Brian Beamon’s a self-professed hard head, a tireless worker. His parents never missed a day of work, and it’s the type of work ethic he has always displayed in almost 32 years at Brookshire’s.
He fought the pain off he began encountering two weeks before Christmas as long as he could. Beginning late Christmas night, he had been popping aspirins about every three hours.
At 4 a.m. Dec. 26, he woke his wife Christie and 12-year-old daughter Faith. They were going to Baylor.
“I took three more aspirins for the road, headed down 24th (Street), and it hit me,” said Beamon, 52. “I really had lots of pain, and I told Christie we’re going to (Navarro Regional Hospital). I took two more aspirin at the red light.
“And I was driving.”
At that point, Beamon knew it was his heart, but he didn’t say anything.
At Navarro Regional, his blood pressure was 198/97. Normal is 120/80. Doctors at Navarro Regional told him he had a heart attack, and the next day, a visiting heart specialist from Baylor Hospital in Dallas confirmed it. On Friday, Dec. 28, he was taken to Baylor by ambulance, and the following morning had two stents put in. He had two blocked arteries, one 95 percent, the other 80 percent.
The next morning, he came home.
“I couldn’t believe it when they said I had had a heart attack,” Beamon said.
He had never had trouble before.
Dr. Jeffrey Schussler, cardiologist at Baylor Hospital’s Heart Place in Dallas, lists three keys when it comes to heart health: 1. Don’t use tobacco, 2. know your family history, and 3. if you have symptoms which are worrisome, like chest pains, get it checked out.
Not only was Beamon a smoker, he dipped, too. He had cut back on the smoking though, to two or three per day. He smoked his last one Christmas day, he said this week.
He does have a family history of heart trouble, though.
“My mom has a real bad heart,” Beamon said. “She’s had so many pacemakers and defibrillators, there’s no more room for any more.”
He also had a brother that had a major heart attack, and lost the use of some of his heart.
“The rest of my family has done pretty well,” he said.
Beamon has had a number of surgeries, three back, three knee and a hernia. He has a high tolerance for pain, he said.
This time, he almost let that get the best of him. He had some outside work at the Brookshire’s Express store, where he manages, leave him short of breath.
He always worked right through pain, right through fatigue, and would do so for long hours.
His doctors scolded him.
“One of them said I had to learn how to pay attention to my body,” Beamon said. “That’s something I’ve never done.
“The way I was raised, if I had a headache, I still went to school.”
The episode taught him to respect his body, to listen to it, to react. He knows it could happen to anyone now, and he knows what to look for now.
On the Net:
Heart attack signs
Most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
• Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
• Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
• Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
• Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
— American Heart Association