Analene Torgerson had every reason to ignore the discomfort in her chest. As co-owner of Lund’s Landing Resort, she and her husband, Jim, were focused on getting ready for the busy summer season at their marina and lodge south of Ray. But something told her the sensation in her chest shouldn’t be ignored.
“It was a feeling of discomfort – like pressure in my chest,” Analene said. “We decided I’d better go to the ER to have it checked out.”
Analene was wise not to dismiss a common warning sign of a potential heart attack. The American Heart Association (AHA) lists a number of signs and symptoms and cautions that catching these symptoms, and addressing them early is one of the best ways to avoid a heart attack. The AHA also notes that heart attack symptoms in women can differ from those in men; they can be subtler and more confusing.
Common symptoms are:
1. Chest discomfort that can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and then returns
2. Discomfort in other areas of the upper body, such as one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach
3. Shortness of breath that occurs with or without chest discomfort
4. Other signs, such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness
The Torgersons drove to CHI St. Alexius in Williston. Subsequently, she was referred to Trinity Hospital in Minot, where doctors recommended intervention to address narrowing in her coronary arteries.
“Because of where the blockages were located, I wasn’t a candidate for stents,” Analene explained. “They scheduled me for open heart surgery.”
Analane underwent bypass surgery at Trinity Hospital, and after her surgery, she was taken to the Intensive Care Unit where she was closely monitored. As her condition improved, she was moved out of the ICU into post-surgical nursing units to continue her recovery.
“Everybody at Trinity Health was outstanding,” she declared. “I had such good care from the nurses; they were all so supportive and understanding. My husband thought so, too. I would say nothing but good things about everybody. The whole team of doctors and nurses couldn’t have been more helpful.”
Since her discharge, Analene has been doing well in her recovery. She has completed her final physical therapy session and is making progress regaining her strength.
Nowadays, she and Jim are operating at full speed as proprietors of Lund’s Landing, described by North Dakota’s Tourism Department as a place “known for its hospitality, delicious homemade food, Juneberry pie, and pan-fried walleye.” With a marina, lodge, cabins, boats, and a restaurant – all of which the couple built themselves – the Torgersons have plenty to keep them busy. One thing has changed, however – their perspective.
“It’s been a growing experience,” said Jim. “We’ve always been active, but we’re walking more and trying to be as smart as we can about everything we do.”