Women’s narratives during the acute phase of their myocardial infarction
Aim. The purpose of this study was to illuminate the meaning of lived experiences during the acute phase of an acute myocardial infarction (AMI).
Method. Ten women (< 60 years old) afflicted with AMI narrated their experiences during their stay in the coronary care unit (CCU). The interview texts were interpreted using a method with a phenomenological hermeneutic approach, inspired by the philosophy of Ricoeur. The text was divided into meaning units that were condensed and abstracted. Three themes were then extracted from the text.
Findings. One theme was ‘oneself as vulnerable’ with the subthemes: ‘the feeling of being dependent upon others’, ‘the feeling of being insulted’ and ‘the feeling of being a troublesome person’. Another theme was ‘oneself as distanced’, with the subthemes: ‘not facing the reality’, ‘captive in an unreal situation’, and ‘inhibition out of concern for others’. The last theme was: ‘oneself as making sense’ with the subthemes: ‘acquirement of some insight’ and ‘discovery of a new meaning with life’.
Conclusion. The reported comprehensive understanding revealed the phenomena guilt and shame. These, in combination with the experience of being in an unreal situation and the withholding of feelings may have led to a deterioration of communication. It seems that relatives and the staff at CCU were not allowed to share the burden of being afflicted with an AMI.