to the club you thought you'd never have to join
Imperfect heart got you sad? Mysogynist doc making you mad?
Then welcome to the Unicorn Heart Club!
Until 2017, I thought that people who had heart attacks were cigar-chewing white dudes, men with high blood pressure, gnarly cholesterol and a backpack of bad habits. John Candy, Tony Soprano, Mr. Larry "8 Wives" King. Those guys have heart attacks.
I knew to the bottom of my Lululemons that I would never, ever have a heart problem. I exercised at least ten hours per week, taught yoga, meditated, and frequently pretended to enjoy kale smoothies. My blood pressure has always been pitch perfect, cholesterol remarkably great, resting heart rate around 55bpm.
However, at the tender young age of 53, I had a series of heart events, including a walking heart attack. Who knew you could multitask -- make breakfast for your kids and have a cardiac arrest? Who knew that the E.R. doctor would dismiss my elevated cardiac enzymes and abnormal EKG and send me home with salad recipes? Who knew that my blocked LAD could be written off as "benign" by a highly-recommended cardiologist?
Color me gobsmacked to learn that doctors often triage heart patients based on patient gender. Do you have a penis and chest pain? Let's race you through the ER like cheetah.
Chest pain but no penis? It's just hormones and anxiety. Ma'am, we'll have Nurse Sloth and Dr. Koala get right on that. Would you like some Tums?
As a result of this gender discrimination, women are twice as likely as men to die of heart disease than men are.
Blatant gender discrimination in cardiac events is so common, it even has a name: The Yentl Syndrome.
I don't know how, but, dang!, Yentl Syndrome has got to be abolished. Right? Of course right!
The past coupla years have been bumpy as fuck and then, in the life-gives-you-lemons moment of inspiration, I thought that the perfect (and shocking) sequel to my yoga college memoir would be my heart memoir, The Yoga Teacher's Heart Attack. Click here for more.