November 27th, 2000
The Premiere OnLine Magazine for the Fly Fishing Enthusiast.
This is where our readers tell their stories . . .
How To Survive a Heart Attack When Alone*
Sent in by Ronn Lucas, Sr.
Let's say it's 6:17 p.m. and you're driving home (alone, of course) after an
unusually hard day on the job. Not only was the workload extraordinarily heavy,
you also had a disagreement with your boss and, no matter how hard you tried, he
just wouldn't see your side of the situation. You're really upset and the more you
think about it the more uptight you become.
All of a sudden, you start experiencing severe pain in your chest that starts to radiate
out into your arm and up into your jaw. You are only about five miles from the hospital
nearest your home; unfortunately you don't know if you'll be able to make it that far.
What can you do?
You've been trained in CPR but the guy that taught the course neglected to tell you
how to perform it on yourself. Many people are alone when they suffer a heart attack.
What can you do?
Without help, a person whose heart stops beating properly begins to feel faint and has
about 10 seconds left before losing consciousness. However, these victims can help
themselves by coughing repeatedly and very vigorously. A deep breath should be taken
before each cough, and the cough must be deep and prolonged, as when producing
sputum from deep inside the chest. A breath and a cough must be repeated about
every two seconds without letting up until help arrives, or until the heart is felt to be
beating normally again.
Deep breaths get oxygen into the lungs and coughing movements squeeze the heart
and keep the blood circulating. The squeezing pressure on the heart also helps it regain
normal rhythm. In this way, heart attack victims can get to a phone and, between breaths,
call for help.
You'll be giving yourself CPR with this technique.
Tell as many other people as possible about this - it could save their life!
* Editor's Note:
Ronn received this from an RN friend. We ran it by our heath care team
who responded: "Showed it around. Everyone agrees that it might just work as it
creates negative pressure in the chest cavity. But as it has not been
officially sanctioned, there is no guarantee. OK to publish with the
proviso that it is sure better to do that than nothing as long as a
prayer goes with each cough (my own thoughts)."
We lost a dear friend in Montana to a heart attack on the stream. He
often fished alone. He was found there the next day. This might
have saved his life.
We thank Ronn for sending it on to us all! ~ DLB
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