Louise’s Story

“I was only 47 when I had my SCAD. It came as a complete shock, something I would never have imagined would happen to me, mostly because I had absolutely no warning signs at all and I was going about my day as I always did on a Wednesday.

The day I had my SCAD episode was my normal busy Wednesday where I have to cram in a lot of stuff before I work the next 2 days so I did my 6km walk as I have done for about 16 years now, went to Coles to do my food shopping, then I stopped in at the post office to collect a parcel when the excrutiating pain hit me like a tonne of bricks out of the blue. It took my breath away and my back was pulsating with a different pain. I do remember thinking oh no this is not good and I probably should ask that lady to call me an ambulance but then I remembered I had nearly $500 worth of food shopping in my car so I’d better get that home and into the fridge first, thinking hopefully the pain will go away then, not realising in a million years I was having a heart attack. So off I went, drove myself home, lugged all my food shopping up to the house, safely packed away all the fridge and freezer stuff before thinking oh no, it’s still really painful, I’d better get myself to the GP and have him check it out. So off I go again driving the 15 minutes to my GP who then said you need to go to Busselton Emergency and I said, oh there is no way I can drive to Busselton, it’s just too far, I don’t think I’ll make it, I’ve only just made it here from my house and he said oh, you’re not driving anywhere, I’m calling you an ambulance and I said no, don’t bother them, ring my husband and he’ll come and get me. Anyway, the amazing ambulance crew came to collect me and off to Busselton Emergency I go for a few hours while

they try to work out what’s wrong with me. They couldn’t, so they rang my Heart Specialist in Perth and he said get her to Bunbury or Perth and I’m like, what the heck, I haven’t got time for this, I’m really busy and need to get home and get my jobs done, plus I didn’t want to miss The Bold & The Beautiful at 4.30pm. I became quite distressed and the nurse said it’s time now for you to ring somebody to let them know what’s happening and I just couldn’t speak to anyone so I asked them to get a dear friend of mine who works at the hospital to come and see me so she rang my husband and my boss to let him know I wouldn’t be at work the next day oh and to also take my keys and get my car from my GP’s carpark because it had a cooked chook still in it and that was dinner that night. So when I was being transferred to Bunbury, I politely told the driver he had 1 hour to get me there before my show started and he delivered me with 10 minutes to apare. I was super impressed. So into CCU (Coronary Care Unit) I go for the next 4 days. Even the Nursing staff were very accommodating. They left me to watch my show in peace. What more could I ask for except for more pain relief.

My diagnosis was taking some time and I was starting to get worried. On the Thursday they did an Eco (ultrasound) and found nothing untoward so I thought, awesome I can go home then and of course the answer was no, we’ll do an angiogram on you tomorrow and I said oh no that’s ok I

don’t really feel like one of those thanks but they came at the crack of dawn the next day to give me one anyway. It was so good I don’t remember anything except for the Cardiologist being a bit excited at what she had discovered and explained it to me. Interesting. How it made you feel and the impact on your life and the lives of those around you.

At first I felt really hard done by, this is so inconvenient, it’s interrupting my life, I already had an annoying heart beat that nobody seems to be able to do anything with anyway, what makes anyone think I need this other ridiculous rare heart condition. I will be getting behind in my housework and I can’t go to work so I’m not getting paid which means my sons school fees aren’t getting paid but on the other hand I was soooooooo grateful to be alive because I understand not everyone survives this. Then your mind just gets away with all sorts of thoughts and I shed a lot of tears whilst laying in hospital for 4 days. I lost my confidence, especially when I was told I wasn’t allowed to drive or go to work for 2 weeks. I felt like my life as I knew it was over. How was someone so energetic and busy like myself going cope with siting on the couch for 2 weeks, not being able to do a thing. It worked for about 5 days but after going through the torment of watching my husband and sons do MY jobs, it just all got too much so I started doing them again myself but very slowly and carefully.

My poor husband was really shocked but thankful I was still alive. My sons were very out of sorts until I was discharged from hospital. Once I was home, everything seemed to click back into place for them. For me, it has changed me a lot in the way I think, I don’t seem to care so much as I did with certain things. I’m still very particular and sweat the small stuff with my housework but that’s my nature but other things like for example I have been wanting security screens on my front door, only for 3 years, well I am getting them done now and not waiting because I can’t guarantee how long I’m here for and I want to enjoy what I have sacrificed and worked so hard for my whole life. Like the saying goes, you can’t take it with you.