Yesterday morning, as I was about to leave for work, Hannah started to clean the kitchen bin with bleach spray. A couple of minutes later, she started to have what, from previous experience, felt like an asthma attack. She felt it was burning in her lungs and told me she must have inhaled chlorine. Her salbutamol inhaler didn’t make any real difference and she was in a bad way, so I called an ambulance.
The ambulance with with us in a matter of 2 or 3 minutes. The paramedics gave her a nebulizer, which seemed to help a bit, but not completely. Given her history (sinus node problems, amongst others) they did an ECG, which had a few anomalies, but they weren’t sure if they were normal for Hannah.
After a bit of discussion, they decided to take her in to the Royal Berks and I stayed home to get Oscar dressed and breakfasted, to follow later.
Once we were ready, I called the emergency ward to check on the status, and was told she was about to go for an angiogram to check everything was OK. I decided it was best to drop Oscar with Hannah’s mum, and headed in.
When I arrived at the cardiac care unit, I was told that she had gone for her angiogram about 25 minutes earlier and should be back soon. I went to the waiting area to await her return.
After some time, a doctor came to talk to me. “She’s had a little heart attack…”
To tell the story from Hannah’s point of view, she had been in the ambulance and had suddenly felt a lot worse, and in a lot of pain. The paramedics did another ECG, and this time it set off an alarm with something like a “severe ischaemic attack” warning. On went the lights and sirens, and red lights no longer posed a delay.
Not entirely sure what happened next, but the angiogram still seemed to be just for checking purposes. I guess you don’t expect a 26-year-old woman to be in the middle of a heart attack. Once the consultant saw the results, however, things changed.
“I need more staff, where is everybody?” (roughly, from Hannah’s account)
They did emergency angioplasty, went in through the femoral artery and removed a clot (not clear if it was 3, or 1 in 3 pieces) from her coronary artery. I don’t know how long she had, but it’s safe to say that it would have been fatal if not dealt with so quickly.
I was completely unaware of what was going on the other side of the doors, and was a bit too stunned to really take it in.
We’re about 36 hours on, and I’m knackered, so more details to follow. She’s doing well so far, though. The road to recovery appears to be at least a few weeks.