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October 4, 2011

4

Knight Owl and heart strings

by Andrea O'Connell

I am very late getting to my daily post tonight.   I don’t know where the time went tonight!   Well…, I did relax on the couch for a while… And, I stopped to have dinner, clean up, walk the dog, talk on the phone, read a few chapters of The Book Thief (currently reading), and I took some time to read the blog and comment….   that’s where the time went!

This is a quick but very important lesson, from Knight Owl and her Niece,  about taking care of our hearts.

Those of you familiar with this blog, and so many others like the wonderful Humble Opinion, Niecy456, Kim’s Blog, Marinade Dave’s, Mainstream Fair, and others (they’re all on my Blogroll below), know that Knight Owl, one of the dearest persons who visited and posted here, and elsewhere, passed away in August from, as we know now, a massive heart attack.

A terrible loss of one so young (she was 61), and vibrant, and dear.  Her passing has saddened so many of us.

Tonight, Knight Owl’s lovely niece visited and explained what happened.

Knight Owl died on August 14th.  On the day of her heart attack, she had done what we all hate to do, clean the bathrooms.  Afterwards, she felt sick – nauseated, and complained that her arm was sore.   Thinking it was the smell of the cleaning supplies making her feel sick, and because she’d been scrubbing with that hand and arm, she thought, not a big deal, she’d been using that arm to scrub.  Perhaps she wondered if she was coming down with a bug, or the flu?  It’s easy to ignore these warning signs – we tell ourselves stories about what it could be, as if we’re M.D.’s!  Right?

Knight Owl’s husband walked her upstairs to lay down and lovingly gave her a wet hand towel to cool her forehead.

She was resting, and all was well.  Only it wasn’t.

Knight Owl missed the warning signs of an impending heart attack.  There are usually some warning signs that tell us things are really not right with our bodies.

I imagine you and I may have done EXACTLY what Knight Owl did after spending time doing such vigorous, smelly, and laborious work.   But, let’s let this be a wake up call – let this be a wake up call for all of us.

Learn the warning signs of trouble; listen to your heart and your inner guide when it says, “Something’s sure not right about how I feel.”

There are resources that we can use to educate ourselves about heart disease.  There is one in particular that I like.  It’s called Heart Sisters and the website is: http://myheartsisters.org/

The articles are wonderful, the tips will be helpful, too.    The author and owner of the site is Carolyn Thomas, who is a survivor and a lovely person.

I know that Knight Owl will be so pleased if her story educated us about heart disease, and the warning signs of a heart attack.

Sweet dreams, sweet Knight Owl.

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Oct 5 2011

    On the forum I belong to, one of the owners was shopping in a Big Box store when she suddenly broke into a sweat-she was drenched by the time she reached the cashier who saw her looking ill and asked if she was OK. When she finally got home she got terribly sick and vomitted just outside her car. She called her husband to come out and help her into the house and to bed. She slept until late the next day. She had no pain, just nausea and sweats. Her doctor told her she’d had a heart attack.

    If a woman gets sick all of a sudden and she’s not prone to sudden sickness she should call her doctor immediately. Don’t take the chance that it could be nothing. Women have different symptoms signalling an attack-its not so cut and dried like the symptoms in men. More likely than not, there are no pains in the chest or extremities-just nausea and sweats.

    Thanks for the website, Andrea. I’m bookmarking it since heart disease runs rampant in my family on both mother’s and father’s side. I also have HBP and a bad cholesterol count that’s high (something more from inheritance than unhealthy lifestyle).

    Just another note: my late fiance was told his pains were from back problems. When he had his massive attack the doctor told me he had had many little attacks previously which had damaged his heart. He was in need of a heart transplant pronto because his cocaine use had pocked his heart and ignoring the heart attacks he’d had made it impossible to fix his heart. Ignoring attacks causes a die out of muscle tissue making it harder to recover from an attack-it raises the risk of death. So, again, please dont ignore symptoms! ~Hugs~

    Reply
  2. colleen
    Oct 5 2011

    Thank you for sharing that, very moving.

    Reply
  3. Carolyn Thomas
    Oct 5 2011

    Hello Andrea
    I’m so sorry about the loss of your friend. Sadly, her story is tragically common.

    Thanks also for your kind comments about my blog, ‘Heart Sisters’. A couple years ago, I wrote about the puzzling tendency of women, even in mid-heart attack, to deny or ignore their warning symptoms, often with tragic results. Women, for example, are twice as likely to die following a heart attack as their male counterparts are. “Not wanting to make a fuss” is, alas, a common and potentially deadly concern for many women – even during horrific symptoms.

    Oregon researchers have actually identified six kinds of ‘treatment-seeking delay’ behaviours among women – more on this at “Knowing & Going: Act Fast When Heart Attack Symptoms Hit” at http://myheartsisters.org/2009/05/22/know-and-go-during-heart-attack/

    What I now urge women who might be experiencing unusual or distressing heart symptoms is this: YOU KNOW YOUR BODY! You KNOW when something is just not feeling right. CALL 911! Seek help immediately. Ask yourself what you’d do if these unusual symptoms were affecting your daughter or sister or mother or best friend instead of you. Would you advise other people to just ignore their symptoms, or would you urge them to get help?

    Sherry is absolutely right: for about 40% of women, there are no chest pain symptoms at all during a heart attack. For a crash course on the most common cardiac warning signs in women, also check out “The Myth of the Hollywood Heart Attack for Women” – http://myheartsisters.org/2011/02/02/hollywood-heart-attack/

    Thanks again,
    cheers,
    C.

    Reply
  4. Oct 6 2011

    Thank you girls. This is so enlightening and I will pass it along to all my friends. You are all so caring. It helps women who as you report, always make miniscule reactions to very serious situations.

    Reply

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