It Was A While Ago Now.

1985, to be exact.  I genuinely believed I was having a heart attack at the time.  I was driving into London on the Westway.  I'd had a busy, active, stressful day and I was on my way to meet my girlfriend in the West End.  I was late, and stuck in heavy traffic.  I started to feel a constriction in my chest, and my breathing became heavy and rapid.  I stopped the car and sat on the kerb with my head between my knees for a while, but it didn't help much.  Eventually I felt better enough to continue driving into London, but I hadn't gone five more miles when my symptoms returned with a vengeance.  I thought I was going to pass out, and drove up onto the pavement beside some telephone boxes.. I called an ambulance.

 

I was taken to St Mary's, Paddington, which was a stone's throw away.  I had immediate blood tests and an ECG.  I was left mainly to my own devices after it became apparent that I wasn't dying.  After a couple of hours or so, a doctor came to talk to me.  He told me that the blood results proved conclusively that I hadn't had a heart attack.  He wasn't sure what was wrong, but after questioning me closely about my lifestyle and the sort of day I'd had, he pronounced himself reasonably certain that I'd had a panic attack.

 

I had one more, some months later, but have been free of them since.  Part of the trick, I find, is learning to heed your body when it tells you that enough is enough. 

reteps reteps
51-55, M
Mar 7, 2010