Author Topic: Nicholas having a heart attack?  (Read 6366 times)

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Offline Talya

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Nicholas having a heart attack?
« on: November 24, 2011, 10:28:31 PM »
According to Fall OTR, Nicholas wrote to Alix on 26 of February, complaining of pain in the chest. Exact text here:
"This morning during service I felt an excruciating pain in the middle of my chest, wh. lasted for a quarter of an hour. I could hardly stand & my forehead was covered with beads of sweat. I cannot understand what it was, as I had no heart beating, but it came & left me at once, when I knelt before the virgin's image!
If it happens once more I will tell it to Fyodorov."

Could it seriously have been a heart attack, or just a bout of pain?
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Offline bestfriendsgirl

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Re: Nicholas having a heart attack?
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2011, 10:33:38 AM »
It might have been a very minor heart attack, or angina. Nicholas was very athletic and in excellent shape, but he also smoked like a freight train and was under enough stress to kill three men. It's amazing that he didn't have more health problems than what he did.

Offline TimM

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Re: Nicholas having a heart attack?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2011, 04:10:50 PM »
Yeah, the poor guy literally had the weight of the world on his shoulders.  One wonders what would have happened if he had dropped dead of a heart attack.  I guess Alexei would have been crowned, but due to his youth and illness, Nicky's brother would have been Regent.
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Offline MademoiselleAndrea

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Re: Nicholas having a heart attack?
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2011, 04:18:06 PM »
Oh my goodness! Tim, you've given me such an interesting idea for a (sad, to be sure,) story in which this happens! Say, 1915, and Mikhail becomes regent...somehow this would affect the revolution, though I've no idea how...

Talya, in which year was this letter written?
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Offline TimM

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Re: Nicholas having a heart attack?
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2011, 04:37:16 PM »
Quote
Oh my goodness! Tim, you've given me such an interesting idea for a (sad, to be sure,) story in which this happens! Say, 1915, and Mikhail becomes regent...somehow this would affect the revolution, though I've no idea how

Ah, an alternate history story.  I look forward to reading it.
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Offline Talya

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Re: Nicholas having a heart attack?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2011, 04:41:30 PM »
1917 , Old style :)
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Offline RealAnastasia

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Re: Nicholas having a heart attack?
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2011, 10:14:11 PM »
I think he could have suffered from panic  attack, or very heavy stress. A friend of mine suffered a panic attack and he called ambulance believing he was suffering from a heart attack. He would feel a very sharp and stron pain in his chest. The doctor found out he was suffering from panic attack, caused by his stress.He told him this kind of pain was common in hard stress situations. Later, I did research in internet and it was true.

Considering the bitter reality Nicholas must have to cope with, I think it is not so rare that he could have suffered from stress and/or panic attack.

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Offline Sunny

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Re: Nicholas having a heart attack?
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2011, 12:52:13 AM »
Oh my goodness! Tim, you've given me such an interesting idea for a (sad, to be sure,) story in which this happens! Say, 1915, and Mikhail becomes regent...somehow this would affect the revolution, though I've no idea how...

Talya, in which year was this letter written?

My dear, your writing mind is always awaken! I can't wait to read it ^^

My father has always suffered from a weak heart, and had this pains sometimes - but always in periods of great stress. I'm quite sure the war wore Nicholas out much more than he showed.
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Offline MademoiselleAndrea

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Re: Nicholas having a heart attack?
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2011, 10:33:54 AM »
Oh my, I did not mean at all to excite such eagerness to read my story! It is merely an idea, and may not come about. However, I shall make note of it in my story ideas document and perhaps when I've finished one of my multitudes of writings, I'll do something about this one! There is something, however, that I am working on that I'll post some of soon...

It is really astonishing, once one thinks about it, that Nicholas did not suffer from more during the war. Of course, he must have felt more than he showed, great inner turmoil and stress.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2011, 10:37:02 AM by GrandDuchessAndrea »
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Offline AGRBear

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Re: Nicholas having a heart attack?
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2011, 04:30:01 PM »
I suggested sometime ago in one of these threads that it was possible that Nicholas II believed he had heart problems and that it might have influenced his decision to abdicate.  I think I quoted several sources.   At the moment I cannot quite pull out of my memory which thread we discussed the possiblity.

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Offline AGRBear

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Re: Nicholas having a heart attack?
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2011, 04:42:21 PM »

Are you sure that just because you've not read it in anyone's diaries or books that Nicholas II didn't have a heart attack?

And,  it seems just lately I recall reading that a swarm of doctors were around Nicholas II just about that time period.    I've gotta run.  Be gone for a few days.  Maybe,  by the time I get back,  I'll have remembered where I read  it.

AGRBear

Bear, you're probably thinking of Nicholas's diary entry for March 11, 1917, quoted in Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra:

"A vivid warning signal on the state of his health flashed on Sunday morning, March 11. As he stood in church, Nicholas suffered 'an excruciating pain in the chest' which lasted for fifteen minutes. 'I could hardly stand the service out,' he wrote, 'and my forehead was covered with drops of perspiration. I cannot understand what it could have been because I had no palpitation of the heart.... If this occurs again, I shall tell Fedorov [the doctor].' The symptoms are those of a coronary occlusion" (Massie, p. 390).

I don't know on what basis Massie concludes that Nicholas II had had a coronary occlusion (I assume he consulted with a doctor or two). But certainly, from the description Nicholas gives, it doesn't sound like any panic or anxiety attack I've ever heard of (I thought these were characterized by a pounding or racing heartbeat, whereas Nicholas states quite specifically that he felt no "palpitation of the heart").

