of editing to do on it.
I will post the next installment very soon & thanks for your support Dex…

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Been thinking Carol while reading your blog , this account should be sent to the hospital management or even higher so they can see a personal experience.

I know that nurses are stretched and understaffed but sometimes I think some and I repeat some nurses forget why they became nurses . Nursing is to care , help and heal , yet it sounds as if some have forgotten even if they now dislike their work or NHS .

My work was caring and even on my most difficult days towards the end of my full time working life , no matter how tired I felt, no matter how overworked and stressed I was , I always showed compassion and kindness on a one to one with my clients .


I’ve been considering that Susan. x


I have just been reading through your experience Carol and feel so sorry that you had to go through all of that. When someone is ill and frightened, as you must have been, then a little kindness from the nursing staff goes a long way. My husband was in hospital for 8 weeks following a fall caused by his escalating dementia and was in an extremely confused state but the nursing staff were so patient and caring with him, and with me too. So I can’t see any reason for those who were supposedly caring for you should have been so cold and difficult. As Susan said, it would be a good idea to send your blog to the relevant authorities.
I hope that you continue to improve and that your appointment for the stent arrives quickly to enable you to get on with your life and the important task of caring for your husband.

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