There are few more personal, life-altering moments than a medical crisis—whether it’s your own, or a complete stranger’s you’ve somehow crossed paths with. Though, as with many families, our history is riddled with crises of various forms, the one I want to talk about here happened without warning and changed the way we thought about heart health as a whole.
We were privileged to live with family a few months here and there throughout our marriage, and be a part of the community that results from 2+ units under the same roof. It’s a glorious balancing act, but lovely nonetheless—always having someone to chat with, never a dull moment.
This particular day, my husband was helping (as he does frequently) with an issue that needed sorted out, and it was decided that the elderly family member in question should probably go for a medical visit. However, upon my husband and another family member helping her from her bed, she suddenly went rigid and collapsed, then jolted back. Hard to describe but he says it literally felt like she died there in his arms for 30-45 seconds.
An emergency team arrived soon after, and got her the appropriate attention (thank goodness they were already en route via the call that had been made prior to this episode), but we have to wonder what might have happened had we not been more prepared, God forbid.
Though probably one of the most dramatic events of this sort we’ve been a part of, it’s not the first. My husband notes that his grandpa had several small heart attacks while he was alive, and while he lived in a house by himself nonetheless. One of the things we think kept him alive in these situations was chewing aspirin as soon as he could get to it (his doctor told him to keep it on him just in case). I was shocked to learn this, as I never thought about what to do in this sort of a situation (who does?), but it makes total sense, and amazing how well it worked for him!
I think we all need to take a more proactive standpoint on heart health, whether it’s for us or for our aging family members, to make sure we are on the prepared side in case of an emergency like these. It’s called an emergency because it happens unexpectedly—but that doesn’t mean we can’t be ready with a game plan.
Did you know a heart attack happens every 42 seconds in the US? Taking aspirin during that heart attack can help save a life. The HeroSmiths Theory is a campaign Bayer Aspirin developed to help more people realize how they can benefit from the life-saving asset that chewing aspirin can be, if readily available. Watch the video below to learn more, and share to spread the word.
In the event of a suspected heart attack, immediately call 9-1-1 and chew or crush and swallow aspirin as directed by a doctor.