I've told this story in a couple of places since it happened on April 13: Facebook and some other online discussion forums, to faculty and staff at my university, etc. I keep getting the same feedback: Keep sharing it, people need to hear that heart attacks come in many forms. It could save a life. So, here it is: Here's the thing about heart attacks: It is over represented on TV and such that heart attacks are severe pain that brings you to your knees. That certainly can be true, but only for a small percentage. Much more common are combinations of symptoms that involve chest pain of a variety of levels, arm pain/discomfort of a variety of levels, jaw pain of a variety of levels, nausea of a variety of levels, leg, shoulder, etc. pain of a variety of levels. I knew that, but still… I delayed for hours. They have a phrase in cardiac care: Time Is Muscle. I may have permanently damaged my heart through my delay. It could return to function in days or months or never. About 9:00 a.m. this past Friday we sat down with the saleswoman to buy a car after having dropped my daughter off at day care and picking up a big cup of coffee. About that time I started feeling pain in my jaw and nausea. About 9:30 after the purchase was pretty much done my arms were feeling uncomfortable and I had mild chest pain. We completed the transaction and that is when I told DW I wasn't feeling well. I interpreted everything in the context of the two unusual things happening that day combined with the first symptom of nausea (what is called a confirmatory bias in my analysis, something we are all prone to in all decision making). I very rarely have a really big cup of fast food coffee and I don't buy cars often. So, I thought I had caffeinated nervousness that was clenching my jaw and overall tension combined with possible stomach virus (because that kind of stuff is always running around). After about 15 minutes of sitting in the car lot and talking about if I should go to the hospital, home or the bank to finalize the loan for the car, we resolved to go home, because 'it was just stomach virus' and we hoped I could feel better to go finalize the loan. After an hour or so, DW went to work and I stayed home, thinking I was slowly improving. It did occur to me, and we discussed, that this might be a heart issue. But, we had too many discounting factors. By about 2:00 I was improving, but not really by enough. It was coming in waves that lasted 10 minutes or longer. But, I had one wave that lasted a good half hour, so... I did reading on the internet and came across articles on Everyday Health ( http://www.everydayhealth.com/heart-health/what-does-a-heart-attack-look-like.aspx ) that said the following, "Everyone I've met who has had a heart attack says it's different from anything they experienced before." That was the key for me. While none of the individual symptoms were too odd, the arm discomfort was getting worse and becoming odd and the combination was like nothing I'd felt before. I put down the computer and dialed 911, sent a chat message to DW telling her that an ambulance was on the way and to come home. The EMT arrived within about 10 minutes and interviewed me and said my symptoms should have led to a much quicker call. They loaded me on the ambulance and got their first EKG and it showed indicators for a heart attack. He told me but said he would not tell DW because he didn't want her to freak out. I agreed and didn't tell her while we were visiting for a few minutes on the ambulance. (She still laughs at how nonchalant I was) I didn't want her to get too upset as she drove to the hospital, for her safety in driving. They called indicators into the ER as we were riding and they rolled me directly to an exam room, confirmed the situation and took me up to a catheter lab that they had already been prepping. (They knew before I was off the ambulance that I was very likely to need stents.) They doctor told me my options and I signed the form and they rolled me right up. DW had gotten there and the doctor told her what was up while I was being transitioned from ER to elevator and she rode up with me, the whole time telling her that I was going to be fine and not to worry. I later found out that they set that hospital's record for time getting me from the ER door to catheter arriving at the lesion at 35 minutes. The professionalism and care of every person at our local hospital cannot be overstated. From Dr. Haas to the nurses, everyone was helpful and clear in their instructions with me and each other. I can see why the cardiac care unit of our hospital is highly rated. They ran into only one problem with the stents (three total), the burst plaque location was difficult to clear. So, it took about an hour to complete the installation of the three stents. I was conscious, though mildly sedated, for the procedure. Really, it was kinda cool and I wish I could have seen the monitors while they were doing it. Though, watching the replay in my doctor's office three days later was probably better. While I was getting worked on DW talked with her mother and friends were arriving at the hospital to be with her. One friend picked up DD from daycare and they had a sleepover that night and play-day on Saturday. DD is just in love with her son, so she was having a blast. Within about half an hour of my procedure being completed the folks that had caught up with us at the hospital were in my room and we were telling jokes and everyone much relieved, because it could have been so much worse. Right then, and in the days since, we have learned how wonderful our university family is at pulling together to help and comfort and support us. Other faculty covered my classes, students tolerated me moving some lessons online, and flexibility and reduction of stress was encouraged. My prognosis is good. I had another procedure 5 days later, 3 more stents in other blockages they saw while they were working on the first one. I have begun cardiac rehabilitation, which will be mostly about exercise and stress reduction because we already eat pretty well, just need to cut out red meat and some of the processed foods. That's the story of my heart attack. Bottom line: Don't delay Time is Muscle! And COYS!