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Elizabeth Sills


Heart attack

‘It felt like someone sitting on my chest’

As a fit person without high cholesterol or elevated blood pressure, Elizabeth didn’t think herself a likely candidate for a heart attack. However when she felt a heaviness in her chest she knew what she needed to do.

It was one morning in May 2014. I felt tired and said to my husband that I would not walk the beach with him that morning. I had a feeling as if I had someone sitting on my chest, with slight discomfort but not pain.

My husband had a GTN spray (angina medication) so I took two squirts of that and waited. There was slight relief from that heavy feeling.

On my husband's return from his walk, we went up to the GP who told me I had had a heart attack, after the ECG showed inferior ST elevation. I was given aspirin and thrombolysed (given medication to dissolve blood clots), before going in an ambulance to the airport and then by helicopter to Waikato.

I had a coronary angiography and two stents inserted. The following day I had an echo and was then discharged home.

I didn’t have elevated blood pressure (BP) or cholesterol, and I wasn't on any previous medication, only Cartia (aspirin) as a preventative because my father had a CVA (stroke) and right hemiplegia (paralysis). I was then started on medication and I now have regular blood tests done through my GP.

The hardest thing to accept was the fact that I had a cardiac problem when I was a fit person and still did on call nursing relief at the local Aged Care.

I keep track of my blood pressure with my own machine. I did find when I went through a big stress of moving, my BP increased. But it settled back again once the move was over. It was handy doing my own BP after discharge as it took a little bit to get the right dose of Cilazapril.

If anyone feels a heaviness in the chest go and get it attended to immediately. I was lucky that I knew what to do.

I still do walks as I have had to give up my golf several years ago because of spinal fusion. I no longer work but I am a night nurse for a local cancer support group which I find very rewarding. I also volunteer at one of the local op shops.

I have two children, son and daughter in late 40s and early 50s, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren, which gives us a lot of pleasure. I live with my husband of 52 years, so we still enjoy overseas trips as well as catching up with friends and family.

My specialist was Gerry Devlin – a great team and many thanks to them all.

Shared December 2019

Please note: the views and opinions of the storyteller and related comments may not necessarily reflect those of the Heart Foundation NZ.

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1 Comment

  • Barbara 8 April 2021

    Much pressure in chest.  Triple bipartisan survivor.