Whatever this was, a coronary occlusion or something else, it occurred four days before Nicholas's abdication, and, it would seem, only hours before he learned that the rioting in Petrograd had reached alarming proportions (according to Massie, he was informed of the seriousness of the situation only on the evening of March 11).

It's also obvious from at least one of his ministers' remembrances that Nicholas had been approaching a state of nervous collapse for some time before the March Revolution. Kokovstov recorded his impressions of the tsar during an interview on February 1: "During the year that I had not seen him, he had become almost unrecognizable. His face had become very thin and hollow and covered with small wrinkles. His eyes...had become quite faded and wandered aimlessly from object to object.... The face of the Tsar bore an expression of helplessness.... the Tsar listened to me with the same sickly smile, glancing nervously about him....[asked] a question which to me seemed perfectly simple...the Tsar became reduced to a perfectly incomprehensible state of helplessness. The strange, almost vacant smile remained fixed on his face; he looked at me as if to seek support and to ask me to remind him of a matter that had absolutely slipped his memory.... For a long time, he looked at me in silence as if trying to collect his thoughts or to recall what had escaped his memory" (Kokovstov, quoted in Massie, pp. 365-366).

Massie notes of this interview that Kokovstov left it "in tears. Outside, he found Dr. Botkin and Count Paul Benckendorff... 'Do you not see the state of the tsar?' he asked. 'He is on the verge of some mental disturbance if not already in its power.' Botkin and Benckendorff both said that Nicholas was not ill, merely tired. Nevertheless, Kokovstov returned to Petrograd with the strong impression 'that the Tsar was seriously ill and that his illness was of a nervous character'" (Massie, p. 366).

To me it seems quite clear that once the initial horror of deciding to abdicate was over, and all the burdens of office and a disastrous war had been lifted off his shoulders once and for all, Nicholas experienced his abdication as a relief. If we are to believe the memoirs of Gibbes, this sense of relief appears to have lasted until news of the Bolshevik takeover reached the former emperor in exile in Tobolsk less than a year later.

Thank you Elisabeth.

We discussed in "Who Betrayed Nicholas II"

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Offline AGRBear

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Re: Nicholas having a heart attack?
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2011, 04:49:58 PM »

Are you sure that just because you've not read it in anyone's diaries or books that Nicholas II didn't have a heart attack?

And,  it seems just lately I recall reading that a swarm of doctors were around Nicholas II just about that time period.    I've gotta run.  Be gone for a few days.  Maybe,  by the time I get back,  I'll have remembered where I read  it.

AGRBear

Bear, you're probably thinking of Nicholas's diary entry for March 11, 1917, quoted in Massie's Nicholas and Alexandra:

"A vivid warning signal on the state of his health flashed on Sunday morning, March 11. As he stood in church, Nicholas suffered 'an excruciating pain in the chest' which lasted for fifteen minutes. 'I could hardly stand the service out,' he wrote, 'and my forehead was covered with drops of perspiration. I cannot understand what it could have been because I had no palpitation of the heart.... If this occurs again, I shall tell Fedorov [the doctor].' The symptoms are those of a coronary occlusion" (Massie, p. 390).

I don't know on what basis Massie concludes that Nicholas II had had a coronary occlusion (I assume he consulted with a doctor or two). But certainly, from the description Nicholas gives, it doesn't sound like any panic or anxiety attack I've ever heard of (I thought these were characterized by a pounding or racing heartbeat, whereas Nicholas states quite specifically that he felt no "palpitation of the heart").


In referencing an anxiety attack, I was going by Bear's description which mentioned heart pain but nothing about the racing (or not) of the heart. Also, suffering from severe anxiety--but not an anxiety attack--can lead to heart pain and the other symptoms listed.

Anyway, it seems rather off-topic as to the subject of Betrayal. Isn't there another thread already dealing with the circumstances of the Abdication?
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Offline Sunny

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Re: Nicholas having a heart attack?
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2011, 12:57:23 AM »
We know for sure, as some historicians pointed out, that Nicholas was educated not to show his real feelings. They taught him to always look calm and without feelings. We know he had a very strong self control. Alexandra even moaned for this, saying her husband was not able to show his feeling "out of the bedroom", so not even really in letters (i'm quite sure i read this in The Fall of the R, but I will check the exact page this evening after work). In fact, if you compare Alexandra's and Nicholas' letters you celarly see how open and even too sweet she is and how controlloed is him, on the contrary.
This was to say that generally people who have too much control over their own emotions could end up having heart problems/cancer. Or, at least, this i s psychological theory (or better, pshycosomatic). But it's generally given for sure that heart attacks&heart problems came mainly from a moment of great stress (for Nicholas: the war) or of great control over feelings. Maybe more than 20 years of reign, and so stress & worries & a lifetime of feeling control took their toll on him that day.
As Andrea pointed out, it's interesting he did not have other attacks later; IMHO (but it's just my personal opinion) this is due to the fact he no longer had a country to worry for - he was not a good ruler, but one can deny he worked very hard & worried so much about it - and could live a freer life, even in captivity, than before, with a great deal of physical exercise & time for his family. In captivity, IMHO, Nicholas was less captive than ever.
In fact, all the Bolsheviks that knew him in the last periods wrote he seemed healthy in Zarkoje Selo/Tobolsk (Kobylinsky, Yakovlev, Pankratov) and happy to stay outside.
Only In Ipatev House he became sick again, because he was not allowed to use his physical strenght & had worries again (the children left in Tobolsk - Aleksej's crisis - suite people not allowed in, and so on, you perfectly know it.)

Ok, this was just my very personal analysis, feel free not to agree!
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Offline AGRBear

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Re: Nicholas having a heart attack?
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2011, 06:42:53 PM »
 
I am leaning toward the theory that Nicholas II believed he was having heart problems just before his abdication.

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