Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Listen To Your Body - Heart Disease Kills

As part of the Go Red For Women campaign promoting Heart Disease, I am going to relate my story of dealing with heart disease. First, a little background on my history. I have two physicians in my family so I have been blessed. Secondly, my father has had two heart bypass operations and my big brother had a heart attack at age 37 which led to a double bypass and stents 13 years later.

I wasn't feeling too good one day so I had stayed home from work. Later that day, I had severe chest pain and was unable to catch my breath. I had called my younger brother complaining of the symptoms. He had told me I needed to immediately call my parents and have them take me to the emergency room. I hadn't thought too much about it and thought he had been over reacting but later talked to him again where he had given me the name of an internist to see. Prior to that, I had problems walking up stairs with groceries where I would run out of breath which I thought i had just been carrying too much.

I called the internist on that wednesday and was able to see her on Friday. I was given an ekg and even though that was fine was told I needed to get a stress test and would have that on monday. I took the stress test which I couldn't complete.

On that wednesday morning, I got to work and was totally flushed. My chest pain had become so severe that I just couldn't breathe. I called and left a message for the internist and within 10 minutes had received a call back. They told me that I needed to go to the nearest heart hospital by ambulance as I had failed my stress test.

I started crying and told my supervisors at work that I needed to go to the hospital. I decided I would drive myself and called my younger brother on the way to the hospital telling him what was going on. I was so very scared.

Once I reached the hospital, they hooked me up to all kinds of monitors and told me that I would need to have an angiogram done. I kept telling them that I was supposed to take a trip to San Diego the next day and asking them whether I could get it done when I came back. They said NO.

My parents had arrived and were trying to keep me calm. By this time, they had me pretty doped up. They performed the angiogram about three hours after me arriving at the hospital. They showed my dad the FIVE blockages and said they would perform the surgery on friday. I was still begging them to let me go to San Diego the next day and get it done when I got back. Of course, they told me there was no way I was going anywhere.

I had the surgery on that friday. I was lucky. If I had ignored the signs and not gotten it examined, I probably would have died on my trip to San Diego.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Thoughts on Iran for Mehdi Saharkhiz

I have to admit that I am a news junkie. I watch the news all the time but wasn’t very familiar with the situation going on in Iran. When the #iranelection started trending on twitter, I became intrigued. I started reading the posts. I was struck by the people going to the streets in order to get their votes counted. I felt like it was such an injustice. Election votes not being counted properly. I saw a basic lack of freedom of speech and not being able to peacefully protest something they felt was taken from them.

I then started following @oxfordgirl and @StopAhmadi. I became deeply caught up in their messages of hope and non violence. Just standing up for what they felt was right. I think the thing that moved me the most was the youtube video of Neda. Seeing a beautiful young lady shot while just an innocent bystander. Watching her die with her eyes open moved me beyond belief. I then became consumed with the injustice of what was going on the streets of Iran.

As the continued protests grew I became even more involved. How could a government allow these atrocities to happen. Learning the cruelty of how Neda’s family was not allowed to have a simple funeral. How they had to pay to obtain her remains. Then hearing about the torture going on at the Evin prison made me cry.

Shortly after that, I saw a post from @onlymehdi – Mehdi Saharkhiz son of Iranian reformist journalist Isa Saharkhiz. When I saw his posts on twitter, I did some research in order to learn more about his father. I was touched by Mehdi’s courage. His unwavering devotion to his father and for seeking justice in Iran.

I have seen the support on twitter grow and grow. I have now seen it as not just being a cause for Iranians and for exiled Iranians. It has made the world come together as one seeking freedom and justice. These things that are taken for granted in the USA. We stand together as the world in one voice to air dissent against the current Iranian regime. We are united. I will proudly wear my green bracelets showing my solidarity for the Green Wave. I will not take them off until Iranians have achieved their goal in obtaining their freedom and choice. To be able to peacefully protest without fear of being killed by the Basij. To be able to be on their rooftops chanting that God is Great without the terror of being hunted down and imprisoned. For Iranians to have free access to internet and texting without fear of any retribution based on their words.
I feel that I am now too an Iranian and will support them for the rest of my life.

Jill Harper