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Betty Klein

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Betty Klein

January 18, 2018 was just another Thursday. I felt fine and worked a full day at the clinic. It was a busy day amid cold and flu season as well as dealing with the struggles of acclimating to a new electronic health record.

I left work a bit later than usual and headed for the grocery store for a few things. I had just begun to shop when I noticed a momentary squeezing pain between my collarbone and left shoulder. It passed quickly, I felt fine so I resumed my shopping. I had a second episode a few minutes later which again resolved quickly but now I was wondering what it could mean. I checked out of the store and made my way home.

As I carried my groceries in, I began to feel a bit short of breath and had some chest discomfort. I took a Tums, sat down and again it quickly resolved. I showered and went to bed but was uncomfortable lying on my left side. I didn’t have pain but felt like I had a rock in my left chest. I wasn’t comfortable in bed, so I moved to the living room recliner. It was then that I felt a momentary, vague feeling of warmth and numbness. It went from my left wrist to my shoulder and across my chest. I had a gut feeling of, “I’m not okay!” I had no pain but decided it was time to get checked. I woke my husband and asked that he take me to the ER. We were about 10 minutes away from home when I began to feel hot. Shortly after, I developed a squeezing, tearing, intense pain in my left chest. I called the ER nurse, they were ready to help when we arrived.

I remember at this point having tremendous chest pain. An EKG and labs were done immediately. An IV was started and medications were given. Dr Brelje was quick to diagnose and arranged for my transfer. I was stabilized and transported to Jennie Edmundson Hospital in Council Bluffs with a non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI).

I was admitted to the intensive care unit where I was closely monitored. Further testing confirmed a blockage of my left anterior descending (LAD) artery which was corrected with placement of a stent and a comment from Dr. Deshmukh that I was just given a second chance at life. We talked about acute coronary syndrome and the impact of stress on one’s life. I am a nurse, a daughter, a wife, a mom, a grandmother and have a busy, active life, but enjoy all that I do.

I remained in the hospital for a couple more days for rest and recovery. I was then discharged and armed with a boatload of new medications and knowledge. I immediately started the cardiac rehab program at Myrtue which helped with strengthening. I learned about diet, stress reduction and with their encouragement, I have continued to exercise daily.

I am a non-smoker. I do not have a family history of heart disease. I do not have diabetes or high cholesterol. I have hypertension that is controlled with medication and could lose some weight, but overall I am in general good health. I am female and had a heart attack at age 59. My symptoms were vague and not typical, I didn’t feel right. These symptoms were my warning signs. I’m so glad I listened to my inner voice and went for help.

Betty Klein

LPN, Myrtue Harlan Clinic