In 2003, Patti Frenette got the shock of her life when her fit, thin, younger brother suffered a serious heart attack at just 54 years old. She flew immediately to his bedside in Wichita to meet with his wife and cardiologist. “Thank God you gave him that aspirin to chew when he started feeling sick,” the cardiologist told his wife, “or he might not have survived.”
From that moment on, Patti was on a mission to spread the word about the benefit of taking an aspirin at the first sign of a heart attack. She created Aspirinpod, a heart-shaped pillbox, perfectly sized to hold two adult aspirin or four baby aspirin. It fits neatly everywhere, from your keychain to your golf bag, so you can be sure to have an aspirin with you if you or someone you love has a heart attack.
When I returned from Witchita, I took an informal survey of friends and colleagues. I would ask, ‘If I were having a heart attack right now and asked you for an aspirin to save my life, would you have one?’ Out of 450 people surveyed, only 5 said yes. Lots of people had Advil or Tylenol, but very few had plain old aspirin. I realized, people just don’t know about this. It took a few years, but eventually I applied for the design patent, and by 2009 I was in production.
Exactly what dose of aspirin should you take?
At the onset of heart attack symptoms, you should call 911 and chew one 325 milligram (regular strength) aspirin or four baby aspirin.
What symptoms should you watch out for?
Women’s heart attack symptoms can be much subtler than men’s. As opposed to the crushing arm and chest pain that men feel, women often feel extreme exhaustion. Now, how many exhausted women do you know? A lot. Also, nausea, indigestion or discomfort in between your shoulder blades. By the time women get to the emergency room, it’s often too late. That’s why carrying aspirin with you as a woman is doubly important.
What exactly is the aspirin doing?
It’s thinning your blood, so that any clots or blockages and pass.
Do you know anyone who’s actually used their Aspirinpod and prevented a heart attack?
Oh, I get tons of letters. Actually, a woman I met through work had a heart attack at her desk, at 9am one morning, and she ate the aspirin from her pod. I had only met her a few days before and she wrote me a note afterwards saying how our meeting was serendipitous.
I actually used it, recently, when I had terrible stomach pains and thought I was having a heart attack! I was doubled over in pain and a friend called 911 while I chewed the aspirin. It turned out to be indigestion, but my motto is: Be Prepared. No Regrets.