Jersey City Medical Center: From Paramedic to Heart Attack Patient

Source: North

February 8, 2017 seemed like just another normal day for Edana Rahbari. The then-46-year-old paramedic was at work, heading to a motor vehicle accident with her partner, when she started having palpitations in her neck.

“I could feel my heart beating in my neck,” she said. “I said, ‘This is really not normal.'”

Rahbari had similar symptoms the previous day, but the palpitations went away on their own. Still, to be on the safe side, she did an EKG. Things looked fine — until 10 minutes later, when “the real full symptoms” suddenly came on full force. “It was like textbook — [like] an elephant came and sat right in the middle of my chest. And instantly, my arms were both numb and I got very sweaty.”

Rahbari was having a “widow maker” heart attack, which affects the left anterior descending artery. It’s your heart’s biggest artery, and it directs blood to the left part of the organ.

Until the crushing pain came on, Rahbari thought at first hormonal fluctuations might be causing her symptoms. “Up until that point, I had felt fine,” Rahbari said. “There was nothing out of the norm. I wasn’t doing anything strenuous with when it all started. It just came on — and from there it went.”

After a second EKG, her paramedic partner, William Applegate, started treating her with nitroglycerin and aspirin. “He was so calming,” she said. Rahbari was then rushed to the emergency room at Jersey City Medical Center, where doctors administered medicine and then ushered her right up to the cath lab. There, doctors determined that she had a blockage and inserted a stent.

She wasn’t out of the woods yet, however: As she was settling into the ICU, Rahbari started to bleed out from her femoral artery, which doctors were luckily able to stop. “A lot of people who have the type of heart attack that I have aren’t lucky enough to survive,” Rahbari said. And the femoral artery bleed was also rare that they said, ‘You know, you’re one in a million.'”

After about a week in the hospital, she went to a cardiac rehab facilityh. “I did a lot of walking, and I feel like that really helped.” In the aftermath, she started exercising and changed her diet by eliminating soda and fried foods and incorporating more vegetables. Rahbari was on blood thinner medication for a year, and currently takes aspirin and blood pressure medication, in addition to having regular visits with her cardiologist.

And Rahbari even has a happy memory associated with her post-heart attack hospital stay: Her now-husband, Sean, also a paramedic, proposed to her on Valentine’s Day while she was still recuperating. The couple celebrated their first wedding anniversary in August.

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