Conflicted: Should I hug or SCREAM?


Should I hug or SCREAM

perhaps cry


Human condition

Thoughts can betray, lead astray

No one is immune

I just spent an afternoon in an intensive care hospital unit with a colleague.  She had open heart quadruple by-pass surgery. They split her chest open, separated her ribs, stopped her heart, took veins from her legs and grafted them onto her heart.


Acylic painting by Lisa,
survivor of a potentially fatal Heart Attack in her 30’s

She had a Widow Maker heart attack – so named because it is usually FATAL.

Listen to what she told me.  It could save your life:  At first she figured it was indigestion, took ant-acid; thought the back pain was because she strained her back;  Symptoms progressed into nausea, fatigue, sweating, (figured something was wrong but she’d feel better in the morning).

When the excruciating pain (as she described it – worse than any childbirth) she didn’t want to go to the ER that night because she was sweaty and needed to take a bath (which she took in the morning before her hair cutting appointment);  Pretended excruciating pain wasn’t anything serious BECAUSE she was “healthy”; During her hair cut she felt faint.  Her hairdresser said it sounded like a heart attack and wanted to call 911; She refused to have her hairdresser call 911, TOLD HER TO FINISH CUTTING HER HAIR, PAID the bill AND THEN DROVE HERSELF to ER (where they immediately wheeled her into surgery)!!!!!!!

My colleague’s story is NOT uncommon.  Why don’t we hear more about Widow Maker Heart Attacks?  Most of the women who have them are DEAD.

I’m screaming at YOU: Stay current. Read Carolyn Thomas  ♥  My Heart Sisters blog  It may not be your life you save but a relative’s, friend’s, colleague’s, client’s . . .  or  . . . it could be YOUR own.

Symptom in women are different from men.  Our Female stubbornness and, dare I say, STOOOOOOOPIDITY has no bounds.  (I know.  I drove myself to the ER when I was having serious heart arrhythmia)

 It’s better to call 911 and be told you’re fine than to die or be disabled for life. 

13 comments on “Conflicted: Should I hug or SCREAM?

  1. Thank you for a list of these symptoms. Terrible terrible experience it must have been for your friend. I was feeling well before I READ THIS AND NOW I THINK i WILL GO TO BED:)


  2. I went over to Carolyn’s blog and read a lot of her stuff. My Mom had heart issues, but we were always told all her problems were a result of a congenital heart defect. But I still am frantic that I will suffer a heart attack someday. I have done the same things your friend did….ignoring symptoms during the night, because I didn’t want to wake anyone up. I actually sat on my bedroom floor and looked up heart attack signs and decided I was having hiatel hernia pain. The next day I drove myself to the ER , by myself of course. Long story short, I was fine…..that time! Tests, tests, test and four days on the cardiac floor taught me to not ignore my body. (Ya think I should know that with all my medical problems) Thanks for reminding all of us Gals to take care of ourselves! Good luck to your friend. I wish her quick healing and a long long life. (But she had a good hair day didn’t she?)


    • Mo,
      My friends hair looked great for the drive to the hospital. When the wheeled her into surgery her hair was covered and when I saw her it was NOT well-coiffed.
      Do you think that stoooooooooopidity is in our female DNA? I would like to think so as some of the things I’ve done and choices I’ve made over the years would set your hair on fire . . .


  3. I was going to say “hmmm, sounds like someone I know and love…” but we all know better. Her story is just like Carolyn’s VIDEO which everyone should watch. I wish your friend well, I hope she realizes how stupid she is and then you should slap her silly (just kidding). Any info (Carolyln?) on the Widow Heart Attack? Did she recently lose someone? Love, Laurie aka Peachy Keen Jr.


    • Are you referring to Elizabeth Banks’ video “Just a Little Heart Attack”? I love this video, which has now attracted over 3 million views! Whenever I show it to my women’s heart health presentation audiences, women howl with knowing laughter in recognition of our all-too-familiar reluctance to make a fuss, while putting everybody else’s needs ahead of our own. Here’s the link:

      I too had what docs call the “widowmaker”, a misnomer based on medicine’s longheld misinformation that this type of heart attack is a man’s problem. Notice the gender imbalance here: they don’t call it the “widower” maker, right?


  4. Very good post! Most of us hate to give in and show weakness and could end up paying for it with our lives. Hope she is doing better and glad she’s here to be an example for us!!


  5. Hi Judy Judith – I’m so sorry to hear of your friend’s cardiac emergency! Her story would actually seem hilarious if it weren’t so alarmingly common – and deadly – among women. She is very lucky to be here – and to have you around to hug and scream at her every so often!

    She might be a good candidate for the Yale Heart Study. Dr. Angelo Alonzo at Yale is looking for heart attack survivors age 35+ to complete a brief survey about “treatment-seeking delay behaviour” during a heart attack just like your friend did (and like I did, too!) More info on this research at

    I’m wishing your friend an uneventful healing journey…
    PS Thanks once again for including a link to my Heart Sisters site! ♡


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