He was watching TV. It was about 10:45 p.m. All of a sudden, he felt something in his chest. It was a fullness that he had never felt before. The feeling was dull and painless. But it quickly became a very strong “chest ache.” His chest felt full, sort of like his belly did after Thanksgiving dinners. He could feel a little bit of sharpness in the area of his heart. Then he felt a tiny electric current go down his left arm and into his left hand. His hand felt numb.
He couldn’t believe it. I’m having a heart attack, he thought. No, it couldn’t be. He was perfectly healthy, or at least he was the last time he saw his doctor. When was that—one year, or two years, ago? Well, it didn’t matter. Your doctor could give you a clean bill of health on Monday and you could drop dead on Wednesday. But he had great genes—no one in his family had ever died of a heart attack. In fact, no one in his family had ever died of anything at his age.
He kept hoping the sensation would just disappear. But the feeling of fullness remained—yet without the slightest bit of pain.
He checked his front door. It was locked. That would be a problem if he called 911; would they break the door down, or do they have master keys to most buildings? His windows were open; they could just remove a screen. Should he call 911—no, the ambulance alone would be at least $500. The emergency room bill would be in the thousands. And what about the embarrassment if this was a false alarm? Should he call his brother, who would come over and—and what? He was getting confused. He turned down the TV. He didn’t want it blasting away at his dead body in the middle of the night.