Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Lowest Common Denominator

Many moons ago, when I homeschooled the girls, a very close friend of mine, who shall remain unnamed, used me as an example to encourage other young moms considering homeschooling. She’d tell them, “If Teri Gasser can do it anyone can!” And she was right. I was and still am the lowest common denominator.
This reality applies not only to my accomplishments but also to my weaknesses. My weakness this past week that should motivate you: a heart attack. Yes, Monday, at age fifty four, I suffered a heart attack. ME, Teri Gasser, the one with low blood pressure, who lost fifteen pounds a year ago! ME, I’m the one who eats small portions of good food often and has never been overweight. My cholesterol counts are stellar. I swim and or walk at least five times a week. Yes, I had a heart attack and if Teri Gasser had a heart attack anyone can.

We’ve all heard warning; the number one killer of women over forty five is heart attacks. I somehow thought my robust health equaled immunity, NOT! I’m glad for once I didn’t just tough out my day of not feeling so well. In retrospect I should have taken the two events from the previous week as signs to get checked out. Live and learn. Thankfully, I lived to learn. Now I feel obliged to share that knowledge with you.

My symptoms began over a week before. I’d get mild ear pain in my Eustachian tubes. I thought I was fighting a bout of swimmers ear. Then a week ago Wednesday,  Bill and I went for a walk. My ears ached. I felt a burning sensation and heaviness all the way to my chest. I sat on a park bench to rest. I assumed my asthma had flared. It subsided and we headed home. Friday, Nancy took me on a tour of Well Spring. We hiked about an hour and a half. Early in the walk and about half way through the same thing happened. Again I blamed my asthma.

I felt fine after that until Monday. If I did anything but sit the burning in my ears and chest would hit with a vengeance. Yup, time to see the doctor. If I had known it was a MI (Myocardial Infarction) I would have gone straight to urgent care but no, Tough It Out Teri, wait patiently for her next day appointment. God acted mercifully towards those who’d miss me and kept me alive, in spite of my folly.
Know the facts. If you are a woman over fifty a heart attack is looking for you. Whereas men tend to have typical symptoms, women do not. Our more complex anatomy lend themselves to more a typical symptoms.

Here they are:
1.     Heartburn, abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting
2.     Weak, dizzy, or faint feeling
3.     Shortness of breath
4.     Cold and sweaty (feverish without a fever)
5.     Racing heartbeat
And the really freaky one,
6.     You may have no symptoms at all!

So, girlfriends over forty five, listen to your body. If anything is off get checked out, NOW! Don’t be a Tough It Out Teri. The upside, treatment these days works wonders. In one, non invasive, angiogram they could not only find the artery that was blocked but they fixed it by place a stint. Star to finish about seventy minutes. All I have to show for my near death experience and three days in the hospital is a incision less than a quarter inch, no stitches or pain medicine. What a miraculous age of medicine we live in!

Next week I’ll share three wonderful answers to why. God doesn’t always let us in on why He does what He does but when He does, WOW, what a blessing!

Dear Merciful Father, I’m glad I was ready, ready to go and ready to stay. Seems You’re not finished with me yet. Maybe because a sister reading this needs to be ready for a heart attack or better yet to prevent one. Thank You, God. You are good all the time! Amen

1 comment:

  1. Jay's favorite thing to say about his heart attack is that it shows you how you can look really good on the outside and something can be horribly wrong inside. We are so glad God had you in His hand and that He isn't done using you down here yet!

    But really, you don't seem to have any of the risk factors. Family history? I've got that in spades. I guess I'd better watch out too.