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Bu in calling an ambulance?

(48 Posts)
sailorcherries Sat 17-Mar-18 19:06:12

I posted a while ago about pains I had been having, occasionally during the day but mostly at night. It felt like my whole chest was being squeezed in a vice, with a weight on top, whilst my breathing is short and laboured and I feel dizzy and nauseous. It can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour but disappears as quickly as it starts, and it starts without any notice.

This happened about 6 or 7 times back in August time and, on two occassions, I ended up in A&E due to my partner and parents worrying. Both times the pain has subsided before I arrived and all of my vitals were within the normal range, if slightly low.

The pain completely disappeared and hadn't returned until last night. I woke and it was the worst one of the lot; I could barely breath and felt dizzy alongside all of the usual symptoms. I couldn't sit or bend as the pain was so crushing.
My partner panicked, phoned my dad and an ambulance (my dad came in case we needed to leave). The ambulance call operator took the details and one arrived within about 5 minutes. The two lovely men got to work quickly and there was apparently bugger all wrong with me - ecg trace showed nothing, blood pressure was slightly low but normal, blood sugars fine etc.

After about an hour the pain went just as it started and both paramedics agreed it sounded like a panic attack, as opposed to an anxiety attack (the key difference being anxiety attacks have certain stressors that can be identified and avoided/removed during the attack to help the victim whereas panic attacks have no stressor and can therefore occur whenever without warning, including at night). Not once did they seem annoyed at being called out over this but over the course of the day I've not added to my list of anxiety about whether calling them was unreasonable or not? I know they came as it was deemed an emergency but, given the past results, I can't help but feel I wasted their time and resources. Obviously I am incredibly thankful but feel so bloody stupid and wound up over, what I perceive, to be an irrational and unneeded call out on an understaffed and overworked service.

Everyone agreed I need to speak to a gp about my anxiety and stress (I'm apparently in so deep it's now affecting me subconsciously and I can't actually pinpoint anything definite as it's so overarching in my daily life).

So my question, were we(he) being unreasonable in phoning 999? Am I a tit?

Youcallthatgreen Sat 17-Mar-18 19:08:24

No. If you were struggling to breath you were right to call 999.

SDTGisAnEvilWolefGenius Sat 17-Mar-18 19:10:30

You were not at all unreasonable, in my opinion. If you had assumed it was another panic attack, and been wrong, the outcome could have been very serious.

restingbemusedface Sat 17-Mar-18 19:10:48

No. You didn’t know what it was and what if it had been something more serious. I’m sure they get called out a lot for panic attacks - you can feel like you’re dying and often the person having them doesn’t know what’s going on.

PinkAvocado Sat 17-Mar-18 19:11:04

Not at all. You can not determine if it is a panic arrack or something more sinister and it isn’t worth the risk to not call them. You couldn’t breathe. That’s an emergency.

Tweetiepie1000 Sat 17-Mar-18 19:12:07

No with you symptoms you did the right thing, but why on Earth did you not see your GP after the first/second/third time it happened?

RaindropsAndSparkles Sat 17-Mar-18 19:12:10

Nope. Not in the slightest. I hope you get yourself sorted soon. This is what the local family GP uaed to

FranticallyPeaceful Sat 17-Mar-18 19:12:24

I know a panic attack feels like a heart attack. I honestly thought I was dying when I first had one. I thought that was it, it was over.
You need to speak to your GP for beta blockers when you feel it coming on, it’s really important. Also some Xanax helps

DancingLedge Sat 17-Mar-18 19:12:37

a) doesn't sound like the ambulance service thought you unreasonable
b) getting emergency help for acute chest pain is the right thing to do
c) as this is the past, and you can't change the past, try not to give it any more head room.

Sounds like you're well on the way to finding out what's going on- panic attacks. That's good, because whilst extremely unpleasant, panic attacks are not going to harm you.
You will get treatment, and they will stop.

yoohooitsme Sat 17-Mar-18 19:15:33

Have you considered it could be gall stones?
Sounds familiar - can be excruciating, start and stop without warning (as the stone moves into and out of position).

sailorcherries Sat 17-Mar-18 19:16:26

I never knew they were panic attacks until the paramedics mentioned it last night. I saw the gp just after one incident last time and she sent me to A&E (the first admission). Never once was it brought up - cancer, lung disease, blood clots, kidney stones, liver and other major organ failure etc were all explored and ruled out and, both times, I was sent home with a "we've no idea".

