You are all alone and recognize the signs that you are about as far away from a heart attack as George W. Bush is from complete idiocy. What do you do? How you going to save yourself when the pain is creeping up your arm and the terror and dread is falling down around you like so many frogs during a Biblical plague.
First off, try to stay calm. Yes, that’s a stupid thing to suggest, but it helps. You want to be sure that what is happening really might be a heart attack. In order to do that you need to recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack:
Shortness of breath
Painful pressure in the chest
A pain in your neck
Pain that radiates down your left arm
If these symptoms hit you when you happen to be driving, immediately pull over the first chance you get. Driving while having a heart attack is like giving a speech in class while you stand there naked; the worst of both worlds. Another sign of a heart attack is that you may lose consciousness and this loss can come on more quickly than you can pull the car over so waste little time in getting that car to the side of the road and out of harm’s way. Even if you know the emergency room of a hospital is only a mile away, don’t try it. Instead pick up your cell phone and dial 911.When the 911 operator picks up, try to calmly explain your situation, being sure to let the operator know the exact symptoms you are experiencing.
If you are at home, try to get to the wherever you keep your bottle of aspirin. If you’ve got a supply of aspirin in the car, all the better. It may be difficult for you to open the bottle due to the pain in your arm, but try with all your might. Your very life may quite literally depend on getting that bottle open. Aspirin works to stave off a heart attack by reducing the potential for platelets to stick to each other, thus assisting the flow of blood and reducing the chance for clots. If you cannot get to beverage to wash the aspirin down, just chew it up and swallow. Don’t waste your energy struggling to get something to drink. You need all the energy you have to fight the heart attack.
If you have a beta-blocking medication, you should also get to that and take it as soon as soon as possible after you begin experiencing the first symptoms. Since beta-blockers are a prescription medication for those suffering heart conditions, you may very well have access to it. If you have an oxygen tank, being administering oxygen to yourself. Finally, thump yourself on the chest as hard as you can and as hard as you can take it. This technique is more effective when done by someone else, but if you are alone, you can make it a DIY project. Wait for 911 to send an ambulance and do not try to fight against the paramedics suggesting that you go to the emergency room even if you are feeling better by the time they arrive.