Closer to the heart

Colin MacLean
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AMHERST - Dick Bristol and Sandra MacInnes consider themselves lucky to be alive today, because both managed to catch the early warning signs of impending heart attacks.

AMHERST - Dick Bristol and Sandra MacInnes consider themselves lucky to be alive today, because both managed to catch the early warning signs of impending heart attacks.

Both experienced burning sensations in their chests, to the point where they knew something was very wrong. And both required bypass surgeries.

People think that you have to have pain and soreness to know you have a heart problem, said Bristol

But thats not the way it works. With the heart you dont even know youre having heart trouble until its too late, he said.

He first noticed something was wrong while out for a walk with his wife. During the walk he started to feel a burning sensation high in his chest but dismissed it at first. Believing it was simply the cold night air.

But when the feeling came back a few days later, he started to suspect something was up.

I said this is not normal. There is something wrong. So I said Im going to get this checked out.

Bristol was a heavy smoker for most of his life. But decided to stop until his test results came back. The next time Bristol was in the hospital his doctor had a clear message for him.

Your done smoking, no more cigarettes for you, said the doctor.

While the tests came back showing that Bristol had a strong heart they also showed that his tubes where severally blocked.

At first he thought the doctors must have the wrong guy. But the realization slowly kicked in. He remembers calling his wife from the hospital.

I said they hit me with the time bomb. A six bypass, he told her. With women they are totally different when they present themselves in an emergency room.

Men tend to get the crushing sensation in their chest, while women can experience a numbness or loss of feeling, said MacInnes.

I know with me thats what it was, she said.

When she first went to the hospital complaining of chest pains the doctors believed it might have been all in her head. But she insisted on more tests.

I just knew, because its your body.

It turned out she had several arteries severally blocked.

MacInnes has been helping out with the Amherst Heart and Stroke Foundation for a long time and continues to do so. And with the foundations big month of February coming along she will be out knocking on doors for a cause thats very close to her heart.



staffreporter@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Amherst Heart and Stroke Foundation

Geographic location: Bristol

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