Friday, May 14, 2021

Matters of the heart matter

| February 17, 2021 1:00 AM

Following coronary “events” in 2006 and 2008, which earned me four coronary stents, I began to include annual Heart Health Month reminders in this column each February.

My 2008 coronary event unfolded very publicly during the Post Falls Chamber’s annual banquet which I was emceeing. I’m convinced the decision to go straight to Kootenai Health ER at event's end that night saved my life.

Each year I wonder if repeating the cautionary reminders is of value. Then an August 2019 email from a reader, who had also been in attendance at the Chamber banquet in 2008, brought me to tears. He said he began having some symptoms that seemed stroke-like and the words “listen to your body” … my cautionary mantra for years … came to him. A call to his wife, who called an ambulance, a trip to the ER and an almost catastrophic medical event followed.

He told me he was recovering and thanked me for reminding people to listen to their body without hesitation.

So here’s a reminder: according to the American Heart Association nearly twice as many people die every year from cardiovascular disease than from all forms of cancer combined.

When I’ve spoken to groups on women’s heart health I rarely list the specific symptoms I experienced. Especially for women, often symptoms don’t resemble movie heart attacks and can be subtle. I had absolutely no chest pain but did have arm and hand pain and was sweating profusely. As I was emceeing I felt muddleheaded and struggled to find the right words which was a real warning sign for me.

But here’s what I know, you’ll know when something just doesn’t feel right. Trust yourself to know and don’t hesitate to seek help. Listen to your body and take action.

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Happy birthday today to Mike Kennedy, Dorene Russell, Dewey Berndt, Helen Pischner, Lisa Ortize, Steve Mills, Don DuBois, Chuck Ethridge and Leslie Anne Spencer. Tomorrow Jill Monroe, Howard Gould, Steve Shepperd, Susie Bingham, Pershia Moser, Abbie Nowland and Diana Raugust take a spin on the birthday-go-round.

Amy Boni, Teri Nipp, Kandi Johnson, Brock Bauman, Rebekah Newbry, Samantha Kraack, Helga Wernicke, Julia Jaworski and Rob Colvin start the weekend with birthday celebrations on Friday. Saturday celebrations are for Ron Ouren, Maycie Goodlander, Barb Eveland, Phil Romans and Jared White. Taking another trip around the sun on Sunday are Megan Reagan, Diane Zell, Jerry Moss, Paige Watkins and Donna Pfeiffer.

On Feb. 22 Mark Sales, Tami Crawford, Joseph Louck, Billie Jo Campbell, Jim Clark and Jack Lash add a candle to the cake. Corinna Hunter, Sydney Knox, Janet Curry, Shawn Telford, Diane Mort, Louise Robeson, Bill Kaufman (70!), Holly McNee, Denise Wilbanks and Marion Brendis will toot the birthday horn on Tuesday!

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Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.