DesignedForLife Sat 17-Mar-18 19:16:58

Of course you were not unreasonable, however you should have probably seen your GP after the first couple of attacks.

sailorcherries Sat 17-Mar-18 19:17:12

Gallstones were also mentioned, checked for and ruled out but thank you.

DesignedForLife Sat 17-Mar-18 19:17:30

Ah I see you did see your GP!

yoohooitsme Sat 17-Mar-18 19:18:02

And no ywnbu. Calling out an ambulance sounds like the correct reaction to me.
And just because you may be anxious will not stop it being something physical.

letsdolunch321 Sat 17-Mar-18 19:18:38

Panic attacks are scary, when my daughter had one I called an ambulance. As her mum it was scary knowing she was struggling to beathe. Like the op this was a panic attack - the paramedic was brilliant

sailorcherries Sat 17-Mar-18 19:19:56

No one knows what it was, numerous checks have come back clear and no-one has pursued it any further. The gp was as much use as a chocolate tea pot and, after referring me to A&E, washed her hands of it.

Clevs Sat 17-Mar-18 19:23:12

I'm a paramedic and we attend panic attacks quite frequently. If you had pain and difficulty breathing you did the right thing. They wouldn't have sent a vehicle to you if they didn't think you needed one as all calls are triaged. It's a brave call taker to not dispatch an ambulance to someone with chest pain and breathing problems, even if you are normally fit and healthy.

However, if you get regular occurrences with similar symptoms then coping mechanisms at home may prevent you needing an ambulance and the paramedics should have gone through those with you last night.

GirlsBlouse17 Sat 17-Mar-18 19:26:12

From the symptoms you described, you were right to call 999 . I hope the hospital do more tests as there is definitely something not right

YassQueen Sat 17-Mar-18 19:26:27

I work for an ambulance service. You were absolutely NBU to have an ambulance; chest pains and difficulty breathing is most definitely worthy of a 999 call.

It's a brave call taker to not dispatch an ambulance to someone with chest pain and breathing problems, even if you are normally fit and healthy

They'd be a stupid, soon-to-be-unemployed call taker!

ALongHardWinter Sat 17-Mar-18 19:33:58

No of course YANBU. The symptoms you describe sound exactly like heart attack symptoms. I know for sure that if I or anyone I was with was suffering from those symptoms,I would definitely call for an ambulance.

sailorcherries Sat 17-Mar-18 19:38:31

Thanks everyone. I just feel ridiculous now and during the entire time the paramedics were here I was worrying because I wasn't wearing a bra (given I had been asleep) and because my OH hasn't sorted the bloody couch cushions!

ozymandiusking Sat 17-Mar-18 19:50:04

Have you heard of spasm of the oesophagus? This can be very painful.
I suffer from it, wakes me in the early hours for some reason, but not always then. Maybe because you were suffering this pain tn caused you to present with panic like symptoms. Please google it and see what you think.
When it happens to me, I take very small sips of water one after the other, and this seems to help. Whether this smooths out the muscle contractions I don't know, but perhaps try that. Hope this helps.

CheesyWeez Sat 17-Mar-18 19:54:49

I called an ambulance last year for my DH with chest pains and breathlessness, he was discharged not knowing what was wrong a few hours later. We saw a cardiologist afterwards and he was diagnosed with an infection between the lung and the ribs. This mimics the symptoms of a heart attack.
When I had chest pains it was inflamed cartilage between the ribs. They gave me ibuprofen.
It could have been many things but you can't take the risk that it's not a heart attack.
You did the right thing.

APermanentlyExhaustedPigeon Sat 17-Mar-18 19:57:16

Def not BU. I had to call an ambulance for my mum as she had similar symptoms, paramedics & A&E doc all thought heart attack but eventually tests for that all came back clear.

She does have gallstones, (already diagnosed) but further scans actually showed she had a hernia too, and that was what was causing the issues.

They also investigated her oesophageal flap( no idea what the technical term is) as sometimes that can get stuck the wrong way and also be incredibly painful.

However, anxiety/panic attacks were also discussed as possibilities, and everyone was very reassuring that even if it had turned out to be that, we did the right thing in calling an ambulance.

May be worth asking for investigations into the above, as well as support with anxiety if needed?

flowers for you though, as it’s bloody scary, whatever it is!

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